Saturday, February 20, 2016

What's moving downstream in WI water 'management'

The various branches of Wisconsin government captured by right-wing interests continue to hand over the environment and public water rights to special interests by: enabling wetland and shoreline development; adding building privileges in rural Dane County; greenlighting water-hogging, polluting industrial-scale livestock feeding operations and sand mining; and, with sweetheart vetting, the doubling of cross-state tar sand oil piping by the Enbridge company (see Kalamazoo River, Michigan, same company and what could go wrong).

This is all despite Article IX of the State Constitution (read, and copy should the text disappear, as has happened before with regard to climate change information) which says that the waters of the state 
Canoeingbelong to everyone, and preservation and access to these waters in the public interest are primary rights the state is required to enforce:
As a result, the public interest, once primarily interpreted to protect public rights to transportation on navigable waters, has been broadened to include protected public rights to water quality and quantity, recreational activities, and scenic beauty.(1)
All Wisconsin citizens have the right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, and swim on navigable waters, as well as enjoy the natural scenic beauty of navigable waters, and enjoy the quality and quantity of water that supports those uses.(2)
Wisconsin law recognizes that owners of lands bordering lakes and rivers - "riparian" owners - hold rights in the water next to their property. These riparian rights include the use of the shoreline, reasonable use of the water, and a right to access the water.However, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has ruled that when conflicts occur between the rights of riparian owners and public rights, the public's rights are primary and the riparian owner's secondary.(1)
Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to intervene to protect public rights in the commercial or recreational use of navigable waters. The DNR, as the state agent charged with this responsibility, can do so through permitting requirements for water projects, through court action to stop nuisances in navigable waters, and through statutes authorizing local zoning ordinances that limit development along navigable waterways. 
While the State Senate is not yet finished approving water giveaways and development pre-emptions already just passed in the Assembly, it's important to also keep track of what's percolating in Environmental Impact Statement reviews at Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, including

*  A high-end golf course on a 247-acre nature preserve - - official DNR website - - on a bluff above Lake Michigan bordering, and even on several acres within Kohler-Andrae State Park near Sheboygan. More, here.

*  An animal feeding operation near Lake Superior - - official DNR website - - proposed by Iowa interests to house 26,000 pigs not far from where a West Virginia coal operator wanted to gouge from water-rich hills a 4.5 mile-long, half-mile wide, 700-foot-deep open-pit iron ore mine. More, here.

Seems to me that not enough people in the state know enough about The Public Trust Doctrine, and not enough public officials care enough to put it ahead of the special interests which are being allowed to systematically join in its erasure.

Plenty of links about the right's attack on the water and land, and the Public Trust Doctrine, here.

In other words - - if you love Wisconsin waters, better use the Public Trust Doctrine.

Or lose it.

And places like Copper Falls.


Anonymous said...

"Seems to me that not enough people in the state know enough about The Public Trust Doctrine, and not enough public officials care enough to put it ahead of the special interests which are being allowed to systematically join in its erasure."

Curious -- you are right -- the public does not know about this, which enables Walker and his flacks to give these valuable assets away PERMANENTLY.

But you don't seem to be accurately identifying the problem -- we know why Walker and his backers don't tell us about the "Public Trust Document" -- it isn't in their best-interest to inform the public about anything, much less why their actions are illegal or unconstitutional.

Where are the dems on this? But more importantly, where are Scott Walker's cheerleaders? The in-state media, overwhelmingly propping up Scott Walker even though he stole tens of thousands from Wisconsin taxpayers for a bogus White House bid and crashed by spending more than $90,000 daily -- and even then leaving behind debt of at least $2.5 million, will not tell this story.

In fact, across most of the media, there is no even the most cursory telling of republican divide-and-conquer legislation. This is yet another "bomb" dropped on Wisconsin citizens and taxpayers and the media is entirely complicit with this theft.

I won't call out the players, but we all know who dominates Wisconsin media, who acts as the ringleader, and which media outlets catapult the propaganda of the "big boys."

Anonymous said...

Your post downstairs makes it graphically clear what is "moving downstream", a 2-mile long turd!