Is Picking A Fight With New York State The Best Way For Walker To Get Waukesha's Diversion Application Approved?
I can't imagine that they are turning handstands today at the Waukesha Common Council and Water Utility offices after reading that Gov. Walker and two Republican gubernatorial allies have picked a fight with Andrew Cuomo, New York state's Governor.
Cuomo has put into place tough rules to control the movement of invasive species that hide out in Great Lakes freighters' ballast water.
Everyone agrees that something must be done to halt the onslaught of invasive species entering the lakes via contaminated ballast tanks on overseas freighters sailing up the St. Lawrence Seaway. But the states can't agree on just how much regulation the shipping industry should be forced to endure.These invasive species, including the Zebra mussel, have decimated commercial fisheries, clogged water system piping and cost cities and states across the Great Lakes billions of dollars, so hats off to Cuomo, and thumbs-down to Walker and his buddies for doing anything less than thanking Cuomo for trying to help clean out and protect the Great Lakes, and certainly Lake Michigan.
New York took the lead when it developed a state ballast discharge rule far more stringent than any other Great Lakes state, and now a group of governors -- including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- is calling on New York to relax its regulations, which aren't scheduled to take effect until the middle of 2013.
Walker and fellow governors Mitch Daniels of Indiana and John Kasich of Ohio are asking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pull back and pass regulations that are more in line with other Great Lakes states.
Which brings us to Waukesha's first-ever out-of-basin proposal to divert and return several million gallons of water daily from Lake Michigan - - a procedure under the Great Lakes Compact of 2008 that requires a unanimous vote of all eight Great Lakes governors.
Of which Cuomo is one.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has begun to review Waukesha's application, and should that review go smoothly, might send Waukesha's application on to the other states in mid-to-late 2012.
If one Governor says "No," the application is rejected.
There's no escaping the reality that the eight-state review is a political process. The Great Lakes hold a finite, shared and stressed resource, and I would have thought that Walker would be courting the other Governors, not picking fights with any of them, especially a Governor who happens to be a prominent Democrat.