Friday, May 2, 2008

Wisconsinites Want Mandatory Water Conservation - - Legislators Apparently Know Better

The recently-released Badger Poll on the environment is full of interesting data, especially the finding that statewide water conservation requirements have strong support.

77% of respondents favor it - - but as Assembly GOP leaders have said publicly, willing to leak what they consider a clear victory in the so-called deal on the pending Great Lakes Compact implementation bill - - requirements for statewide water conservation are being removed from the implementation bill that the State Senate had approved, but which is stalled in the Assembly.

From the Racine Times, April 10th, which I have quoted on this blog more than once:

"According to Mike Bruhn, spokesman for Gunderson, the compromise contains some important alterations. The state would not gain new authority over groundwater, which he said would have been a huge change in property rights. The altered version also removed the requirement for a mandatory statewide water conservation program (my highlighting) and gave a legislature committee oversight of the governor’s vote on the council."

So Gunderson, et al, are out of touch with public sentiment on conservation, it turns out.

Nothing much new there, but if the public is denied a hearing on the bill, few will know the details before a quick vote makes it too late to undo what Gunderson and his allies cooked up.


Dave1 said...

Who could possibly be against "water conservation" ... it's like mom and apple pie. What's missing is what was the actual question asked (at least I didn't see it).

I'd bet the response might be a little different if it were phrased along the lines of, "would you be in favor of mandatory conservation if it meant that fewer jobs might be attracted to the State?".

You've got to be careful about reading too much into responses to very general poll questions.

James Rowen said...

The poll questions are in the linked material. Respondents were asked if they supported requiring water conservation. That gets to the large question of the role of government. Your suggested question builds in a bias - - violating Survey Research 101.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the "fewer jobs" question is accurate, but certainly this might be:

Do you support statewide mandatory water conservation programs paid for by a (5%/10%/20%) increase in your residential water bill?

I think most people at first blush would support a requirement for statewide water conservation, but perhaps fewer would once they realized they'd be asked to pay for it through a higher water bill.