Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Huge court win for WI public water, state constitution, but...

[Updated from 4:31 p.m.] Wonderful to see a Dane County Circuit Court judge throw out after a successful lawsuit brought by Clean Wisconsin a group of harmful

permanent high-capacity well-water permits the DNR approved at the instigation of Walker's 'chamber of commerce' administration, a GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel tag team with Robin Vos, and blatantly-demanding special interests used to getting their way - - the subject of dozens of posts on this blog over the years.

[Updated 10/12/17]  Wisconsin's environmental groups have to run with this decision and organize an educational campaign about the Public Trust Doctrine and constitutional water rights which Wednesday's court ruling affirmed. 

In this example, many more examples:
*  Wetlands preservation statewide has already been weakened through sweetheart legislation at the behest of developers and real estate interests. Walker signed the February, 2012 allowing more encroachment into wetlands at a convention of cheering Realtors.
*  Even earlier, Walker had sent three signals that Wisconsin's waters and wetlands were open to pollution, weakened regulation or outright draining and filling:
He blocked rules designed to keep toxic phosphorus out of state waters, supported a special bill to let a developer fill a 12-acre wetland near Lambeau Field and signed a measure ending the requirement that all municipalities install water system disinfecting and testing equipment.
*  Walker is helping to extend years of delays that have allowed a large, coal-burning Lake Michigan ferry to dump overboard 3.8 tons of coal ash every day of its Manitowoc-to-Ludington, MI sailing season.
*  Thousands of northern Wisconsin acres rich in water resources are about to be cordoned off, and then - - if Walker and his legislative allies get their way - - blasted apart and cleared for an open-pit mine that will leak acidic drainage across the Bad River watershed at the edge of Lake Superior from layers of dynamited sulfide-bearing rock.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp set aside the traditional honest-broker role of agency chief and backed the passage of the mining bill, then took to right-wing AM talk radio when the bill faced an initial defeat for a partisan rant.
*  The DNR is so anxious to shrug off its neutrality, let alone the resource protection advocacy assigned to it by Public Trust Doctrine responsibilities and legal precedents that it is not contesting a Waukesha County lower court ruling that blocks the agency from opening a large lake to public access as the Public Trust Doctrine mandates...
The DNR even gave kid gloves treatment to a politically-connected septic waste hauler who dumped too much human waste on farm fields near residential wells.
*  Likewise, the DNR is not fighting for Public Trust guaranteed groundwater protections. Instead our deliberately-passive DNR with the "chamber-of-commerce mentality" that Walker installed at the top is intentionally enabling large water users, including industrial-scale dairies and scores of new frac sand mines.
So let's remember that some of the same corporate interests again pushing water privatization, like the WMC, have helped those same powers gain and preserve a 5-2 majority on the State Supreme Court.

The District Court ruling today in favor of the state's role as trustee of public water, as opposed to salesman or donor, also highlights questions already raised by Walker and the legislature's giveaway of groundwater in the potential Foxconn site, and parallel demands by mining and other businesses statewide. 

Details, here.

But for the law, the people, and sustainable water supplies in Wisconsin, a great win.

After all, it was only yesterday that I had noted another fresh push for private control of state water, and the narratives that for the last few years have so favored the special interests:
The public-private tag team's relentless campaign in Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' Wisconsin just got another boost, reports the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Beware, New Front Group Formed on Water Policy!
P.S. Take a look at how the DNR still explains that the state's waters belong to the people and ro protect and preserve them, the state is supposed to act as public water trustee, not a sales or prize patrol staff.

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