Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Call Legislators NOW And Help Get Phosphorus-Rule Suspension Out Of The State Budget

Scott Walker has put a two-year suspension into his budget of a carefully-negotiated rule to begin requiring a halt to damaging phosphorus pollution from entering our lakes, streams and wetlands. 

Here are the details:

Wisconsin Association of Lakes
Tell Joint Finance Committee to Remove Suspension of Phosphorus Rules from the Budget Bill
Contact the Joint Finance Committee
The Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature is responsible for detailed review of the state budget.  It is especially important to contact your legislator if they are a member of the committee, but the entire committee should hear from you:


The Governor’s budget proposal contains a provision that would suspend implementation of the phosphorus standards & rules that went into effect last year. These rules contain specific numeric limits on how much phosphorus can be in runoff, but also provide great flexibility to businesses and municipalities through innovative cooperative management plans and opportunities to work through the implementation process over time. Allowing the rules to be suspended means accepting the same algae blooms and negative economic impacts the rules are meant to prevent.
The Joint Finance Committee may vote on the phosphorus rule suspension today-- please consider a phone call or e-mail to the members of the committee before the vote (click here for a list).

  • The provision is non-fiscal , i.e. non-budgetary, and doesn’t belong in the budget in the first place! The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau agreed in their memo to the JFC (click here for the memo), but the Committee has so far declined to remove it.
  • What is being reported as a “delay” in implementation is really a suspension of existing rules, rules that some entities are already working to implement. The new standards and rules took effect in December of 2010, and the federal EPA approved them, incorporating them into federal law.
  • The two-year suspension of the rules is effectively much longer. First, the start date of the suspension is unclear – if it’s the start of the fiscal year, then the clock starts mid-2011, instead of the 2010 effective date of the rules. But what’s more, permits under the rules are good for five years or more – tacking on two years more means phosphorus will continue to be discharged into our lakes and streams at the old rate until 2018 and potentially longer! And a whopping 550 permits come due in the next two years.
All this, with good, strong rules already in place!

If you agree that Wisconsin needs strong phosphorus rules to protect our waters and the businesses and property owners that depend on them, please consider contacting the members of the Joint Finance Committee as soon as possible, as well as your own legislators. Tell them to remove the phosphorus rules suspension from the budget!
For a list of Joint Finance Committee Members, click here.
To find your legislator, click here.
To download a .pdf with more info on this issue, click here.


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