Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Walker the wetland-killer should fill his Scottholes instead

One acre of wetlands can hold a lot of water, experts say
According to the EPA, one acre of wetland can hold roughly a million gallons of water...A wetland can hold up to three feet of water over an acre.” [former DNR wetland program manager Tom] Jerow adds.“
So as Southern Wisconsin deals with historic, devastating flooding, you might thank GOP legislators, some real estate interests and Scott Walker-the-wetland-killer for all they've done to 'develop' trash nature's flood-mitigating sponges, including:

*  Two of Walker's first actions as Governor in early 2011 - - his interruption of a wetland-filling permit review on behalf of a donor developer and his direction to the Legislature to begin rolling back wetland-filling prohibitions statewide.

*  The bill Walker signed in 2012 in front of happy real estate interests that enabled more development in wetlands. Special interests crowed about their inside influence.

*  By 2015, wetland-filling in Wisconsin was taking place "at the fastest pace in at least a decade" thanks to the eased laws.

Walker's office even trashed federal wetland protections it spuriously blamed for the collapse of the plan by an out-of-state mining company to clear cut the Bad River watershed, when in fact the company itself said the area was too wet to successfully mine.

*  Walker signed more legislation in 2015 to spur wetland and shoreline development.

*  By 2017, Foxconn was given by Walker and his legislative supplicants key exemptions at the behest of big business from an environmental impact statement review on its 3,000+ rural site, and wetlands there were specifically exempted from routine state protections.

Quite the precedent, wouldn't you say?
A wide array of Wisconsin environmental regulations would be waived under a proposal put forward by Gov. Scott Walker to lure electronic manufacturing giant Foxconn to the state. 
A bill Walker released on Friday would allow Foxconn, without permits, to discharge dredged materials, fill wetlands, change the course of streams, build artificial bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and build on a riverbed or lakebed.
About which downstream Illinois is none too happy, given Racine's flooding history. 

A complete archive of posts about Foxconn is here.

*  By 2018, Walker had signed into law the removal of state protections from an additional 100,000 wetland acres.

In 2017 the DNR granted permission to an out-of-state sand mining company - - since reversed by a judge - - for the bulldozing a rare timbered wetland, and in 2018 the DNR approved a wetland-filling permit for a controversial golf course development in a heavily-wooded, rare-dune-rich nature preserve - - now being challenged in court.

If only Walker had as much interest in filling the potholes Scottholes on the nation's second-worst roads he won't properly finance.

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