Thursday, July 5, 2018

Walker's across-the-board land, air, wildlife and water contamination

To polluted water, clear-cut land, dirty air, add diseased wildlife to Walker's environmentally-ruinous tenure.

Presaged by his actions in the opening days of his administration in early 2011 to short-circuit a DNR permit review so a campaign donor could build on a wetland near Lambeau Field.

*  Chronic deer wasting disease (CWD) has been confirmed in Marinette County, bring to 43 the number of Wisconsin's 72 counties where the infection has been found,

You may have missed the DNR's news release about it, as it was posted when people were getting their 4th of July plans finalized:

This represents Marinette County's first known occurrence of the disease. Florence County is within a 10-mile radius of the breeding farm on which this positive deer was found...thereby renewing the baiting and feeding ban in that county.
I posted updates on this issue

A bony, listless wild deer spotted in Wisconsin this spring was euthanized by the state’s department of natural resources. It tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a fatal illness that has spread to 24 states

when CWD was first detected in Lincoln and Langlade Counties earlier this year with information about Walker's disinterested mismanagement of the epidemic.

*  Ditto for water pollution in the state. 

We have outbreaks of potentially-harmful , phosphorous-fueled blue-green algae in state waters, but as I have noted several times over the years on this blog, Walker and his GOP legislative allies eased phosphorous-discharging rules and encouraged so much big ag and dairy expansions in places like Kewaunee County that the DNR will distribute free bottled water (Hello, Flint!) to homeowners experiencing manure-fed 'brown water' events at their kitchen taps.

In fact, DNR data I posted earlier this year shows that Wisconsin waterways rated as "impaired" have doubled over Walker's tenure. Here are the numbers, and also links to the DNR's search too, again. 

*  Here is a link to the official DNR 2012 list, which covers the last year of the Jim Doyle administration and the first year of Walker's, and text from the DNR's  summary:  
 Here is the DNR link to the 2014 list. Again, the trends were not good: 
Using the search tool, I count 23 deletions. 
 More lopsided data on the DNR list for 2016 in favor of pollution: 
*  Same story in the 2018 list
Every two years, Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act requires states to publish a list of all waters that are not meeting water quality standards. The existing Impaired Waters List includes more than 700 rivers, streams and lakes. In the 2012 list, updates include 147 new waters to the list. Twenty-eight waters were delisted, including three streams that have been successfully restored: German Valley Branch in Dane County and Eagle and Joos Valley Creeks in Buffalo County.
In the 2014 list update, DNR added 192 new waters. A majority of the listing additions were waters that exceed total phosphorus criteria. A significant number of new listings were also based on poor biological condition. Read more about specific restorations and/or search and learn about Wisconsin’s impaired waters with the Impaired Waters Search Tool. [How to use the Search Tool]
In the proposed 2016 list update, DNR proposes to add 225 new waters. A majority of the listing additions were waters that exceed total phosphorus criteria. A significant number of new listings were also based on poor biological condition. Ten water bodies are proposed to be delisted.
In the proposed 2018 list update, DNR proposes to add 240 new water segments. A majority of the listing additions were waters that exceed total phosphorus criteria. Thirty-five water bodies are proposed to be delisted. 
These trends will worsen when metallic-mining and its acidic processing runoff begins following Walker's recent bill-signing, and the sand mines the Walker regime chooses not to inspect find new ways to contaminate the rivers.

Take it from Democratic State Sen.Kathleen Vinehout, whose district includes more sand mines than any other. 
“There’s nobody actually assigned to monitor the sand mines,” she said. “Funds are available but the DNR never hired inspectors.”
* Walker has also just prevailed upon the now-polluter-friendly US EPA to exempt the most populous portion of the state from otherwise everyday clean air standards to permit legally almost 800 new tons of air contamination annually from the Lake Michigan-tapping Foxconn project about 30 miles from Milwaukee.

Full, year-long Foxconn archive, here
[Updated continuously from July, 2017] This frequently-updated archive follows Wisconsin's award of $4.5 billion in state and local funds, plus waivers of routine judicial and environmental reviews, for a promised Foxconn factory development using a massive daily diversion of Lake Michigan water to 'develop' Racine County open space, farmlands and wetlands.
Which fits with his denial of climate change and obstruction of information about it. It's easier to dirty up the air if you withhold from the public what it needs to know about the consequences.

* And not far north of the Foxconn site, Walker's anti-science DNR management has greenlit massive forest-cutting, dune-paving and habitat-bulldozing so a high-end golf course complex can be built over a nature preserve and into the adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

So let's understand that what Walker had the environmentally-destructive Cathy Stepp do as DNR Secretary is continuing, and end with two basic questions:

1. Does Wisconsin give a you-know-what about all this?

2. Or is the political environment as stagnant as our swimming beaches, faster-filled, wildlife-hostile wetlands, rural drinking water and what Foxconn is being allowed to emit?

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