Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DNR Lauded For Proposing Strong Rules Regulating Great Lakes Invasive Species; Why Not The Same Approach For Great Lakes Diversions?

The Department of Natural Resources gets the thumbs up from the Journal Sentinel for the agency's strong, proposed rules to help prevent invasive species from further damaging the Great Lakes.

So why isn't there the same support from the paper and the DNR for writing strong rules governing proposals to divert water from those same Great Lakes to communities outside of the Great Lakes basin?

The issues are certainly parallel, and related: You have a Great Lakes water quality issue and a Great Lakes quantity issue, and both benefit from guarantees of public input, and both are managed by the state agency - - the DNR - - that is charged with stewardship of the state's water resources.

But so far, the DNR is suggesting it can review diversion applications without writing rules first, with the details coming later - - yet when it comes to the invasive species issue, it is suggesting the opposite: strong rules first.

Some consistency would make sense.

And better protect the Great Lakes.

And also proclaim profoundly that Wisconsin takes seriously the Public Trust status of the state's waters mandated in the Wisconsin Constitution and the Great Lakes Compact of 2008 - - and that are further underscored in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the US-Canada Boundary Waters Treaty.

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