Tuesday , 21 February 2017

February 10, 2016 E-News

REGIONAL REVIEW PROCESS CONTINUES FOR CITY OF WAUKESHA DIVERSION APPLICATION – As part of the regional review process for the city of Waukesha’s Great Lakes diversion application, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Water Resources Regional Body and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Council will hold meetings and a public hearing on Feb. 17 and 18, 2016 at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis. A schedule of events open to the public is available online at www.waukeshadiversion.org. General information on the city of Waukesha’s diversion application, the DNR’s technical review and preliminary final environmental impact statement and all documents submitted for regional review can be found at dnr.wi.gov, search “Waukesha diversion application.”

PRIVATE WATER UTILITY COSTS CONSUMERS IN SUPERIORA glass of water in Superior, a city that stands on the shore of the largest freshwater supply in the world, costs more than almost anywhere else in the state. One reason for the high cost is that the city’s drinking water system is owned by a private corporation, the only one of Wisconsin’s roughly 80 major municipal drinking water systems that isn’t publicly owned. In setting water rates for Superior, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) awarded the water system owner, Allete Inc. of Duluth, Minnesota, a return on investment of more than 9 percent, the highest in Wisconsin. The author of a bill to make it easier for out-of-state corporations to buy Wisconsin drinking water systems — and harder for citizens to block them — says there is no need to worry that a private owner would jack up water bills, because the PSC sets prices. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/in-superior-cost-of-a-glass-of-water-nearly-the/article_2a787437-c52c-5227-b10a-55207e391874.html

99 UNFUNDED MANDATES, LOCAL CONTROL RESTRICTIONS PASSED SINCE 2011 – Since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011, Republicans have passed nearly 100 unfunded mandates or measures that restrict the authority of local governments, according to a new memo. Over the last three legislative sessions, lawmakers have enacted 99 provisions that represent unfunded mandates or restrict the decision-making power of local governments, according to a Feb. 4 memo released by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau at the request of Assistant Assembly Minority Leader Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point.  Also on the Assembly and Senate calendar in January and February are 21 additional proposals that would restrict local control or impose unfunded mandates, the memo said. http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/memo-unfunded-mandates-local-control-restrictions-passed-since/article_2fd6381e-20df-584e-8baa-5418965b2721.html

WALGREENS TO INSTALL MEDICATION DROP BOXES IN STORES IN 39 STATES INCLUDING WISCONSIN – On February 9th, Walgreens announced the launch of a comprehensive new effort to combat drug abuse, introducing two programs that address key contributors to the crises. In the first ongoing national effort of its kind by a retailer, Walgreens will install safe medication disposal kiosks in more than 500 drugstores in 39 states and Washington, D.C., primarily at locations open 24 hours.  Walgreens will also make naloxone, a lifesaving opioid antidote, available without a prescription at its pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, D.C., rolling out the program state-by-state throughout this year. http://news.walgreens.com/press-releases/general-news/walgreens-leads-fight-against-prescription-drug-abuse-with-new-programs-to-help-curb-misuse-of-medications-and-the-rise-in-overdose-deaths.htm

ASSEMBLY ASKS AG ABOUT HIGH-CAPACITY WELLS – Assembly Republicans asked Wisconsin’s attorney general Tuesday for an opinion on the extent of state environmental officials’ authority to regulate high-capacity water wells, a move that could resolve the debate without legislation as lawmakers rush to end their two-year session. The Assembly Organization Committee voted 5-3 to ask Republican Brad Schimel for his thoughts on whether a 2011 state law prohibits the DNR from imposing any conditions on well permits not expressly laid out in statute. The request, authored by Speaker Robin Vos, asserts that the DNR is imposing so many conditions on well permits that the agency has created a “substantial” backlog in permit requests and the issuance of new permits has come to a standstill. http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/story/news/2016/02/02/assembly-asks-ag-high-capacity-wells/79724690/

GREAT LAKES STATES NEED $80B FOR WATER, SEWER FIXES – Federal regulators say nearly $80 billion is needed over the next 20 years to reduce sewage overflows and protect drinking water in the Great Lakes region. An organization that lobbies for increased Great Lakes funding says that number comes from a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the nation’s water infrastructure. Pollution from sewer overflows and stormwater runoff is one cause of beach closures and destruction of fish and wildlife habitat. The federal government provides low-interest loans to help communities upgrade sewer and water systems. About $500 million is available to the eight Great Lakes states this year. But the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition says that’s not enough. It says at current funding levels, it would take 160 years to meet the needs of communities in the region. http://hosted2.ap.org/WIEAU/d2ccb6c55bb549b287e32bed845fd969/Article_2016-02-05-MI–Great%20Lakes-Sewer%20Funding/id-f47f3ba59d1f4cf5be8bd17616fc3925

MUNICIPAL FLOOD CONTROL GRANT APPLICATION DEADLINEIf you are considering applying for the next round of Municipal Flood Control (MFC) grants from the WI Department of Natural Resources, the application deadline is March 15th. This grant program prioritizes purchasing property and removal of structures out of the way of flood water, allowing water to infiltrate and flow across that land and providing public access to these open public lands forever. You can find all the detailed information needed to apply on this web page: http://dnr.wi.gov/Aid/MunFloodControl.html

WRWA’s 2016 EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSE SEMINAR – Still time to register to attend WRWA’s Annual Emergency Preparedness and Response Seminar. This annual event brings in experts from WEM, DNR, EPA, County Emergency Management, power companies and water & wastewater industries to discuss ways to prepare for and respond to disaster situations. This year’s agenda includes case histories on community response, electrical power safety, emergency disinfection and distribution system hydraulics during large fires. The seminar is being held in Plover on February 17th, to register go to- http://www.wrwa.org/training-calendar/2016-02-17/

QUOTE – “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” George Bernard Shaw

“This week’s issue of the Rural Water E-News is sponsored by the following WRWA Corporate Gold Members and Businesses:”

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“For information on WRWA Corporate Gold member benefits and other advertising opportunities, contact Renee at rkoback@wrwa.org.”

David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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