Tuesday, August 7, 2007

SEWRPC Backs Away From Power Grab

This blog reported Monday that the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission had sent state officials a proposal to essentially assume all water policy planning power in the region - - and have the Wisconsin Department of natural Resources pay SEWRPC $1.5-$2 million annually to manage the planning and cut other agencies and groups out of the process.

Sunlight and objections from some other parties hurt, apparently:

On Tuesday, SEWRPC sent around a notice that withdrew what is called the "governance" piece of this policy-making approach - - the piece that would have put SEWRPC in charge, even though others want policy-making in the region to be a shared responsibility by a wide group of public, private, and non-profit groups, as endorsed on May 11th by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

With SEWRPC's track record of enabling sprawl, water over-consumption, freeway expansion and farmland conversion, it's the wrong agency to be allowed to assume water management policy in the watersheds in and near Milwaukee, and across southeastern Wisconsin.

By withdrawing the part of the proposal that deals with whom will be in charge, the region buys time to make better decisions, and to be more inclusive in this fundamental planning environment.

Here is the text of the SEWRPC notice sent to the other parties, and internally at SEWRPC:


TO: SEWRPC Technical Advisory Committee for the Regional Water Quality Management Plan Update for the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds

DATE: August 3, 2007

SUBJECT: CONSIDERATION OF PRELIMINARY DRAFT CHAPTER XI, “PLAN IMPLEMENTATION ,” of SEWRPC Planning Report No. 50 (PR No. 50),A Regional Water Quality Management Plan Update for the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds

We have been asked by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), one of our partner agencies in this planning effort, to withdraw the subsection of Chapter XI entitled Institutional Frameworks for Implementation of the SEWRPC Regional Water Quality Management Plan Update for the Greater Milwaukee Watersheds and Appendix XI-2 “Consideration of Alternatives to the Recommended Plan Implementation Structure,” from consideration by the Advisory Committee at its meeting on August 7, 2007.

The MMSD has suggested, and the SEWRPC staff agrees, that a thorough discussion of the issues raised in that subsection and appendix should be undertaken by the Oversight Committee which was established to review and coordinate issues related to the SEWRPC regional water quality management plan update (208 plan) and the MMSD 2020 facilities plan (201 plan). That Committee includes representatives from the MMSD staff, the WDNR, the 201/208 plan consultant team, and the SEWRPC staff.

Therefore the subject chapter subsection and appendix will not be considered at the August 7, 2007, Advisory Committee meeting. Those documents will be brought back to the Advisory Committee at a later date after the issues are addressed by the Oversight Committee. The other portions of Chapter XI, which can be considered independently of the subject subsection, will be reviewed at the August 7th meeting.

* * *


No comments: