Monday, April 19, 2010

As Great Lakes Compact Partner, Weak Year For Wisconsin DNR

A year ago I suggested that the Wisconsin DNR could celebrate Earth Day by writing the administrative rules that would govern a Great Lakes water diversion application;s content and review procedures.

Waukesha has now completed its application and sent it to the DNR for review - - but in the last year, the agency did not find the time to write the rules. In Wisconsin, administrative rules have the force of law, and would have set an initial, tougher standard for Waukesha to meet in its application.

Yes, it will review the application, and create a process for the public to comment. But to an extent it is sailing in uncharted waters as it handles the precedent-setting application under the new, eight-state Great Lakes Compact.

I do not think this approach will go unnoticed in the other states, whose unanimous approval for the application is life or death for Waukesha's diversion goal.

Nor will the rather shocking disclosure last week that the DNR has allowed New Berlin to withhold information for a year about its Lake Michigan diversion that the city was required to file as a condition of the diversion permission.

Details here.

Not an encouraging regulatory or leadership performance with so much at stake

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