Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Planned wetlands loss echoes WI Supreme Ct. warning

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday outlined a massive sand mine proposal in western Wisconsin that could bring about the greatest Wisconsin wetlands loss to a single project in years, among other negative consequences.
I noted the sand mine and wetlands story in the context of several large environmentally-destruclive plans afoot in Wisconsin which both Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and environmentally-hostile Trump administration could easily approve.

At times like these it's important to remember the guiding principle set down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an historic decision still cited on a not-scrubbed web page about Wisconsin residents' constitutional rights to clean, accessible water. I italicized the Court's language for emphasis:
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.
The court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions.
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist.  Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.(2)
Sources: (1) Quick, John. 1994. The Public Trust Doctrine in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1. (2) "Champions of the Public Trust, A History of Water Use in Wisconsin" study guide. 1995. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Water Regulation and Zoning. Champions of the Public Trust [PDF].

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice of Scott Walker's BFF to tell us something about the agenda they have promoted, endorsed, and enabled. I don't think they deserve a "thank you" for proppin' Scott Walker and everything GOP up, but at least they are telling us some details about the political agenda they catapulted across the state.

In other words -- on the surface this may seem helpful, but then consider the source, consider the integrity of this "news" organization, and then watch them continue to promote, endorse, enable, and cover-up everything Walker. No, nothing published by this source is ever helpful and if it is published under this masthead, it is always some type of propaganda (this more subtle than the usual pro-Walker talking points published as nooooze")