As the water giveaway bills move through the Wisconsin Legislature, there is some timely advice from the River Alliance of Wisconsin:
Call your Assembly representative and say "no" to leaving our groundwater open to exploitation.
Two bills -- AB 477 and AB 874 -- were pretty much written by agricultural interests. They don't like one (477), but they really want 874. We oppose both.
- AB 477 proposes a process for creating "sensitive resource areas" (SRAs) to analyze groundwater use and develop management schemes to balance its use so pumping doesn't harm surface waters. The process is cumbersome, with several political trap doors set up for an SRA to fall through. An SRA will likely never become reality under this bill.
Here's your message: "I oppose these groundwater bills because they give green lights for excessive water use by agriculture and other industries, and ignores the rights of everyone else to use or own property on the waters affected by industrial uses."
- AB 874 proposes to make it easier for people who have permits to operate a high-capacity well without having that well ever scrutinized if it changes hands. Many believe it creates a "water right," of the kind Wisconsin law has historically avoided.
If you would like to testify in person, you can: these bills have a hearing on Wednesday, February 10, at 11:00 a.m. in the North Hearing Room- 2nd Floor North. While it's great to show up in person, your direct contact to your Assembly rep by email or phone count just as much (and parking is easier).
Don't know your state representative or senator? Find them here