The Wisconsin Builders Association the other day was crowing about the wetlands deregulation bill its current and multiple former insiders had helped write.
Regrettably, the Journal Sentinel editorial board has bought in deeply - - trusting the wolf that has moved into the hen house.
The thrust of the editorial: "DNR officials told us this week that the bill retains fundamental protections."
How, exactly, has this DNR management team earned that trust?
Note that the editorial board a) acknowledges that the state has lost half its wetlands, even though b) "the regulatory framework for development in and near wetlands often can be needlessly cumbersome and difficult..."
So why should the outcome under a system of eased regulations, faster permitting and other freedom for the wolf be anything other than accelerated losses of the wetlands that remain?
A similar dynamic is underway with the mining bills - - the Senate version is being written by the same State Sen. Neal Kedzie, (R-Elkhorn), who told the editorial board that all he was doing with the existing wetlands' regulatory process is a little "freshening up."
At the same time, the regulatory framework for development in and near wetlands often can be needlessly cumbersome and difficult, especially for projects that have a minimal impact on a wetland area. The law could use some "freshening up," as state Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), one of the bill's authors, put it.Freshening can mean reviving by adding water.
Can you talk about "freshening" a process that, through quicker building in and near wetlands, actually eliminates some wetland acreage or degrades the quality of the water that remains?