Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hearings on WI water giveaway bills begin Wednesday

Readers of this blog know its principal environmental focus is the endangered state of Wisconsin's waters.

The culprit isn't climate change or bad luck.

We're facing a wholly-unnecessary crisis created by conservative politicians and their industry-obeisant bureaucrats who are working hard and effectively in lockstep with donors and other friends to grant special interest favorsundo pollution regulations, end guarantees of vital and fair downstream water sharing and eliminate citizen ownership and management of live-affirming and public waters.

And special interests have helped elect a favorable judiciary in Wisconsin and writes its conflict-of-interest rules.

In a nutshell, the state is about to change the laws to give big water users permanent permission to pump out groundwater without regard to downstream rivers, lakes, streams or wells, and we, the people, will not be able to do much about it.

I am posting this link to information presented by River Alliance of Wisconsin about a crucial hearing tomorrow in Madison where one of these outrageous bills will have a hearing, and also about another bad bill soon be aired:
This Wednesday, October 7th at 2:30pm, SB239 introduced by Senator Rick Gudex will have a hearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism. This bill does nothing to fix the the growing groundwater crisis in the state, including problems many property owners in the Central Sands are facing due to groundwater over-pumping.
This afternoon, a third groundwater bill was introduced by Senator Rob Cowles that will make major changes to groundwater law in Wisconsin. The bill may get a hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy as soon as next week. We are currently analyzing this bill and will be sharing our analysis with you this week.
River Alliance opposes SB239. Providing the necessary tools to ensure adequate access to groundwater for Wisconsin's industry and citizenry should be a priority for this Legislature.SB239 does not achieve this goal. Instead, the bill will end the only existing opportunity that DNR has to review and adjust water use permits in order to address problems. 
Currently, DNR's authority to review and adjust a high capacity well approval is limited to instances of a transfer, replacement, or reconstruction of a well. This is the only real opportunity to address over-pumping when there is a groundwater shortage since high capacity well permits never expire. SB239 removes this critical review opportunity altogether.
By taking away the only chance for any real review of water use, SB239 essentially creates a permanent permit for water use. Instead of providing solutions for the water challenges facing our state, SB239 cements the problems in place with no chance for a resolution. How is this responsible stewardship of water?
Here's what one Wisconsin River - - The Little Plover - - which belongs to all the people of the state has looked like recently when groundwater is over-pumped; this is just the beginning if these bills become law. (River Alliance of Wisconsin photos)


1 comment:

Madisonotes said...

While you wrote about this last October, and I attended the Hearings, I see the legislation is now snaking its ugly head into the chamber of official give-aways very soon. Appalled, I've sent your most recent posts to several hundred folks I know, asking them to take action. We have done this repeatedly, and will keep trying. Thanks for your great research, writing, links, YouTube clips, All very good! -- Marcia Riquelme, Co-chair of Deforest Area Progressives. April 19, '16