Monday, March 11, 2013

With Wisc. A Rogue Great Lakes State, Whither Waukesha's Diversion?

Scott Walker, his donor friends at the Florida-based GTAC coal mining company and their allies are trying to sell as environmentally-friendly their partisan plan to blow up and bulldoze hills, fill wetlands and threaten the Great Lakes' largest wild rice-growing estuaries in pursuit of a massive open pit mine near the southern shore of Lake Superior.

In Phase I - - 4.5 miles long, a half-mile wide and 1,000 ft. deep - - after 1,200 ft. hills are evaporated. Possible final length - - 22 miles. With lots of lakes, streams and rivers in the way and downstream.

Imagine how this recklessness looks to citizens, policy-makers and regulators across seven more water-rich Great Lakes states. All these watersheds, from Minnesota to New York State are connected, you know.

This historic disrespect for water - - remember, the Bad River near the proposed mine's many miles drains into Lake Superior - - cannot help Walker and his DNR convince the other states in the Great Lakes basin - - or Canadian provincial observers, with First Nations (tribes) among them - - that Waukesha's Great Lakes diversion application is on solid scientific footing and had a fair and depoliticized review.

And that Wisconsin right now is a reliable Great Lakes steward and trust-worthy partner in regional water quality and conservation - - the heart of the Great Lakes Compact under which Waukesha's application will be reviewed.

Walker and his party pushed the bill into law at the expense of water science and fair regard for long-held treaty rights to water and resources belonging to the Bad River Ojibwe band and its water-based, rice-growing culture.

If the mining bill is Walker's idea of resource responsibility, if it's the new Wisconsin model plan and process for water quality and management, with Waukesha's Great Lakes diversion application still on hold:


And the Waukesha application to divert water out of the Great Lakes basin has its own share of internal and regional problems.

It's been three years in the making and is not yet complete. Nor has the DNR yet released even a draft environmental statement covering the withdrawal plan and return flow scheme.

With public hearings, in-state challenges and who knows how many rewrites to come.

And then all eight Great Lakes states must approve the application: the mining bill and the obnoxious process that made it law will not help move that application forward.

And will not move forward Wisconsin's once-proud reputation as a leader in environmental preservation, and respect for water protection enshrined in the Wisconsin Constitution as The Public Trust Doctrine - - a set of principles dating to the Northwest Ordnance of 1787.

At which the mining bill, Walker and his allies thumbed their noses.

Waukesha's legislators pushed hard for the mining bill. They may find push-back from the other states whose unanimous consent is needed to approve the Waukesha diversion application among the many unanticipated consequences of their anti-scientific, disrespectful and partisan process that ended Walker's bill-signings Monday.

And which has many chapters, like the Waukesha application, yet to unfold.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You must have a source in the DNR!