Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Help Save Wisconsin Waters From The New, Official Polluters

                            River Alliance Of Wisconsin explains how:

Giant Leap Backward for Wisconsin's Waters

On Tuesday, May 24, the Republican members of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to overturn Wisconsin's rules for controlling polluted runoff, and set the stage for routing recently approved rules to control algae-causing phosphorus and to protect lakes and rivers by managing shoreland development.

Polluted runoff --fertilizer and manure from farm fields, and oil, metals and other toxic stuff from city streets -- is the biggest source of pollution to Wisconsin's waterways. Without any discussion, JFC voted to direct the Department of Natural Resources to repeal and recreate NR 151, the state's rules for controlling nonpoint pollution.

In place since 2002 after years of painstaking negotiations and compromise, and lauded as a model program across the country, the nonpoint rules were amended just last year to improve how they work for private land owners and municipalities. Even though last year's update took years of work by citizen advisory committees and DNR staff, the direction from Joint Finance is to redo it by the end of this year!

Pardon us for failing to believe the new version will provide the protections our waters deserve.

JFC also directed the DNR to complete, by the end of the year, an "economic impact analysis" of two rules adopted just last year: standards to control how much phosphorus can enter waterways; and standards for development along shorelines to protect lakes and rivers from the impacts of development. Clearly this is the first step to gutting the phosphorus rule and the shoreland zoning rule too, as the analyses will be used to argue that protecting Wisconsin's lakes and streams is "bad for business."

The dismantling of these three important rules would be a giant step backward in the protection and restoration of Wisconsin's waters, but there's still a chance to fix this bad situation. These issues are inappropriately buried in the state budget, which is still under review by the Joint Finance Committee. They could choose to revise their vote, but they need to hear from you why gutting these rules is a bad idea. Please let them know today!

Contact Your Legislators
You can find contact information for your senator and representative http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx, and register your comments with a quick email or phone call.

Contact the Joint Finance Committee
It is especially important to contact your legislator if they are a member of the committee, but the entire committee should hear from you:  

No comments: