Friday, June 30, 2017

On water, MI GOP Atty. General shames WI GOP officials

Make sure you read about Michigan Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette calling for the closing of an aging oil pipeline belonging to bad corporate actor Enbridge running beneath the Mackinac Straits and putting Lake Michigan and crucial drinking water and recreational industries at risk.

A link to the story is here:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Thursday it’s time to begin the process of shutting down the twin 64-year-old oil pipelines that run across the bottom of the picturesque Straits of Mackinac.
Schuette's name should ring a bell because he recently filed heavy-duty felony charges against several high-ranking state and local officials in the wake of the catastrophic poisoning of Flint's water supply, including the charging of appointees of incumbent Michigan GOP Gov. Rick Snyder.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

*  Because of a two-term limit, Snyder cannot run for re-election in 2018, and with Flint matters still ongoing and its nightmare cemented as Snyder's enduring legacy, it will behoove any candidate for Governor to run with a solid environmental and public record firmly established.

Schuette is considered a possible candidate: his actions in the Flint and Mackinac pipeline issues give him those bona fides.

*  It also places him back into what had been mainstream politics in Michigan, as I understand it, where Republican Governors like William Milliken and John Engler had good, even admirable environmental records because essentially all of Michigan is within the Great Lakes basin and strong, consensus water preservation was traditionally bi-partisan, or non-partisan, and certainly better than we have in Wisconsin right now.

Our "chamber of commerce mentality" GOP Governor Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel move in lockstep with the ideological right's insistence on private control of public waters and our shared environment, regardless of proven consequences.

Note that Walker's Department of Natural Resources had not even followed its own procedures designed to fix known contamination issues and guarantee clean drinking water near a growing number of industrial-scale animal feeding operations. 

Part of a pattern of the separation of public policy from the public interest that the DNR has laid down at Walker's direction since the beginning of his administration, and which has accelerated her time.

And as the Mackinac Straits pipeline issue broke into the news, Walker's office had no comment, a TV news outlet reported.

Little wonder. Walker has used Enbridge as campaign photo op material, despite its horrible spill and pollution record nationally and in Wisconsin.

Walker and Schimel, with backing from the GOP-run Legislature, have separately or together worked to: evade the intent of the state's constitutional mandate that the waters of the state belong to everyone; privatize the state's groundwater; speed the expansion of a north-south oil pipeline by minimizing the project's environmental reviews; bulldoze wetlands to create sand mines, pull back prevention of phosphorous dumping into rivers, and on pollution enforcement generally, and cooperate with Trump initiatives to remove federal protections for wetlands and other surface waters.

Hard to overstate the differences between the current Wisconsin approach under Republicans and environmental law enforcement by the Republican Attorney General in our neighboring state across Lake Michigan.

And if the explanation is, 'that's what's been created in the wake of Flint,' wouldn't it be better if Wisconsin came to its senses and recovered what Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold and John Muir had bequeathed us.

And so we wouldn't need a Flint-level disaster to snap us back to reality?

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