Friday, July 20, 2012

DNR Dubious Referee For The Milwaukee/Waukesha Water Service Dispute

Milwaukee has asked the DNR to resolve a dispute with Waukesha over whether diverted Lake Michigan water can be distributed beyond Waukesha's city boundaries.

Two points:

Because the DNR needs to validate with public procedures Waukesha's application for water before sending it to the seven other Great Lakes states for review - - and before the completion and vetting of an Environmental Impact Statement with public comment phases, too - - such a purely administrative determination now by the DNR before it completes its own review could signal, fatally, to the other states, that Waukesha's application is being given cart-before-the-horse, make-it-up-as-you-go-along treatment by Wisconsin regulators.

Also: the DNR, Waukesha, Milwaukee, the four smaller municipalities included in the application by Waukesha without their prior approval would not be in this bizarre position if the DNR had written and completed, as mandated by state law, all the administrative rules that were supposed to have been in place to guide the diversion application in Wisconsin.

Basically, all parties are in choppy, uncharted waters, thanks to timid political management of the DNR by two administrations - - Doyle and Walker's.

#bipartisan, four-year fail.

All of which suggest weakness here to the other states as this precedent-setting application chugs along.

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