There is no way a bill that would blow off the top of a pristine mountain range, dig deep open pit mines for miles, and pollute the Bad River watershed at the edge of Lake Superior should or could get past Ojibwe - - US Government treaties, the Clean Water Act and the Wisconsin Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine that requires access to and preservation of water be given regulatory preference over private water uses.
Yet that is just what Walker and the GOP legislators led around by mining interests are proposing today - - a divisive and cynical ploy to appear to be doing something about a failing jobs' agenda.
You might want to read (and copy before someone in the Walker administration says 'get rid of that public interest stuff') what the DNR itself says about the Wisconsin Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine language and what the DNR is required to do when looking at a potential conflict between private and public water interests:
Wisconsin law recognizes that owners of lands bordering lakes and rivers - "riparian" owners - hold rights in the water next to their property. These riparian rights include the use of the shoreline, reasonable use of the water, and a right to access the water. However, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has ruled that when conflicts occur between the rights of riparian owners and public rights, the public's rights are primary and the riparian owner's secondary.(1)
What are Wisconsin's stream and lake access laws?
Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to intervene to protect public rights in the commercial or recreational use of navigable waters. The DNR, as the state agent charged with this responsibility, can do so through permitting requirements for water projects, through court action to stop nuisances in navigable waters, and through statutes authorizing local zoning ordinances that limit development along navigable waterways.
The court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions. "A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.(2)