Thursday, May 20, 2010

Waukesha Delivers Lake Michigan Diversion Plan To State Regulators

And Waukesha delivered it by hand, no less, we are told.

Can the rest of us read what is a precedent-setting request?

Well, maybe if you travel out to the water utility and pick up a hard copy; the utility website still has a January 28th draft version posted, and that one is missing several appendices; within that final version, we've been told, are changes declared minor by the water utility and city attorney.

Now the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will finish an important document of its own - - the scope of review - - and then dive into the application.

But without having written administrative rules to guide the construction of an application, or to establish a review procedure, the level of public participation, etc.

Never the less, the DNR will proceed with a review that could/should include several public hearings in Waukesha, Wauwatosa, and Milwaukee, so the initial phase of the DNR review will last through at least the end of 2010.

Or longer, should the DNR want the plan amended, and especially if the agency decides that what needs to be included, finally, are independent and comparative assessments of all water supply alternatives.

It's too soon to say what the outcome of this entire review will be, and at what point the DNR feels it can put its imprimatur on the plan and send it to the other seven Great Lakes states for their review.

An immediate question: will Waukesha get around to posting the final diversion plan version with a guide to the changes inserted since the Common Council approved a draft on April 8th?

Given the utility's unwillingness to put transparency first over the last seven weeks, I think not, though I remain optimistic and always willing to be surprised.

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