State GOP on environmental impacts:
"If the law is challenged and ends up in court, the judge needs to know it was the Legislature’s intent to allow adverse (environmental) impacts. That way, a judge can’t find fault if the environment is impacted.” --Rep. Tiffany, March, 2013
I've always considered the GM auto plant and adjacent properties in Janesville a "live" future Super Fund site first, properties that don't test in but must "test-out" piecemeal before it can be deemed clean of contamination or liabilities. So I was not surprised by a new report showing industrial toxins were found in the Rock River near the plant. This report could be the tip of the iceberg.
But under Gov. Scott Walker's "open for business" policies and Wisconsin's centralized red state control, if GM were to challenge the state or a municipality on remediation issues, GM would likely win. Mainly because it is the state's GOP-majority legislature's broad intent to allow adverse environmental impacts resulting from business activity.
Moving forward (Hey, I sound like a politician now), that means Janesville city officials should forget looking for help from Walker, the state's toothless DNR or the state's attorney general and instead go straight to Rep. Paul Ryans' office for emergency EPA money. After all, he's the area's federal go-to guy and the GM plant is in his district.
UPDATE: Gazette --> Janesville officials think the DNR will be taking the lead on the situation. Seriously? Walker's DNR will more likely be taking the lead to clear GM of any liability. Wisconsin can't be "open for business" if the state is hostile to business activity. See Rep. Tiffany's statement.
View the City report here.
View the sediment report here.
RNR - Everyone But Paul Ryan Showed Up At Auto Town Recovery Summits