Saturday , 18 November 2017

February 22, 2017 E-News

TRUMP TO ROLL BACK OBAMA’S CLIMATE, WATER RULES THROUGH EXECUTIVE ACTION – President Trump is preparing executive orders aimed at curtailing Obama-era policies on climate and water pollution, according to individuals briefed on the measures. While both directives will take time to implement, they will send an unmistakable signal that the new administration is determined to promote fossil-fuel production and economic activity even when those activities collide with some environmental safeguards.  One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. A second order will instruct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to revamp a 2015 rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule that applies to 60 percent of the water bodies in the country. That regulation was issued under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which gives the federal government authority over not only major water bodies but also the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed into them.

MANURE-TO-ENERGY FACILITIES CONSIDERED IN KEWAUNEE – A proposal to deal with Kewaunee County’s groundwater issues is raising more questions than it answers, according to some of the people who attended an informational meeting about it Monday. About 140 people gathered Monday at the Kewaunee County Fair Expo Center to hear details about Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to spend $20 million for a project or projects that would generate energy from manure while reducing farm runoff. State officials who presented details of a request for proposals from companies to build and operate the manure-to-energy facilities, known as anaerobic digesters, said they were not able to answer many residents’ questions because it’s still too early in process.–energy-facilities-considered-kewaunee/98151396/

WAUKESHA CHECKS ROOT RIVER HEALTH BEFORE LAKE MICHIGAN WATER DIVERSION – University of Wisconsin-Parkside environmental science students and faculty last week dipped water out of an ice-free Root River to mark the start of a six-year checkup of the stream’s health that will be paid for by the City of Waukesha. Waukesha agreed to pay UW-Parkside up to $106,199 this year to provide regular testing of river water quality as part of the planning underway for the city’s switch to a Lake Michigan water supply in early 2023, Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said. At that time, the city will return water to the Great Lakes by discharging fully treated wastewater to the river, a lake tributary, at S. 60th St. The pre-discharge monitoring is not required by state regulators or the council of eight Great Lakes states that approved the diversion of lake water to Waukesha last June.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN LOBBIES AGAIN FOR HALF-PERCENT SALES TAX FOR ROADS – Northern Wisconsin leaders are lobbying lawmakers and state agencies to insert language into the budget bill allowing them to ask voters whether they would support a half-percent sales tax to pay for local road repairs. But Wisconsin’s transportation secretary says any new tax proposals will meet roadblocks from the administration. The state should allow the county to at least ask voters if they would approve the tax to fix roads, said Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert. “We need this ability on this half a percent sales tax because we’re not going to be able to bond our way out of this,” Liebaert said Tuesday during Superior Days at the state Capitol. “But, we bonded $5 million, and we plan on bonding for $26 million regardless of what happens with this half a percent sales tax.”

DISASTER AID VOLUNTEERS IN SHORT SUPPLY UP NORTH – Victims of a house fire look to firefighters to quell the blaze, but once the fire is out they still need help to get back on their feet. Disaster victims in northern Wisconsin may have to wait longer for help to arrive. Barbara Behling, spokeswoman with the American Red Cross of Wisconsin, said volunteers strive to be on the scene within three hours according to national standards. The Red Cross has always been able to find someone, Behling said, but volunteers in northern Wisconsin are few and far between. “For instance in Polk County, we have a team of two. They cover all the way from St. Croix Falls over to McKinley, which is probably getting about 70 miles there,” Behling said. “So that’s a lot of territory to cover.” Sue Ames-Lillie and her husband make up that two-person team in Polk County. She said they respond to calls for help when they can, but they’re not always available. “At that point, they have to send someone from another area,” Ames-Lillie said.

WISCONSIN COMPANIES MUST COPE WITH A SHRINKING WORKFORCE – Imagine if you looked up one day and a quarter of the employees at your company were suddenly gone. They weren’t laid off and the business was still in good shape financially, but one of every four workers was no longer on the staff. How would that change the way work gets done? How would you keep up with demand? How long would the business remain healthy? Businesses in almost every industry across Wisconsin are facing the possibility of losing large numbers of employees to retirement in the coming years and in many cases, the departures have already started. More than 23 percent of the state’s workforce is older than 55, a figure that’s more than doubled in the past 20 years and reaches as high as 30 percent in some sectors.

QUOTE– “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

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