It's important to note that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources did not agree with the City of Waukesha's reasoning that a meeting about the city's stalled Lake Michigan diversion application be closed to the public.
I had written about the closed meeting demand, and thus the meeting's cancellation, here.
The Daily Reporter did some fine reporting on the matter, and I am reprinting from its story - - a registration is required - - these salient paragraphs:
"The city has submitted its application twice, most recently in September, and failed to gain approval each time. Bruce Baker, administrator of the DNR water division, asked to meet with Waukesha officials to discuss what the state needs before the request can be processed.
Baker said the information sought from Waukesha would not have changed regardless who was in attendance, and the DNR sees no reason to prevent the public from attending.The City of Waukesha is also in a contentious relationship with the neighboring Town of Waukesha over water supplies. Frankly, the City's strategy right now is a total mystery, as the DNR's website devoted to the application continues to rate the application as deficient (see the "EIS process" button - - though the Waukesha Common Council approved it in early April.
“I can’t identify anything that would justify meeting in closed-door session,” Baker said. “I guess that’s something the city views differently, and that’s their prerogative.”
Dan Duchniak, Waukesha water utility general manager, refused to say what items in the public application the city considers legally sensitive. He said the city’s attorney advised it would not be in Waukesha’s best interest to meet with a third-party present.
The city would consider meeting DNR officials, Duchniak said, if some agreement is reached beforehand on what could be said in the public forum.
“There is already a public process in place that allows outside parties to comment,” Duchniak said. “Why should that process be changed for this application?”
The DNR routinely lets public groups attend such meetings, said Ezra Meyer, water resource specialist for Clean Wisconsin. Meyer said he had planned to observe Thursday’s meeting until Ybarra announced Waukesha would not attend."