Sunday, January 3, 2016

Special interest WI bulldozer finds more real estate targets

The Journal Sentinel gives page one coverage today to a move in the Wisconsin Legislature to allow property owners to tear up Native American effigy mounds:
Landowners could excavate and possibly develop some of the surviving Indian mounds of Wisconsin — many dating back more than a millennium — under legislation by two lawmakers. 
The bill from Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Rep. Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) would shift the balance of state law more toward private property rights and away from the preservation of one of the state's unusual features.
I noted this breathtaking and arrogant outrage in mid-December, and added cultural context, here, with a reminder that Walker & Co. were eager to excavate the Bad River tribal watershed for 35 years of open-pit, mountain-top-acid-runoff producing iron ore mining while also using state power to make it easier for local schools to retain mascots and nicknames Native Americans found offensive.

That GOP legislators - - and, of course, the builders and WMC have already signed on - - would even broach the bulldozing of effigy, burial grounds should take no one by surprise, given the ruling party's inclination to sell off, deregulate or diminish public and common assets - - groundwater, shorelines, wetlands, lake and stream access, clean air, and state lands.

Next up: permanent awards of groundwater to big users like mega-daries and other large agricultural outfits, regardless of the cumulative impacts downstream, all the while with a Walker-directed Department of Natural Resources, (DNR) that has cut back on staff, science, inspections and pollution enforcement.

Even routine, safe and clean tap water is now denied to thousands of Wisconsin citizens while 'regulators' and other policy-makers look in the opposite, corporatized direction.

Real estate interests and private-property ideologues in the last few years wielded considerable judicial ethics code writing power at the State Supreme Court, had Gov. Walker sign a bill weakening wetlands protections in front of their cheering conventioneers, and benefit continuously as Wisconsin wetlands are filled a record pace during the ongoing five-year tenure of ex-builder Cathy Stepp as Walker's appointed "chamber of commerce mentality" DNR Secretary.

Walker and his legislative water-carriers made their priorities and agendas crystal-clear during his first few weeks in office  by short-circuiting an environmental review to allow a developer/Walker donor to build on a wetland near Lambeau field, setting the tone for the next five years of environmental disregard.

Remember also that the 247-acre nature preserve adjacent to Kohler-Andrae State Park ticketed for tree-cutting and groundwater-pumping high-end golf course development by yet an even bigger Walker donor contains one burial mound, as the Journal Sentinel has reported and critics have repeatedly noted:
A local citizens group, Friends of the Black River Forest, has formed to voice concerns about the potential for this development to destroy native forest, sand dunes, and Indian mounds.  They are also concerned about increased runoff from fertilizer and pesticides impacting water quality of the Black River (already impaired due to excess phosphorus) and Lake Michigan.  
The effigy mound destruction bill - - subject of a Jan. 12 State Capitol protest, according to this website - - takes Wisconsin's far-right agenda to a depressing new depth, combining a fresh offense against historic lands and cultural practices with yet another attack on the environment - - all so someone can make a buck with the assistance of clueless 'conservative' legislators who, once upon a time, warned about big government trampling people's religious practices and freedoms.

Consider for a moment what would happen if, say, Wisconsin tribes wanted to level mainstream religious properties - - even cemeteries.

Right. I thought so.


Anonymous said...

Just remember, this is Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's guy -- no one has done more over the past decade and more to pump of this charlatan and economic train wreck. MJS owns him and everything he and his republican allies do.

my5cents said...

Why would you even want to excavate and possibly develop Indian mounds? Is there absolutely no respect for anything any more. What is wrong with those people. Is corporate interests all they can think of? What's in it for them? I think they all need to take a class in morals and respect, if there is such a thing.

You know I watch a show on TV sometimes about the game wardens in Maine. Main is currently run by Republicans, but they respect the wildlife, lands and water in that state and uphold the laws that protect them. What in the world happened in Wisconsin that they lost all respect for wildlife, the land and water. It's like some evil entity came and took over all of their brains or something.

Man MKE said...

Excellent summary. I keep saying that our current brand of GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin simply know no bottom -- the bottom of a 1,000-foot-deep open pit mine evidently wasn't bottom enough.

Man MKE said...

P.S. If you go to the DNR web site, You'll find all sorts of puffery about the value and beauty of the tribal mounds. I expect they'll be scrubbing those pages soon.

Anonymous said...

I wonder, has anyone seen Stepp lately? Does she even come into the office?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Ho-Chunk petition link. Just 61 away from the goal of 5000.