Thursday, October 31, 2013

Environmental Groups Want Water Meetings With Greater Public Input

The City of Waukesha Water Utility has scheduled four public meetings in SE Wisconsin about the city's plan to divert water from Lake Michigan, but the meetings will not have the comprehensive, wide-open format that regional and state environmental organizations believe will provide the public with maximum input.

Input that would better inform decision-makers in Waukesha and all eight Great Lakes states whose unanimous approval is needed before a diversion would occur.

Here is the letter recently sent to Waukesha by the organizations:

Clean Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Milwaukee Riverkeeper,  River Alliance of Wisconsin, Waukesha County Environmental Action League, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation
Dan Duchniak 
Waukesha Water Utility 
115 Delafield Street Waukesha, WI 53188 
Dear Mr. Duchniak, 
Thank you for agreeing to hold public meetings on the City of Waukesha’s revised application for a diversion of Lake Michigan water. We feel it is critically important for the public to hear from the Waukesha Water Utility about the revised application. 
We also hope that these meetings will provide a meaningful opportunity for public dialogue on the implications of the proposal and the potential alternatives reviewed in generating the proposal. 
To that end, we request that you structure the format of the meetings to include an opportunity for questions from the audience and responses from the presenters on behalf of the City / Water Utility as part of the plenary presentation at each of the four planned meetings. 
While allowing for questions and answers in more of a one-on-one format after the presentation has value, it does not allow for the true public conversation needed to foster understanding of this complex proposal. 
It is very important that other members of the public be able to hear the questions and concerns of their peers as well as the responses to those inquiries from Utility/City staff and/or contractors. 
To reiterate, we are requesting that the Water Utility modify the meeting format to allow for interactive questions and answers from the audience as part of the plenary presentation at each of the four planned meetings. 
In addition, we would request that all the questions, comments and responses be recorded for the public record and shared with the DNR. 
Please inform me in writing by November 1 of your response to this request. 
Thank you for your consideration. 
We hope you will support making this an open and informative process for all those who participate at the four meetings and/or through the DNR’s written comment process extending through December 2. 
On behalf of the Compact Implementation Coalition, 
Ezra Meyer, Water Resources Specialist Clean Wisconsin 
Cc: Eric Ebersberger, Department of Natural Resources 
Compact Implementation Coalition 

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