Monday, October 24, 2011

Wisconsin Environmental Groups Organizing To Fight "Pollution Over People" Bill

Organizations are gearing up to fight the "Pollution Over People" bill - - Scott Walker's plan to rollback 224 years of public access to Wisconsin waters.

Said the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation in a Sunday statement:

“Whether you are a hunter, angler or trapper, Wisconsin’s lakes and streams are critically important habitat for the fish and wildlife that are the backbone for hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin,” stated Chuck Matyska (Cecil), President of the Federation. “Allowing these lakes and streams to be damaged is contrary to the interest of every sportsman and woman in this state.”
“The Legislature is working hard to increase the recruitment and retention of young hunters, anglers and trappers in Wisconsin, but without quality fish and wildlife habitat, the important heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping will be lost forever,” indicated Betty Borchert, Chair of the Federation’s Environment Committee. “Ultimately, the loss of this habitat will hurt the economy and in fact cost Wisconsin jobs.
The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is hosting a briefing for media Tuesday on the bill prior to a quickly-scheduled Legislative hearing in Madison on the plan:
When: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

Where: State Capitol, 300 SE

Anne Sayers, Program Director, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Institute, (608) 208-1129, (608) 658-0186 cell,
And the River Alliance of Wisconsin makes the case, below:

Polluters Playground: The Push for Mining Undercuts Water Protections Statewide

A few weeks ago we put out the warning that a couple of Governor Walker's "Back to Work Wisconsin" Special Session bills were mining bills in disguise.  Despite denials coming out of the Capitol, we were right.  They're even worse than we expected -- Special Session bills SB 24 and AB 24 to "reform" protections for navigable waters is a real doozy.  In other words, to grease the skids for mining in northern Wisconsin, the bill's sponsors are willing to sacrifice water and land all across the state.
This is why, no matter where you live or how you feel about mining in northern Wisconsin, you should tell your lawmakers to oppose these bills. 

An overarching theme in the bill is rubber-stamping permits on impossibly short timelines for the following activities.  (We also note how these activities maybe, just maybe, have something to do with mining.)
  • Taking water out the ground and from rivers (Taconite mining uses lots of water.)
  • Building dams (Hmmmm, could that be for mine tailings ponds?)
  • Building next to, and on the banks of, navigable waters (Hauling mine waste will need a lot of new roads crossing lots of trout streams.)
  • Grading (aka digging for ore?) within close proximity of rivers. 
SB/AB 24 is also chock full of special favors for developers who haven't been able to get their way in the past few years.  If you recall the Green Bay wetland debacle from last spring, where a developer got a state law passed just for him, well, here we go again:
  • Need to fill in a lakebed so your condo project can extend out into the water?  Have at it. 
  • Been itching to make your pier so big you can dock all six of your boats?  Your wait is almost over. 
  • Perturbed you have to get a permit to put a pier over a place fish use to spawn  No more pesky permit for you.
The public hearing for these bills is Wednesday, October 26 at 11:00 a.m. in Room 417 North of the Capitol.  This will be a joint hearing of the both the Assembly and Senate committees on natural resources, which means it will be the only hearing on a bill that will wreak havoc on our waterways across the state.  

SB/AB 24 is such a blatant special interest bill it's shameful, and you need to tell your legislators how you feel.  If you can't make it to the Capitol, call them and tell them loud and clear before Wednesday. 

Or join us at the hearing - the more the merrier.
Bottom line: These groups have it right.

This one, wrong.


Sue said...

From the 'Sportsmen for Walker' section of the Scott Walker for Gov website:
"Our state needs a commitment to accessibility of land and waterways for sportsmen and women of all ages to hunt, fish and trap. To that end, Sportsmen for Walker shows the confidence within the sportsmen community that Scott Walker will restore trust and accountability back to the DNR and make sure that the DNR once again governs in the people’s interest." Then it has a section to 'join this coalition'. I've seen a couple bumper Sportsmen for Walker bumper stickers.
Buyers remorse, anyone?

James Rowen said...

Thanks. I used that in a fres posting:

Say What? said...

The Environemtnal rapist is fine tuning his tools. I wonder how the real power brokers feel about this ramrod approach as they ponder their wild rice harvests.

Anonymous said...

Don't like those weed beds - no problem- just apply for a permit and in 30 days - have at it with those herbicides.

Anonymous said...

Don't like that rocky bottom in front of your lake mansion. No problem- apply for that permit and it thirty days you can dump 20 yards of sand and don't worry about those small mouth bass spawning beds.