The Journal Sentinel says in a Sunday editorial that questions about the relationship between Waukesha's access to and use of diverted Lake Michigan water and potential growth are not appropriate.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Let's look at this differently.
I would argue that these are perfectly reasonable and relevant questions, for three reasons, at least:
1. The Great Lakes Compact, under which the Waukesha diversion application us being made, is principally a water management and conservation document about a shared resource held in trust for the people of two provinces and eight states - - and is not principally a diversion exception document.
2. If the diversion is to help Waukesha grow - - and its application cites new areas to its west and south for annexation to which water will be provided - - who or what will guarantee that the growth actually helps the region, since the water is a multi-state/regional resource?
At the public meeting in late January where the city rolled out its application, at least two Waukesha city alderman bluntly said they would not support any agreements with Milwaukee as the potential supplier that went beyond a bare-bones water rate deal.
In the biggest of all probable water deals in the region, is Milwaukee - - where most of the region's socio-economic burdens and costs have been concentrated - - to settle for trickle-down benefits, along with the region's good wishes?
3. It would be best for Waukesha and Wisconsin to ask and answer questions numbers one and two; would it be better for the seven other states to run the discussion and provide the answers?
And let's be clear: This is not a matter of growth, or no-growth. That's a false dichotomy.
It's about growth for whom, and under what parameters, and with what assurances that the complete environment is brought into the discussion as early and as fully as possible.