Saturday , 25 February 2017

June 15, 2016 E-News

MICHIGAN LEGISLATORS URGE REJECTION OF WAUKESHA’S WATER APPLICATION – Democratic and Republican legislators from Michigan have unified behind a common sentiment: They want the Great Lakes states governors to reject Waukesha’s water diversion application. In a letter addressed to all eight Great Lakes governors, 11 Michigan congressional representatives urged governors to vote down Waukesha’s proposal to pump up to 8.2 million gallons of Lake Michigan water into the city by 2050. “We do not believe the city of Waukesha has made a compelling case that satisfies the severe circumstances outlined in the (Great Lakes) Compact,” the letter said. “We firmly believe the approval of this request would threaten the precious, finite resources provided by our lakes.” Waukesha is asking for Lake Michigan water under a “straddling county” exception of the compact, a federal law that details how the Great Lakes states should work together to manage and protect the Great Lakes Basin.

NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD WANTS ANSWERS ON ‘SURPRISING’ DNR AUDIT – Members of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ policy-making board were surprised and disappointed by an audit that cited serious shortcomings in state enforcement of water pollution laws, chairman Terry Hilgenberg said Tuesday in his first public comments on the study. Hilgenberg said he has asked DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to respond at the next Natural Resources Board meeting. “We want to have a dialog with the secretary to say, ‘What are we going to do about all this stuff to make sure it’s not going to happen in the future?’” Hilgenberg said. Hilgenberg said the board understands the DNR must balance many competing demands while working with limited staff, but all possible efforts must be made to protect the state’s water supply and other natural resources.

DNR PLAN FOR WELLS A MAJOR VICTORY FOR BUSINESS – In a major victory for business and large-scale agriculture, the state Department of Natural Resources said Friday it will no longer take into account the cumulative effects of high-capacity wells on streams, rivers and lakes when reviewing applications for new wells. The policy change comes one month after Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, issued a legal opinion that said the DNR lacked authority to put certain conditions on farmers and others who want to construct large wells — even if the wells could harm state waters. Business interests have pressed for years on legal and legislative fronts for less regulation of high-capacity wells, and noted the DNR is simply returning to existing law after a 2011 state Supreme Court decision prompted the agency to scrutinize well applications more closely.

REP. KRUG PROMISES TO RE-INTRODUCE HIGH-CAPACITY WELL BILL – A central Wisconsin lawmaker who has been pushing for more regulations on where and when high-capacity wells can be drilled says he intends to sponsor legislation once again before this fall’s general election. Rep. Scott Krug, who’s been critical of the state’s current well permitting process, unsuccessfully proposed a bill last year that would require the Department of Natural Resources to create procedures for determining minimum rate flows of streams and lake water levels necessary to avoid harm to local aquifers. The Nekoosa Republican was responding to the DNR’s decision last week to change its high-capacity well application procedures to match the May 10 legal opinion issued by Attorney General Brad Schimel, who concluded that the DNR does not have the legal right to regulate such wells based on how they could potentially effect nearby bodies of water. “[This] decision confirms that it is long past time to take the next step in groundwater withdrawal and protection legislation,” Krug said. “This legislation should not only address quantity and quality issues but must also focus the DNR’s authority to meet their statutory requirements in groundwater monitoring and enforcement.”

NEW QUESTIONS RAISED ON HOW WISCONSIN WILL PROTECT LAKES, DRINKING WATER – After years of complaints about tainted drinking water and weed-choked waterways, proposals for tighter state restrictions on industrial-scale dairy operations are in the works, the Department of Natural Resources disclosed in a letter appended to a 124-page audit report that was released earlier this month. But clean-water advocates weren’t celebrating. Last week they were still digesting the audit findings, which raised new doubts about Wisconsin’s ability to enforce laws protecting its drinking water, lakes and streams from the manure the dairy industry generates. One leading lawmaker is worried that without adequate law enforcement, the state could slide back toward the polluted conditions that existed before enactment of the federal Clean Water Act in 1972, and he’s not sure the Legislature is prepared to make needed changes.

DERAILED OIL TRAIN TAKES OUT WASTEWATER SYSTEM IN OREGON – An oil train derailed in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge on Friday, raising concerns about nearby water service and knocking the wastewater system completely out of function in the town of Mosier. Mosier lost access to its sewer system and wastewater treatment plant as a result of the incident, which saw 16 of the train’s 96 tank cars go off the rails, according to the Associated Press. A fire in several cars was extinguished on Saturday. “The town’s sewer system remains shut off. And the aquifers are dry, leaving the city’s 430 residents without water reserves on a day projected to hit record high temperatures,” The Oregonian reported. Crews drained the aquifers to cool the trains. Residents were warned not to flush their toilets after the crash. It remains unclear how long it will take to fix the sewer system.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE OFFERS ROADMAP TO RESILIENCE TRAINING – FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) developed a new training course entitled, Building a Roadmap to Resilience: A Whole Community Training. This course is designed to inspire and provide participants with information intended to increase a community’s resilience through the whole community approach to emergency management. On July 25-27, 2016, ICPD and the Emergency Management Institute will host the first delivery of this course at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. If you know of individuals who may be interested in attending this offering, please direct them to their State Training Officer (or point of contact) to submit a FEMA Form 119-25-1, General Admissions Application. The deadline to register is June 20, 2016.

WRWA’S SIMPLE LOAN PROGRAM PROVIDES FUNDING FOR ALMOST ANY MUNICIPAL USE – Need some help with financing your project?  WRWA’s SIMPLE Loans are designed to be a quick, easy and low-cost alternative to conventional bond sales.  To request a free quote from WRWA’s Simple Loans Program contact David at or 612-920-3320. David Drown Associates, Inc. provides professional assistance for all loan requests.  Want to talk through options, need a preliminary schedule, or just have a quick finance question?  Give us a call or e-mail.

QUOTE – “A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” – Earl Wilson

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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