Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rep. Gunderson: Waukesha/New Berlin Diversion Plans "Inadvertently" Confused

Several days ago, State Rep. Scott Gunderson wrote a Muskego constituent about the probable Great Lakes Compact bill, saying, in part, that Waukesha was a worthy candidate for a diversion of water from Lake Michigan because that city would be returning 102% of any diverted water.

That was newsworthy, because Waukesha is facing substantial challenges to creating a sustainable, workable return flow regimen, and has not yet announced just what that plan might look like if it were to apply for a Lake Michigan diversion.

The probable Great Lakes Compact and implementing bill likely to be voted on tomorrow in the state legislature would require return flow that is economically and environmentally feasible, but 102% of diverted water?

That's more than a tall order.

I had speculated that Gunderson was confusing New Berlin's diversion application's return flow plan with Waukesha's yet-to-be-defined return flow regimen - - something confirmed by Waukesha officials yesterday, and now, in an email to me, by Gunderson.

Here is a link both to Gunderson's constituent email exchange, and the Waukesha water utility's clarification.

(Here, as an update, is a shot from Jim Widgerson, the conservative blogger from Waukesha, with his own explanation.)

And below is the text of Gunderson's explanation to me, received Tuesday afternoon:

"I received your two emails this afternoon, when I came into Madison to attend a briefing on the budget repair bill. I, also, read both of your blog posts from the past two days. I believe you may have taken my reply to a constituent a little out of context. I never made a “102%” guarantee. In my talks with various communities like New Berlin and Waukesha, as well as, Waukesha County the 102% figure has been used as the possible return flow baselines. In my haste to personally reply to one of my constituents, I inadvertently used the return flow figure that has been used by the media for New Berlin . As you know, the City of Waukesha has not made an application with the Department of Natural Resources for any diversion, yet. The city is still in the evaluation period and has not gotten to the details on the exact return flow at this time. It is important to note that when Waukesha first talked to me about the Compact, they did not even want to discuss the issue of return flow. It is truly a great statement on how far they have come that we are discussing what the exact amount their return flow will be, instead of having to discuss if there will be return flow."

Scott Gunderson

No comments: