Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Diversion plan could toughen outside regulators' oversight in WI

Waukesha's precedent-setting application for a diversion of Great Lakes water gets an up-on-down vote - - most likely an approval - - from the region's governors or their reps meeting in Chicago today.

There are last-minute amendments to an earlier finding of fact which pointed to an eventual approval that would add fresh layers of public interest regulation into the diversion's legal mechanics which Waukesha and and a deliberately-damaged Wisconsin DNR would have to live with for the diversion to go through.

Hardly a vote of confidence in Wisconsin water regulators' commitment, especially iff the conditions are added to a final agreement.

One flatly states the city's application that gained the blessing of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in December 2015 had "failed" to meet all terms of the compact. Conditions added by regional officials last month -- including a smaller volume of water than requested and a reduced water distribution area -- were determined to achieve compliance requirements. 
Another requested amendment emphasizes that individual states or the Great Lakes states as a group can take enforcement actions against Waukesha to compel compliance with those conditions or the compact. Minnesota representative Julie Ekman said last month that she wanted to emphasize there would be another layer of enforcement beyond Wisconsin's existing authority. 
A third amendment offered by the two states would subject the city to performance audits with only 30 days advance notice. In such an audit, the city would be required to open its operating records to inspection by one or all of the other seven states.
I would take the Minnesota proposed amendment about the other states being able to take enforcement actions against Wisconsin as acknowledgment that Wisconsin under GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel, GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his "chamber of commerce" DNR have forfeited any real interest in water conservation with the public in mind - - a case outlines here:

Wisconsin's Governor, his 'chamber-of-commerce" Department of Natural Resources, the State Legislature and Supreme Court are now controlled and coordinated by corporately-directed and ideologically-committed officials or appointees.

They have weakened state water law and regulatory oversight and cannot be trusted to provide the necessary and principled public water oversight which is at the core of the eight-state US/Canadian 2008 Great Lakes Compact that governs such diversions.

Read about the lack of public water concern - - as policy in Wisconsin - - here.

WI heading for more groundwater privatization, pollution and scarcityDiversion plan could add toughened compliance 
Below is The Little Plover River, starved for water by Big Ag groundwater pumping. CAFOs are among other large water users getting kid-gloves regulation in Wisconsin these days.

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