Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bill To Encourage Filling Wetlands Paves The Way For Ruinous Mining Bill

Special interests - - from the Realtors to the Builders to mining companies - - have the legislature in their pockets this week, as a bill to encourage the filling of wetlands moves to Senate approval today - - Happy Valentine's Day - - while the mining bill is set for meaningless show-hearings beginning Friday before its locked-in approval.

It's a coordinated attack on our water rights, Native American treaty rights, principled land and water management and common-sense: the wetlands bill would encourage a developer draining and paving a wetlands in Kenosha County, for example, to "mitigate" the loss elsewhere by creating a wetlands - - playing God - - in Clark or Vilas or Grant County, perhaps.

Imagine someone burns your house down in Racine or Whitefish Bay or Spring Green - - then says, "not to worry. I'll fix one up for you just outside Chippewa Falls."

See how nicely this dovetails with the mining bill? A developer draining a wetland, say in Dane County can hire a mining company to go dig a hole in Wood County, throw in some seed and a few saplings and presto - - there's your wetland!

Wisconsin has protected state waters in a public trust for 225 years - - and data show that wetlands add billions to the state's economy - - but greed and disrespect for the land, driven by the politics of privatization, is trumping state history and the public's control of what it already owns.

The Walkerites will find that the State Constitution, federal clean water law and recall elections stand in the way of ideological agendas, but it should never have come to this.

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