Monday, April 23, 2012

Walker's DNR Looks The Other Way As Stream Pollution Continues

The AP and Wausau Daily Herald bring us another Happy Earth Day story from Wisconsin:

...Wisconsin is not fully enforcing strict phosphorus limits adopted two years ago to reduce algae blooms that make people sick.

The Wausau Daily Herald says that's despite the Department of Natural Resources secretary's alarm at foul conditions in at least one lake last summer.

The Wisconsin Legislature approved the limits in 2010 They're aimed at wastewater treatment plants, paper mills and factories - which are required to reapply for permits at five-year intervals.

But as of last week, only 19 permits with stricter limits had been issued since September 2010. The DNR still is evaluating applications from over 350 facilities, while hundreds more must apply in the coming years.
The DNR says it's working as hard as it can, but remember that Walker has been obstructing the implementation of the rule for more than a year.

And it looks like the DNR is simply acting as if the two-year enforcement delay it wanted last year is the de facto policy.

Anyone seeing the pattern in Walker's environmental 'program'?


Melissa Malott said...

This is Melissa Malott, the Water Program Director at Clean Wisconsin, and person quoted in that article. I have to say that I expect the DNR to take a little extra time to figure out how to implement that rule. It is, after all, the first of it's kind in the country and a new framework for regulating pollution. That said, the part about this that is so ridiculous is that Walker campaigned on trying to kill this rule, a rule that will save our state billions of dollars while solving a problem that costs us hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Then, he tried to delay it in the budget, but couldn't because of Clean Water Act protections. While DNR staff are working to implement it, they need adequate funding and staffing resources to do so. I hope Walker either figures out that the state's interest and healthy economic future is dependent on a clean environment, or that we get a governor who does.

James Rowen said...

Thank you, Melissa, for the work you do and the comment.