Tuesday, February 18, 2014

WI State Senate Approves Water Pollution Clean-Up Delays

The WMC - - take a look at its heavy-duty pitch launched publicly just a few days ago - - is leading the State Senate around by the nose and has won for water polluters delays up to 20 years cleaning up phosphorous discharge contamination (think algae food) before giving long-negotiated rules a chance to work:

Noted here last week as the WMC after it got the PR ball rolling:

Maybe it's time to put up signs at the Wisconsin border that say "Contaminated Waters Ahead. Entering FUBAR zone." 
The Journal Sentinel editorial board today endorses a plan backed by big water polluters to undo a carefully crafted existing phosphorous pollution-abatement state law, give polluters up to an extra 20 years before ending their water-contaminated phosphorous discharges - - favoring instead slow, incremental 'progress' - - while making payments into a cleanup fund that would raise less than one-half-of-one percent of the estimated statewide cleanup cost. 
Does the editorial board think the Wisconsin Constitution's Article IX, The Public Trust doctrine, is no longer worth respecting? 
Where, in this state that has produced Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold and John Muir, is the biggest statewide newspaper's unambiguous Public Trust Doctrine defense where state rivers, streams, lakes and groundwater - - everyone's waters - - are under threat, if not outright attack.
Would that the State Senate and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had heeded this solid advice in a Monday letter to the editor: 
It is disappointing the Journal Sentinel Editorial Board supported fast-tracked legislation that will hinder efforts to clear the state's algae-clogged waters without asking more questions ("Phosphorus regulation bill would help state address runoff pollution," Our View, Feb. 12).
Growing dead zones in Green Bay and excess algae fouling Milwaukee's Bradford Beach every summer are visible symptoms of the serious water quality problems facing Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states. 
Recent amendments address some of the bills' egregious flaws but fall short of fixing Senate Bill B 547 and Assembly Bill 680. As it stands, the bills being rushed through the Legislature could confuse and delay Wisconsin's cleanup of this growing Great Lakes threat.
Wisconsin communities are piloting the state's innovative approach to control algae-inducing phosphorus runoff — an adaptive management option that invites sewage plants, industries, municipalities and agricultural professionals to collaborate to get the cleanest water for their buck.
The bills devalue the water protections Wisconsin worked so hard to establish in 2010, protections that serve as a model for states facing even worse pollution. 
Lawmakers must exercise caution and fix this legislation lest it create a loophole through which an overload of phosphorus will flow, sullying Wisconsin's lakes and streams and moving them further from the cleaner, clearer waters that benefit every resident, visitor and business.
Todd Brennan 
Alliance for the Great Lakes, Milwaukee

1 comment:

nanishome said...

I hope the assembly amendments allow NO NET gain in the amount of phosphorous discharge contamination. I am wary. I think the whole point is to give industry a by and leave the taxpayers with the either the environmental mess and/or the clean up. All in all it will be a tax break for industry and a tax subsidy by the working tax paying residents that have been trying their damnedest to get phosphorus contaminates out household cleaners and removed through waste water treatment facilities down to acceptable levels. NO NET GAIN. We don't want to pay to clean up the mess while the mess creators get what amounts to tax break to pass on to their shareholders.