Thursday, June 13, 2019

Attention, SE WI lakeshore: the smog shall continue

[Updated] They say elections have consequences. 

Or not.

Bad enough in the last few days that the Walker-era-DNR-approved Foxconn-boosting Great Lakes diversion was upheld by a Wisconsin state administrative law judge.

Who is a former Walker official and donor. But stay tuned, as the decision may be appealed.

And even before the ruling, I'd said that sprawl is coming to the Foxconn zone even if the company with its ever-changing plans never uses a diverted gallon to build single widget.

Don't take my word for it: others in the decision-making chain are also making those very noises:
 “This diversion will support broader I-94 corridor development, creating even more Racine County jobs, patrons and residents.” Dave DeGroot, Mount Pleasant village president
But now, another Foxconn-related setback: the Journal Sentinel disclosed today that newly-minted Attorney General Josh Kaul is backing in Federal court the controversial Trump-EPA/Walker move to loosen clean air standards over portions of Northern Illinois and SE Wisconsin.

That move, if it prevails, will enable Foxconn and other regional emitters to more easily add pollutants to the region's already documented, dirty air.
Democrat AG Josh Kaul sides with Scott Walker on southeastern Wisconsin smog designation
If I understand Kaul's position, he's arguing that belated pollution concerns raised inside the EPA about the Trump/Walker move are nullified by DNR findings and science.

So as convoluted as it seems, Wisconsin will not push for stronger Federally-enforced air quality standards in and above heavily-populated and smoggy SE WI counties even though those stronger standards will be the norm just a few miles to the west.

Blame this clean air upsidedownism on Wisconsin's 'blame-Illinois-for it' campaign long waged by the WMC and conservative state pols from Walker to Glenn Grothman

Somehow it's found validation in the new AG's office.

And while no doubt the winds do carry Illinois pollution to the north, does that exempt Wisconsin governments and firms from doing more to reduce smog emissions that threaten public health?

I thought Wisconsin was beginning to recommit to cleaner air and greener policies that can help minimize the many destructive effects of a warming, changing climate.

Smoke stacks from a factory. 

And there is continuing state pressure on the EPA to make the region's air quality look good - - on paper - - by moving a key SE Wisconsin air quality monitoring device in Sheboygan County further inland.  

Where it probably will help get the lakeshore region's overall air 'quality' into 'compliance.'

I'm told Wisconsin officials made another public pitch to a Sheboygan audience just last week to justify moving the monitoring device, though word filtered out that people suffering from lung diseases were not buying what officials were selling.

More later.

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