Sunday , 19 November 2017

August 30, 2017 E-News

SEPTEMBER IS EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS MONTH IN WISCONSIN– Wisconsin has been hit hard by flooding and tornadoes in 2017. That’s why Gov. Scott Walker has designated September as Preparedness Month to encourage people across the state to take time now to prepare before disaster strikes. “Developing a family emergency plan is important,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Homeland Security advisor. “Everyone should have a plan that includes information on where to go during an emergency and how to communicate with loved ones if separated in a crisis.” Developing an emergency communications plan is just one step to get ready for emergencies. Each week this September, ReadyWisconsin will highlight easy and inexpensive ways for you and your family to prepare for emergency situations. You can visit for more information.

SECRETARY CATHY STEPP LEAVING DNR, GOING TO EPA– Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp is leaving her job to become deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7. Stepp, appointed DNR secretary six years ago, will hand the reins of the department over to DNR Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede on Aug. 31, Thiede was appointed to the interim secretary position by Gov. Scott Walker. Walker issued a statement on Tuesday commending Stepp for her work. “Cathy is a strong, trusted reformer, who will serve the country well at the EPA,” Walker said. “As DNR secretary, she led an outstanding work force committed to preserving and promoting our natural resources, while placing a strong focus on customer service and common sense. We will miss her optimism and energy at the DNR, and we wish her success in her new role.” EPA Region 7 is in the heart of America’s breadbasket, encompassing the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, as well as nine tribal nations.

LAWMAKERS PROPOSE MORE LIMITS TO STATE AGENCIES’ REGULATORY POWER– Republican state lawmakers are making another move to give themselves more power over state agencies. Under a new proposal at the state Capitol, state agencies’ administrative rules would expire every seven years, and lawmakers would have more power to block their renewal. Right now, administrative rules don’t have expiration dates. Under the new plan, rules would go up for review one year before their expiration date. If no lawmaker objects, they would be renewed automatically. If a lawmaker objects, the rule — and others related to it — could be blocked. Environmental groups oppose the bill, arguing it could have unintended consequences. Supporters of the proposal say it will cut down on unnecessary and burdensome regulations in the state.

MILWAUKEE SEWERAGE DISTRICT IMPOSES $151,000 PENALTY ON TREATMENT PLANT OPERATOR– The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is penalizing the private operator of its regional sewage treatment plants more than $4,700 a day for failing to comply with contract limits on wastewater discharges from the South Shore plant in Oak Creek, district officials said. Veolia Water Milwaukee LLC has been unable to control the growth of nuisance bacteria in large, open basins used in the treatment process at South Shore since June, records show. As a result, excessive numbers of the unwanted microbes — known as filamentous bacteria — have disrupted treatment and cut treatment capacity there since July 12. Wastewater discharges from the plant in July exceeded contract limits for fecal bacteria, ammonia and two other pollutants, Veolia Water Milwaukee General Manager Scott Royer said. Amounts of those pollutants in plant discharges, however, were well below state permit limits set to protect Lake Michigan water quality, according to district officials.

DNR WAITING ON REPORT TO DETERMINE SEVERITY OF NORTHEASTERN MANURE SPILL– The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is waiting for a report to find out the severity of a manure spill earlier this month in northeastern Wisconsin. Hochkammer Dairy, 6 miles south of Manitowoc, was deemed responsible for the August 7 spill. The DNR and Manitowoc County have investigated the spill, but haven’t said how much manure went into Pine Creek, which feeds into Lake Michigan, because they’re waiting for a completed report. DNR spokesman Ed Culhane said the farm has until Sept. 20 to complete a report, “that will detail exactly how the release occurred, how it happened, how much manure was released, what actions were taken to stop the leak or that spill, and what actions were taken to clean up.” Culhane said Hochkammer paid a contractor to pump out manure and to construct berms to keep the flow from getting into Lake Michigan. He said testing done by Manitowoc County so far indicates no contamination has entered the lake.

FOUR BEACHES CLOSED IN MADISON DUE TO BLUE-GREEN ALGAE– Swimming is not recommended Monday at four Madison public beaches, because of the presence of blue-green algae. Public Health Madison and Dane County said the beaches include BB Clarke on Lake Monona off of Spaight Street; Olbrich Beach on Lake Monona off of Atwood Avenue; Warner Beach in Warner Park on Lake Mendota; and the Hudson Park lake access point on Lake Monona off of Lakeside Street. Health officials said the beaches will reopen when the algae levels are lower. Bacteria levels have been checked at the approximately 20 public beaches in the county, and no beaches have been closed because of high bacteria levels. “If you see algae blooms or the water is murky, avoid contact,” health officials said. Heavy rain can elevate bacteria levels in lake water, so swimming is not advisable after a heavy rainfall.

EPA TO HOST HEARINGS ON WOTUS REWRITE– The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning 10 public hearings to gather input on its effort to write a new version of WOTUS, the “waters of the United States” regulation, The Hill reports. The teleconference meetings will run throughout the fall, the EPA said in a Federal Register notice released today. The meetings are designed to gather information before the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers writes new regulations defining “waters of the United States,” which would limit federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. In July, the agencies formally proposed a repeal of the Obama administration rule, citing the vague a broad terms used in the act. Of the teleconference sessions, nine will focus on specific interests and one will be open to the general public.

QUOTE– “It is far better to be alone, than to be in bad company.”- George Washington

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