Monday, September 26, 2011

Months Later, The Record About Waukesha Water And Growth Is Clarified

Last year's discussion about a possible Lake Michigan water diversion to the City of Waukesha got a little-noticed clarification in the record after UWM consultants hired by the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, (SEWRPC) had released a water and related issues of economic justice.

In digging through minutes of recent meetings of SEWRPC's Environmental Justice Task Force. (EJTF), I noticed a section in the January meeting minutes, and because I missed that meeting due to illness I add the information to the documentation about water, Waukesha and social justice that is gathered and archived on this blog.

The bracketed ID information is mine to help out readers with names and titles, and I have turned a reference to a newspaper story into a link to a URL:


Ms. [Adeline] Greene [SEWRPC Commissioner, EJTF Chairperson]...asked if there were any questions or comments on the September 2, 2010, meeting minutes. 
Mr. [Kenneth] Yunker [SEWRPC Executive Director] noted that revisions in response to comments from [Attorney] Ms. [Karyn] Rotker of the ACLU were underlined on pages 7 and 8 of the meeting minutes. 
He then suggested that the word “diversion” be inserted into the revision on page 8 so it would read “Mr. Yunker reminded the Task Force of [UWM Professor and consultant] Mr. [Joel] Rast’s comment at the July 8, 2010, EJTF meeting that the science indicating that groundwater supplies are of adequate quantity and quality would make it difficult for the City of Waukesha’s diversion application to be approved.”
 Ms. Rotker stated that she agreed with the revisions to the meeting minutes as they relate to her comments.
Mr. [Brian] Peters [ETJF member] noted Professor Rast of the UWM Center for Economic Development (CED) had written a letter to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in response to an article titled, Commission Report Backs Waukesha Lake Water Bid. Mr. Peters noted that the letter was not published by the paper and asked that the letter be acknowledged because Mr. Rast’s comments are important as they relate to an accurate description of the Socio-Economic Impact Analysis of the Regional Water Supply Plan. 
Mr. Yunker stated that staff was unaware of the letter and suggested attaching the letter to the September 2, 2010, meeting minutes if Task Force members were in agreement (see Attachment 2, which will also be added as Attachment 5 to the September 2, 2010, meeting minutes). 
Ms. Santos Adams [EJTF member] suggested that the letter be distributed to Task Force members in attendance for their review. 
 Ms. Rotker provided copies of the letter to Task Force members.
The Task Force unanimously agreed to attach the letter to the September 2, 2010, meeting minutes.
 Here is a pdf link to Rast's unpublished letter as posted by SEWRPC, with these key sentences about what Rast calls an "important clarification:"
"The consensus by geologists who have studied this issue extensively is that Waukesha's groundwater supplies, if properly managed, are sufficient to support planned development through the year 2035. Waukesha may prefer Lake Michigan water to its current supply, but it does not need Lake Michigan water to realize its development plans through the year 2035."  
Bottom line: Lake Michigan would be a supply choice by Waukesha, but not necessarily a no-alterbatives' option - - and that is a critical threshold for a diversion application's approval under the regional water management plan - - Great Lakes Compact - - to which Waukesha's application is made.

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