Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Walker, DNR have no plan to stem Green Bay pollution

Before you read further about the predictable, willful and expanding pollution of Green Bay, remember that all Wisconsin waters belong by right to all the people for their use and enjoyment - - held in trust for the public by Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution - - incorporating legal principles predating statehood back to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and even earlier.

Rights affirmed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Rights managed as a constitutional obligation for the public by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, its web site says.

But Green Bay's waters have an expanding dead zone from a known, preventable source, enabled in part because state government has a dead moral and policy zone also from a known source in the DNR - - agency that ought to be fighting hard in the public interest to do its job and help save Green Bay.

The dead zone in Green Bay's waters is caused by phosphorus from dairy herd runoff and other sources, and yes, its origins began before Scott Walker put his  "chamber-of-commerce mentality" atop the DNR to serve corporate interests and donors.

But they've worked hard to create and manipulate a dead zone in the agency by doing with the phosphorous threat what they have done with other forces menacing the state's waters, wetlands and environment:

As little as possible, as the Journal Sentinel notes:
New regulations will not be coming from state regulators, said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.
Of course not. When it comes to Green Bay's expanding stagnation, our do-as-little-as-it-can DNR is falling back on the shallowest of ineffective bureaucratic approaches - - some meetings here, some encouragement to other agencies to pick up the ball there - - while at the same time green-lighting more and bigger industrial-scale dairy operations and farm fertilizing through airborne manure spraying.

All of which adds contaminates that get into rivers, streams and lakes which the DNR is supposed to manage in the public interest on a trust basis for the people.

Add to this mess the culpability of the GOP-led Legislature, also doing Walker's bidding, which took an existing  phosphorous control and reduction plan hammered out with business sector participation, and implemented in 2009 and intentionally weakened it last year by granting to some big phosphorous dischargers another twenty years to comply.

If you look at the implications of the GOP's gerrymandered legislating, it's possible that the dead zone in Green Bay will be improved by the intervention of federal clean water rules and regional cooperation before the dead zone in the State Legislature and the DNR is fixed.

Remember that Walker's budget proposes removing citizen oversight of the DNR and strengthening the hand of the Governor and his political appointees to ignore the public interest.


Anonymous said...


You know without the football team green bay would just be the Toilet Paper Capitol of the World.

What other community would take a beautiful natural asset like that gorgeous bay any let it become essentially an industrial wasteland?

Anonymous said...

Georgia Pacific benefits from Walker's choice to not enforce phosphorous pollution regulations. GP is the largest polluter of phosphorous dumping its mess into the Fox River which empties into Green Bay. Not coincidentally, Georgia Pacific is owned by Koch Industries. Scott Walker is the best governor money can buy.

Anonymous said...

If Walker can't sell it for a profit to fill in the holes in his budget he'll just let manufacturing and business kill it so that they can profit by its death!

Anonymous said...

Turn Green Bay into a septic tank? It's all good, and remember to make your campaign contributions.

Leave a deuce in aisle 1 at the Kmart? Off to jail!

Nathanael said...

Serious question: is EPA regulation implicated here? It sounds like the DNR is violating federal laws, which would allow the EPA to step in and replace state oversight with federal oversight.