Thursday, December 3, 2015

Call to action against radical grab of WI public water rights

This blog frequently focuses on the relentless attack by corporatist politicians against long-standing water law, public rights and the traditional Wisconsin land conservation and ethic  - - some examples here, here (or enter key words in the search box at the upper left corner of the blog face page for more items) - but I strongly suggest reading this excellent analysis and call to action by the River Alliance of Wisconsin about a particularly egregious plan to let developers encroach on shorelines:

ACTION ALERT -  Ask Your Legislator NOT to Sign On 


Bills Will Weaken Rules to Protect Water and Public Rights

This week, two bills co-sponsored by Sen. Frank Lasee and Rep. Adam Jarchow were introduced. Named the "Property Rights Package: Lands Near Waters" (LRB3588/1) and the "Property Rights Package: Statewide Uniformity" (LRB3986/1), these fancy-titled bills are a huge, far-reaching rollback in how we define public water and what activities in those waters can be regulated.

We are working hard to analyze all the implications in 36 pages of proposed changes to Wisconsin water statutes. But it is already crystal clear that these bills live up to their name as a "package" - that is, a giant Christmas package of favors to special interests that want to use our waters with less oversight, less accountability and less local control or citizen challenge.

The bill includes language to:
  • Remove more waters from protection under the Public Trust Doctrine
  • Allow increased development in wetlands
  • Allow a lake property owner to remove up to 10 dump trucks full of sediment from a lake bed every year without an individual permit.
  • Require the State to sell filled lake bed - public property - to private interests
  • Narrow the ability for citizens to challenge DNR permit decisions that affect water and even allow defendants to cherry-pick new hearing examiners when things aren't going their way.
  • Weakens local control over development, zoning and even how local governments vote on zoning changes 

What can you do?  

These bills are circulating in the Capitol for co-sponsorship. NOW is the perfect time for legislators to hear that their constituents are unhappy with these outrageous rollbacks to water protection. 

The deadline for legislators to sign on to these bills is coming fast: MONDAY, December 7th.

1. Phone or write your Senator and Representative and let them know you are tired of hearing all the news of how we are not protecting clean water in Wisconsin. Ask them NOT TO SIGN ON to these two bills. Find the contact info for your legislator here:

2. Sign up for our e-newsletter and action alerts. 

Thank you for helping to protect the waters of Wisconsin!   

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