Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How To Erase 224 Years Of Public Access To Wisconsin Waters? Hold One Hearing

And call it a jobs plan, diverting attention from your own State Department of Revenue's finding that your 250,000 new jobs' pledge - - centerpiece of a 2010 campaign for Governor you won with 52% of the vote and a false claim that the other guy had a "radical environmental agenda" - - would fall flat by something like half.

That's how Scott Walker has been driving the privatization juggernaut in Wisconsin for close to a year, assisted by his Fitzgerald footmen on behalf of ultra-conservative, special interest lobbies and donors, with historic environmental protections on the chopping block and about to be sacrificed.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11:00 a.m. there will be a single hearing on Senate Bill 24 in Room 417 North,  State Capitol - - and that's it.

This is how deeply Walker & Co. have diminished and devalued both the substance of public policy in Wisconsin, and the process that creates or protects it.

Team Walker: "Well, we had a hearing..."

One hearing. Can you say, "pro-forma?" Can you spell c-h-a-r-a-d-e?


A vote to approve could come in both houses within two weeks, followed by the automatic signature of Governor 52% - - and after that, The Public Trust Doctrine, keystone to preventing the filling of waterways and clearing of shorelines and riverbanks, could be severely weakened.

Thus setting the stage for mining, pier-building and other privately-operated, physically-degrading uses of lakes, rivers and streams that would limit public access and enjoyment  - - a right guaranteed to Wisconsinites, in perpetuity - - or so we thought - - since 1787.

Also weakened: future citizen hearing rights and participation, or DNR permit reviews, so waterway filling or incursions would take place faster, with shortened scientific reviews, thus allowing alteration of waterways or their banks - - even in waters deemed sensitive or valuable - - before anyone could get a handle on the ramifications.

And this is supposedly a jobs bill.

Ask the people whose livelihoods depend on Wisconsin's outdoors tourism sector what they think of parking lots, haphazardly-sited buildings, mining tailing piles or private power boat piers pushed into parks, preserves, marshes, stream banks and wetlands?


Anonymous said...

Doyle did the same thing with the Job Creation Act passed soon after he was elected. It gutted Chapter 30. DNR dealt with it but the environmental degradation was documented in the groundwater and surface water quality. This is just another stepp backward for our environment and our people. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

And Doyle promised to bring back the Public Intervenor but didn't.

Warren Knowles was right about the need for the Intervenor to protect the interest of the public. Let's reinstate this role!