One Great Lakes Diversion Review Shows Weakness In Another
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has posted on a website the list of topics it intends to include in its environmental impact statement review of Waukesha's application for a Great Lakes diversion.
The list is here, and I'll copy it into the text at the bottom, too.
What I find interesting is that the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission could spend nearly five years and more than a million dollars in consulting fees and staff time looking at a regional water scheme that includes the Waukesha diversion and omit so many of the EIS topics that the DNR intends to peruse.
SEWRPC's attitude was: we'll recommend the diversion and let other agencies sort out the impacts.
Some planning mentality.
Here is the DNR's list of EIS topics:
Waukesha Water Diversion Project EIS List of Topics
February 1, 2010
• Need for the project
• Project location
• Project description
• Surface water source alternatives (including Lake Michigan)
• Groundwater source alternatives
• Water conservation measures
• Wastewater treatment alternatives
• Wastewater discharge alternatives
• Supply pipeline route alternatives
• Wastewater return pipeline route alternatives
• Effects on:
o Surface water resources (including Lake Michigan)
o Wetland resources
o Groundwater resources
o Geomorphology and soils
o Flora (terrestrial and aquatic)
o Fauna (terrestrial and aquatic)
o Air quality
o Population (including age, ethnicity, and health)
o Economy (including industries, employment, and tax base)
o Landuse, zoning and transportation
o Energy use
o Archaeological and historical resources
o Public water supplies and uses
o Geographically scarce resources
• Long term versus short term effects
• Reversibility of effects
• Cumulative effects
• Risk (including unknowns and problems due to installation and operation)
• Public controversy
SEWRPC's web page on their Regional Water Plan states inter-agency cooperation, DNR being one of them. It appears they either did not try very hard or the DNR did not have anything to contribute to SEWRPC's Regional Water Plan. It looks as if the DNR is working as a reactionary agancy versus being proactive in this particular environmental review.
From SEWRPC's website, on their goals of the plan:
The regional water supply plan is intended to include the following major components:
-Development of water supply service areas and of forecast demand for water use.
-Development of recommendations for water conservation efforts to reduce water demand.
-Evaluation of alternative sources of supply, culminating in identification of recommended sources of supply for each service area and in recommendations for development of the basic infrastructure required to deliver that supply.
-Identification of groundwater recharge areas to be protected from incompatible development.
-Specification of any new institutional structures found necessary to carry out the plan recommendations.
-Identification of any constraints to development levels in subareas of the Region that may emanate from water supply sustainability concerns.
Clearly, SEWRPC was not interested in the environmental impacts, mainly the use and expanded service area impacts to water usage.
The EIS is supposed to be an independent review of all of these standards, or those within the EIS "scope."
The petitioning body (city of Waukesha) could do its own EIS analysis, as a preliminary check of its application against a set of standards (other than its singular standard: "We're from Waukesha and we want water.")
But the EIS should be conducted by an independent body who will presumably measure the application against the standards.
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