Friday, March 10, 2017

Wetlands - also known in Walker's WI as expendables

The official assault in right-wing GOP Gov. and corporate bellhop Scott Walker's Wisconsin against the people's Constitutional water rights in an intentionally-trashed Public Trust Doctrine continues apace as our one-party, GOP-controlled state steals birthright public assets and leaves behind a Broken Trust Doctrine instead.

After imperiously assisting in the earliest days of his first term a wetlands' fill for a campaign donor/developer, followed by signing a business-enabled wetlands development bill in front of a cheering convention of Realtors and developers, Walker has put the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on staffing and budgetary life support with just enough energy left to set more wetlands-fillings and Big Ag groundwater withdrawal permissions into motion.

So it's not surprising that within a week we would learn that the DNR is preliminary approving the largest wetlands-fill in a decade that will grind down pristine acreage for the frac sand underneath, and is goosing along a plan to fill more wetlands so another donor/developer can build a high end golf course along Lake Michigan and partially into an adjoining state park.

salt marsh bird
These projects' planers pledge to fix up some other degraded land as environmental compensation, but everyone knows that so-called 'artificial wetlands' are not as good as the real thing, and you wouldn't have to scramble to out together a remediation plan off-site if you weren't bulldozing it in the first place.

And this 'fill-it/pave-it' mentality I've written about for years - - notable exception, Walker's potholed roads as all that money heads for overbuilt major highway expansion - - spins off into local communities, like Wauwatosa, where leaders have worked with developers and even the County and UW-M to continually grab off and level what's remaining of the people's land known as the Milwaukee County grounds.

Those policy-makers probably figure, if the state can do it, why can't they?

The bigger picture with facts and figures, here:

Here are a few points of context for the preliminary state approval of a Wisconsin frac sand mine that will destroy a Jackson County pristine wooded wetland, and also require huge amounts of groundwater for its operation: ... 
the Walkerites have used law and policy and political power in Wisconsin - - this GOP/corporate control has been an under-covered, carefully crafted take-over operation - - to tilt benefits and access in a heavenly way towards big business and the executives who own them.
1. This is just the latest example of Wisconsin right-wing GOP Gov. and corporate tool Scott Walker and his party helping the private sector absorb public resources in a loop of mutual self-interest across multiple business interests:
2. There are records of $10,300 in campaign donations from the land owner and people associated with it to Walker's campaign, according to this report by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
3. Projects like this will probably accelerate in Wisconsin and elsewhere because Walker is lobbying Donald Trump to give states more control over environmental policy-and-decision making, and because Trump has named former pro-business Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Finally - - remember the admonition about Wisconsin waters and The Public Trust Doctrine laid down by the State Supreme Court more than a half-century ago that I have put on the front page of my blog and should guide conservation and public policy here forever:
"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 Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution..

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