Saturday, March 1, 2014

WI Scandals Include Grabs For Water

Policy issues at the State Capitol are going to play second-fiddle in media to John Doe maneuvering, secret emails and offensive legislator behavior, but let's not lose sight of offensive, special interest legislation being packaged in committees and lobbying shops that also need greater sunlight.

Take the pending GOP-led scheme that will enable some of the biggest users of water  - - a resource already threatened in one way or another by overt waste, over-pumping, drought, contamination and even calls for export - - to pump out as much groundwater as they want after intentionally hamstrung and 'reformed' permit reviews under the bill rule out accounting for the effects of big withdrawals on the overall supply.

Even the DNR under Scott Walker still says in large, bold-faced type online when explaining state law and the Wisconsin Constitution's embedded, public water protection:
Wisconsin's Waters Belong to Everyone
This outrageous giveaway of public water to big users - - and its accompanying  eradication of legacy legal protections now keeping drinking water systems full, lakes deep and trout streams alive  - - is known as Senate Bill 302, the text and scheduling of which are here.

Basically, SB 302 is close to a floor vote. It could have an easier approval in the Assembly, where corporate agricultural and mining interests have a bigger GOP majority to serve them.

Also note the fine posting on the bill and related outrages by Anne Sayers of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters:
Farmers in areas where frac sand mining is occurring are unable to water their fields. Trout streams in central Wisconsin are drying up, and high-capacity wells are drawing down nearby lakes. A new bill (SB 302) would allow frac sand mining companies, factory farms and other large water users to pull water from the same source without consideration of how much water each is using. Allowing for such a shortsighted approach means that our water supplies would be quickly drawn down...
Citizens rely on their local authorities to be the first line of defense in protecting their air and water. SB 349 strips local governments’ abilities to do that, paving the way for polluters to play by their own rules. The result would be more frac sand mining, more manure spraying, and more air and water contamination.
So take a few minutes off from shoveling snow today and tell your StateSenator to oppose SB 302. Hand-written letters are best.

Find your Senator and other legislative addresses, here

1 comment:

jimcarrier said...

Your comparison to Nixon is ironic, in that Tricky Dick did wonders for the environment. NEPA, Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act became law under Nixon. As you report, Walker's more lasting legacy, and the one toughest to repair, is the destruction of science-driven natural resource management.