Tuesday, September 15, 2015

MN shames WI on water, pipeline public policies

The divide between progressive Minnesota and the Wreakhavocstan that Wisconsin has become under Walkerite Republicans is highlighted today by Minnesota actions on behalf of its citizens and their environment.

*  While Wisconsin's 'chamber-of-commerce' DNR is carelessly green lighting a major crude oil pipeline expansion without a full environmental review, Minnesota is being ordered to conduct that very level of review for a different pipeline:
Minnesota regulators must rewind their work on the Sandpiper crude oil pipeline after a state Appeals Court panel Monday overturned a June decision that the project is needed.
The judicial panel ruled that a comprehensive environmental study about the pipeline's impact as it crosses northern Minnesota must be completed before the state Public Utilities Commission decides the pipeline is needed.
The decision means that after the environmental impact statement is completed, the commission may reconsider issuing the "certificate of need" it already approved on June 5. If it is approved again, the commission may proceed to approve a specific route.
And while Wisconsin regulators and legislators continue to water down the state's historic commitment to clean and accessible water, Minnesota is embarking on a major overhaul of its water policies that emphasize the public interest.
Both pipelines are Enbridge projects; the company has a checkered record that includes spills and violations in Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as its unprecedented inland spill into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

Can you imagine such a Minnesota-style, publicly-spirited action in Wisconsin, especially if it ended up at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, itself a subsidiary of corporate interests?

In fact, to make sure the controversial Wisconsin pipeline would get into the ground the entire length of the state with as few obstacles - - and public protections - - as possible, legislators serving the already-troubled pipeline operator slipped a special, last-minute amendment into the just-adopted Wisconsin state budget that exempted Enbridge from providing local officials with spill and cleanup insurance.

*  And while Minnesota moves intentionally to protect its waters and the lands that buffer them, Republicans running Wisconsin government on behalf of special interests have been systematically degrading regulatory and scientific rules and expertise designed to keep Wisconsin waters clean and accessible.

Repeatedly forcing local residents, taxpayers and small communities to fight for their water rights, often against the DNR and state officials.

Wisconsin is selling public land - - even prime trout stream headwaters acreage - - cutting DNR scientists, enabling big-dairy groundwater pollution, turning a blind eye to a growing dead zone in Green Bay from farm-and-phosphorous runoff (also freshly deregulated), giving kid-gloves treatment to a politically-connected-and-polluting septic hauler, and treating water more like a commodity and less like the life-sustaining glacial-era gift which the Wisconsin Constitution says belongs to everyone.

Minnesota weathered the recession far better than did Wisconsin, and while the upper Midwestern states share a picturesque Mississippi River border, Lake Superioe
and sports rivalries, the more appealing and successful Minnesota is leaving Wisconsin in the dust and with far less upon which to build: 
Minnesota’s economy outperforms Wisconsin’s economy. The trends have accelerated since the end of the Great Recession. Economically, Minnesota continues to pull away from the Badger State.



1 comment:

Marilyn McDole said...

WreckHavocstan? What a great new name. On the serious side, I was glad to see this pipeline stopped. Unbridled is getting way too many free passes.