WI Assembly votes today on permanent groundwater permits
Today's the day that the Wisconsin Assembly will likely pass AB 874, a bill to give big ag and the mega-dairies what they are demanding - - permanent withdrawal rights through high-capacity wells to take water without regard to the cumulative effects on neighbors' wells, downstream river flows and any sense of proportion or fairness or environmental sanity when it comes to overseeing the public's waters.
Rights to water access guaranteed in the State Constitution - - which the Walker administration has constantly attacked on behalf of its special interest funders.
They have seen what unregulated CAFCOs have done in Kewaunee County in terms of water contamination for which they have no solution. Now they are willing to risk the groundwater resources of the entire state and in particular neighboring landowners, wetlands, lakes and streams. These fools are setting the state up for a catastrophe....all to satisfy those who fill their campaign coffers at the expense of each citizen of this state. I have come to believe that many Wisconsinites are so struggling to keep their heads above water economically that they are blind to what Walker and these Republican legislators are doing outside of their vision. Perhaps the only way to bring into the light of day what is happening would be to have an open records request from every Republican legislators documenting the numbers opposing and supporting each legislative action they have taken. This might be the only way to prove to the people of this state that the Republicans are working only for themselves, their corporate and special interest donors and for ALEC.
This bill would also be in violation of Wisconsin's Constitution! http://confluence.journalism.wisc.edu/2015/01/16/434/
The Wisconsin Constitution states in article IX, section 1 that, “[T]he river Mississippi and the navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the state as to the citizens of the United States, without any tax, impost or duty therefor.”
Christenson would later go on to say, “The idea that as the doctrine evolved, it was read to protect a variety of rights of water including the right to recreate, to fish, to hunt game, to enjoy scenic beauty and to enjoy clean and healthy water.”
In his essay titled "Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine" presented at the Wisconsin Lakes Convention in March 2010, Attorney Michael J. Cain summed it up (on pages 4-5) with these words:"With the burgeoning growth that is currently occurring, it will be a major challenge in the 21st century to assure that we can meet our responsibilities under the Public Trust Doctrine and preserve the quality of our waters for future generations."
On pages 18-19 Cain described the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision Gillen v. City of Neenah, 219 Wis. 2d 806 (1998)- "The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, held that citizens have an independent authority, under the public trust doctrine and the statutes, to challenge 'violations of the public trust doctrine and [we] may constitute public nuisances'" where we see 'em.
I see a big political nuisance.
Attorney David Strifling, the Director of Marquette Law School's Water Law and Policy Initiative recently questioned whether the Public Trust Doctrine has eroded in Wisconsin: http://www.law.marquette.edu/facultyblog/2016/01/07/is-wisconsins-public-trust-doctrine-eroding/
If we badgers agree that it has eroded, then could we envision a plan for our future action in which we dedicated stewards of land, water and other wildlife protect these resources on behalf of future generations who will live here in harmony with Nature?
This is fascinating. Shawn Johnson of WPR is reporting that Representative Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) wrote the bill and voted for it in committee but against it in session. Trying to have it both ways I guess. I hope his constituents see through that and elect someone else.
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