Monday, April 28, 2008

Muskego Activist Speaks Out On Great Lakes Legislation

A Muskego resident active in grassroots land use and power issues has begun writing legislators about the Great Lakes Compact, and I have agreed enthusiastically to post the letter on my blog. Here is the text:


I am writing to you today to express my concern with the potential language in the Great Lakes Pact and the State of Wisconsin Legislation related to it. I am also asking for specific information with regard to the Waukesha County or areas straddling the great lakes basin line.

As I understood the language to this point, there were different provisions for areas in the basin, communities straddling the basin and communities within straddling counties, but completely outside the basin. I have a reasonable understanding of that.

I also understood that there was specific language that required a conservation component that shall be implemented before an area is granted access to Lake Michigan Water, assuming they request it.

I am very concerned that the conservation component might be eliminated or compromised to the point were it is no longer effective. I find it disturbing that many of the people who participated in this matter to this point have been restricted due to the heightened level of political participation at this point.

I recently attended the Town of Vernon (Waukesha County) annual meeting at which State Senator Mary Lazich spoke about the pact and upcoming legislation.

I also read articles in which State Rep. Scott Gunderson spoke about the issues. Both are claiming victory for the Republican party and praising the outcome.

Oddly, the issue has not yet been voted on or signed into law to my knowledge.

My questions related to this are as follows.

1. What do they know that they would go on record and be quoted so specifically on this matter?

2. Has the conservation component been eliminated or compromised? Historically, conservation issues are typically not a platform from which Republicans speak.

My community, the Town of Vernon, has for some time been discussing the formation and completion of a study to measure the seasonal variation in ground water levels in the Town and quite possibly the water quality in relation to those levels (if I have my may).

This study has become increasingly necessary due the previous threats of privately owned power plants at the Town's eastern border with New Berlin and Muskego and a recent quarry expansion along with other threatening developments.

Also, in this regional community the City of Waukesha has taken or considered to take steps to condemn an area in the Town of Waukesha so that they can annex it for the purpose of placing high capacity wells that they feel are necessary for the blending of water in their municipal supply.

Blending their water with good water from somewhere is necessary to dilute the radium levels that are in excess of EPA upper limits. The Town of Waukesha is located immediately North of the Town of Vernon and the ground water flows southerly (for the most part) in that area.

The City of New Berlin has been growing unsustainably for many years along with many other communities in this region. Many areas with conservatory designations have been compromised or eliminated with the overall end results not entirely seen.

If areas that have habitually experienced unsustainable growth are allowed easy access to Lake Michigan water then the current problems will not only continue, but they will multiply with very serious environmental consequences with some that are unpredictable.

My third and final question is this. In your opinion, do you believe that it is in my best interest to continue the formation and completion of a ground water study for the Town of Vernon or will my time be wasted?

Will it be easy for communities to obtain access to Lake Michigan water?

Personally, I believe that if the Town were to seek access to Lake Michigan water at any point in the future then the treated waste water would be required to be returned to the basin and if the Town were to create it's own municipal supply then a sewer system would still be necessary, but with the waste water routed differently.

So, my summation would be that the Town should proceed to monitor ground level activity to assist with future decisions so that the availability of water is better understood and the expense of dealing with any depletion in the supply is better decided.

Your assistance with this matter is greatly appreciated. Please take the time to advise me accordingly, knowing that your opinion and time are greatly respected. Thank you for your time and understanding.

Kurt Barikmo
S77 W22180 Eleanor St.
Muskego (Vernon), WI 53150

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