Sunday, September 2, 2018

In land stewardship/water rights ruling, WI Sup. Ct. wrote warning for flooded times

Before we had the Walker-led Wisconsin state government that began disregarding wetlands on its first day in office - - each acre of which, mind you, can hold a million gallons of water   - - we had a State Supreme Court that understood the big-picture risks that poor planning

and arrogant disregard posed to the Wisconsin environment.

And to the state constitution's public trust guarantee that the government would be the guarantor of the people's rights to water quality, quantity, access and enjoyment themselves.

Here is a DNR web page that references the high court's signature ruling, and yes, this is the same DNR which has evinced hostility to wetland preservation across-the board, whether favoring a sand mining operation, here, or coddling a major golf course developer/Walker donor, here, and whenever or wherever Foxconn wants to be digging or filling, here,

I will also copy out the DNR web page's entire text, since things on the DNR's website, like its climate change material, or a long-standing chart of Wisconsin CAFOs, have had a way of disappearing since since Walker installed and expanded his preferred "chamber of commerce mentality" management there.

Said the Wisconsin Supreme Court, in 1966:
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist."  
And the full DNR page:

Waterway protectionThe public trust doctrine


Wisconsin's Waters Belong to Everyone

Wisconsin lakes and rivers are public resources, owned in common by all Wisconsin citizens under the state's Public Trust Doctrine. Based on the state constitution, this doctrine has been further defined by case law and statute. It declares that all navigable waters are "common highways and forever free", and held in trust by the Department of Natural Resources. 

Assures Public Rights in Waters
Wisconsin citizens have pursued legal and legislative action to clarify or change how this body of law is interpreted and implemented.
Watch how their efforts have benefitted all Wisconsinites in this series of videos.
"Champions of the Public Trust" - Part 1 [YouTube VIDEO length: 11:01]
"Champions of the Public Trust" - Part 2 [YouTube VIDEO length: 6:30]
"Champions of the Public Trust" - Part 3 [YouTube VIDEO length: 11:01]
As a result, the public interest, once primarily interpreted to protect public rights to transportation on navigable waters, has been broadened to include protected public rights to water quality and quantity, recreational activities, and scenic beauty.(1) 
All Wisconsin citizens have the right to boat, fish, hunt, ice skate, and swim on navigable waters, as well as enjoy the natural scenic beauty of navigable waters, and enjoy the quality and quantity of water that supports those uses.(2)
Wisconsin law recognizes that owners of lands bordering lakes and rivers - "riparian" owners - hold rights in the water next to their property. These riparian rights include the use of the shoreline, reasonable use of the water, and a right to access the water. However, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court has ruled that when conflicts occur between the rights of riparian owners and public rights, the public's rights are primary and the riparian owner's secondary.(1)
What are Wisconsin's stream and lake access laws?
Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to intervene to protect public rights in the commercial or recreational use of navigable waters. The DNR, as the state agent charged with this responsibility, can do so through permitting requirements for water projects, through court action to stop nuisances in navigable waters, and through statutes authorizing local zoning ordinances that limit development along navigable waterways.
The court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions. "A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.(2)
Sources: (1) Quick, John. 1994. The Public Trust Doctrine in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1. 
(2) "Champions of the Public Trust, A History of Water Use in Wisconsin" study guide. 1995. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Water Regulation and Zoning. Champions of the Public Trust [PDF]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thanks for ruining the environment republicans. nothing matters to you except making money at any cost. It beaks my heart to see farmland sold off and watch giant houses that nobody needs go up. GOP these floods are on you!