Sunday, September 3, 2017

Exposing Walker's environmental Foxconn con

The Wisconsin State Journal lays out why and how Walker and Trump are making it easier for Foxconn to evade environmental regulation, so cannot be trusted to suddenly become leading conservationists.

Note that Wisconsin environmental watchdogs have warning about risks to state law, legacy, clean air and water which Walker and Wisconsin GOP legislators have been ignoring since the word ":Foxconn" began dominating the news, and it's a theme running through this blog post with 50 links to many Foxconn issues, commentaries and disclosures.

Let's get this clear:

For Walker, environmental degradation has been his m.o. since the early days of his governorship when he facilitated the filling of a wetland for a campaign donor, then signed broader exemptions into law at a meeting of cheering real estate agents and more recently turned over permanent rights and access to state groundwater to some major users who are draining what's there and discharging some by-products with polluting results.

Which led me to write on July 29th about Walker and Trump and Foxconn:

And here's a major con in Walker's plan:
Federal environmental regulations would still apply.
Because we all know that Trump's EPA, with the cooperation of Wisconsin's AG Brad Schimel, is wiping out federal environmental clean air and water rules and protections - - which is why we are seeing news stories like this:
Trump taking hatchet to EPA
And Trump had said in the campaign he wanted to crush the agency, leaving "a little bit."
Does that sound like a reliable way to keep Wisconsin's waters and air unpolluted, or to honor the state's constitutional guarantee to accessible, enjoyable and healthy water, still summarized this way?
Wisconsin 's Waters Belong to Everyone
Remember that despite what the state constitution decrees, the DNR under Walker's 'chamber of commerce' direction has been researching at the senior management level how to use weaker federal environmental as the excuse to pre-empt and bury Wisconsin's long-established commitment to the public interest in land of Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold and John Muir.
Trusting Scott ("Running-for-Re-election 24.7/365") 365 to careen whit about the environment is like expecting him to promote collective bargaining or Amtrak service across the state.

His own DNR with his hand-picked "chamber of commerce mentality" Secretary can't even deliver a single bottle of water as promised to rural residents whose wells are contaminayed by runoff from the very industrial-scale cattle feeding operations his administration has handed operating permits virtually-inspection-free.

One more thing: Walker's wetlands-filling 'solution' for Foxconn is that it has to repair other damaged wetlands or create new ones (har!) at a slightly-higher per-acre rate than currently applied to other developers.

Except who says there are such available parcels to be fixed, as was noted in 2015?
Builders have been eliminating wetland acreage at the fastest pace in at least a decade under a controversial state law that eased protections for the ecologically important lands.
Cheered on by builders and developers who have long felt frustrated by water quality regulations, Republicans said Act 118 would put economic development needs in better balance with environmental protections.
But 3½ years later a crucial element in the law’s provisions — replacement wetlands that were supposed to offset those eliminated by development — has been temporarily exhausted.

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