Friday, February 29, 2008

Waukesha County Leaders, Nanny State Cheerleaders, Continue Great Lakes Blockade

They came.

They met.

They continued to say "No" to the Great Lakes Compact, pushing the fiction that with just a few simple tweaks, an agreement that has already been approved by four Great Lakes states' legislatures could be weakened enough to pass muster by a small group of obstructionists in Waukesha County.

"They" are business leaders and elected officials, such as Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, rationalizing their stalling of the Great Lakes Compact at a forum Thursday sponsored by another of the nay-saying groups, the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce.

Story by Darryl Enriquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, here.

The now-very partisan (so filter out the GOP chaff) uproar is primarily over the belief that the State of Michigan, under the Compact and an existing, 22-year-old federal law, might veto a diversion application from the City of Waukesha because it lies outside of the Great Lakes basin.

But the story makes clear that Waukesha City Mayor Larry Nelson supports the Compact because it establishes and clarifies diversion rules and procedures for the first time.

And Michigan did not block the diversion to Pleasant Prairie, so this spectre of big bad Michigan is something of a canard.

It's noteworthy that the Waukesha Freeman story on this conference has a flat-out mistake in its lead sentence, repeating the fiction that Michigan has opposed "any type of diversionary efforts."

If that were true, Pleasant Prairie wouldn't be getting Lake Michigan water today.

And speaking of errors, why does the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce still have on its website the anti-Compact resolution it adopted last year that claims the two Canadian Great Lakes provinces have veto power over US states' diversion applications.

The Canadians' review is advisory only, and I have posted items about this uncorrected bit of xenophobia for eleven months.

C'mon, Chamber leaders: straighten out your story.

With seven years of negotiations and debate having led to half the Great Lakes states legislatures approving the Compact - - Compact versions that include as their foundation the very portions that Waukesha County's naysayers want changed with a mere wave of a magic wand - - there's no way that negotiations will be reopened so those four states would bow to Waukesha and adopt a new agreement, something along the lines of "The Greater Waukesha County Water Enabling Compact."

Attention Waukesha County policy-makers:

It's a regional, two-country Compact, a regional, cooperative plan to protect an international water resource.

The largest newspaper in Ohio ripped their Waukesha/GOP Assembly counterparts there. See Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial, here.

And a number of Wisconsin editorial boards have also called out the Wisconsin GOP on its Compact shenanigans, with the latest reasoned effort by the Wisconsin State Journal, here.

If you think about it, what these Waukesha obstructionists want - - as do their allies in the state Assembly leadership who are blocking the Compact's introduction in Madison - - is the ultimate legislative protectionism of a Nanny State:

A special set of rules that will enable one segment of a larger group - - one County among hundreds across eight states and their equivalents in two Canadian provinces - - to have a special privilege or advantage.

For that, they should be run out of the Republican Party.

No comments: