To put it bluntly ...nobody in Wisconsin cares anymore.
Well, outside a handful of Wisconsin bloggers, a few progressives, a shrinking pool of democrats and a few good people like yourself that is.
What am I writing about? There's a current story about a well-intentioned local conservation type coalition in need of more volunteers for training to help monitor area streams by collecting information on aquatic insects, oxygen levels, temperature, clarity, velocity, etc,.
Working with the UW-Extension and the DNR, they hope the data can help drive decisions on land use, runoff, and chemical use such as fertilizers. That's all fine and dandy.
But there's a problem folks, and it's big. I mean huge.
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
At that time, Tiffany was referencing new mining deregulations passed by the GOP-controlled state houses.
But that statement is about much more than just the mining industry. It has become an informal but important "advisory to the court" statement on all matters pertaining to Wisconsin's environment. That means all state courts and policy enforcers dealing with land, air and water quality issues are to stand down when challenged in the courts on the basis of adverse impacts.
Need more proof? Just look at the recent statements made by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel (R) on the DNR's powers to oversee the use of high capacity wells.
Wisconsin State Journal Excerpt:
State regulators can’t consider the cumulative effect that hundreds of high-capacity wells exert on lakes, streams and groundwater when deciding whether to approve new wells, under a formal opinion issued Tuesday by Attorney General Brad Schimel.
Let's make this clear. Just like Tiffany's "adverse impacts" advice to the courts wasn't meant for only mines, Schimel's wasn't only about high-capacity wells.
His statement now becomes blanket policy in the form of a warning to those "unelected bureaucrats" at the DNR. The advice is, cumulative effects (recorded from data) of any kind cannot be considered when making decisions on lakes, streams and groundwater. So, it's really not just about wells.
In effect, Schimel takes DNR powers and guidelines away from the state's public trust doctrine and places it firmly under the boot of legislators, and most of us are aware of Schimel's interpretation of representative government.
"Why can't a legislator press for legislation that benefits a person who has contributed to their campaign? Isn't that the essence of representative government?" - Brad Schimel, Republican candidate for attorney general
So my advice to the good people spending their time monitoring the Rock River and its tributaries is - forget about it.
Plus, under the culture of corruption that has swept the state beginning in 2011, you don't know for sure that the data you work to collect for the DNR won't be used for the benefit of the polluters financing legislators who passed all of these laws. It's the Schimel rule.
You might think Wisconsin citizens are sick and tired of all this ...but apparently we're not sick enough. We keep electing people who are not working for us. Volunteer to change that first.
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Democurmudgeon - AG Schimel says no one, not even the DNR, can stop the devastating overall effects of high capacity wells on public waters!