Tuesday, November 8, 2016

US EPA to hold 11/15 public session on Wisconsin water stewardship

People who follow this blog know that I have been communicating and organizing relentlessly  - - one sample, Wisconsin's Water Crisis - - from 2015/updated from 2013  - - about Wisconsin's coordinated capitulation on water stewardship to CAFOs, big ag and other beneficiaries of Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' governance.

Especially grievous: the coordination with another GOP corporate servant, Attorney General Brad Schimel, who at the GOP-leg Legislature's request issued an opinion that grants big water users permanent permission to operate high-volume wells without regard to the impact on groundwater levels nearby or downstream users even though the state constitution says, and courts have agreed, that state waters belong to all the people and the state is their trustee.

You may remember that as water pollution and misuse has escalated, and complaints to the the DNR which Walker and the top corporate servants he installed there have been ignored as a matter of policy, federal officials agreed to come to Wisconsin last month for an inspection of DNR records to see if the agency has been following the US Clean Water Act - - something the US EPA told Wisconsin early in the Walker years - - in writing - - it was failing to do.

Now we are learning via Clean Wisconsin, a leading environmental advocacy organization - - see information below - - that the EPA is holding a public meeting on all this in Wisconsin next week.

That's great news.

Regrettably, however, the meeting is in Eau Claire - - far from the epicenter of polluted groundwater near feedlots in Kewaunee County or the battle over DNR's blinders over wetlands, shorelines, dunes and groundwater near Sheboygan on the other side of the state - - but let's hope for a good turnout if this is indeed the only such meeting:

On Nov. 15th U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Robert Kaplan is coming to Wisconsin to hear how our state is protecting its water.

Do you have thoughts or concerns about how Wisconsin’s waterways and drinking water are being impacted pollutants or over-use? Then this is your chance to voice those concerns to a key decision maker. 

Wisconsin’s core water protection values are at a crossroads as our waters face unprecedented threats. Here are just a few of the threats facing our water:
  • Pollution from runoff has created a large ecological dead zone in the waters of Green Bay.
  • Beaches regularly close around the state because of threats to public health.
  • Communities in Southeastern Wisconsin are forced to drink bottled water because their water supplies are contaminated by pollution.
  • Thirty-two percent of the private drinking water wells tested in Kewaunee County contain unsafe levels of bacteria and other contamination due to polluted runoff.
  • Lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands are drying up in the Central Sands because of the proliferation of high-capacity wells.
  • The number of impaired waterway listings is skyrocketing: The Department of Natural Resources in 2016 added 225 waters to the list of impaired waterways and removed only 10. The list now includes nearly 1,300 water bodies in the state that fail to meet water quality standards, mostly due to excess phosphorus, which is what causes algae growth.
Despite these known threats to Wisconsin waters, decision-makers at the state capitol have looked for ways to roll-back water quality protections. 
For example, the governor and the legislature have worked to dismantle DNR’s permitting authority, which has led to lax review of high capacity well permits and their impacts on waterways. They’ve relaxed monitoring and enforcement at Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and other pollution dischargers. Deep cuts to DNR’s budget eliminated jobs – including science staff and educators – and hampered programs that deal with polluted runoff and land protection, programs that serve a critical role in water pollution prevention.
Local communities are now prevented from having stronger shore land zoning ordinances than the statewide minimum, and wetland protections have been rolled-back.
Meanwhile, the governor has forbidden state employees from working on proactive measures to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Power Plan while the state takes part in an ill-fated attempt to challenge the law in federal court.

The EPA can help protect Wisconsin’s waters when state agencies and lawmakers fail to do so.
The agency can help provide clean drinking water in places like Kewaunee, where residents are forced to drink bottled water because their wells are polluted. The EPA can help tackle growing problems caused by lead pipes poisoning our drinking water. Federal officials can lean on the DNR and make sure the state agency upholds its duties under the Clean Water Act. The EPA can ensure the safety of public drinking water systems by upholding and enforcing the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. And the EPA can push polluters to be part of the solution instead of fighting existing and new protections.
Now is the opportunity to tell EPA officials how they can help those of us in Wisconsin who are working tirelessly to protect access to clean, safe, and plentiful water.
Please RSVP HERE if you can make it to Eau Claire on Nov. 15th from 5-7 p.m. at the Chippewa Valley Technical College. For more information and updates, or to RSVP online, please visit our Facebook page.

Clean Wisconsin
634 W. Main St. Suite 300
Madison, WI 53703

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Election results at 9:15 indicate people in Wisconsin no longer care about water