Saturday , 25 February 2017

June 22, 2016 E-News

GREAT LAKES GOVERNORS APPROVE WAUKESHA WATER REQUEST – Delegates of the governors of the eight Great Lakes states on Tuesday unanimously approved the City of Waukesha’s request for a Lake Michigan water supply. On a historic 8-0 vote, Waukesha won the water prize it sought for 13 years. More than a dozen city officials attended the meeting of the states at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Absent any legal challenges, the city will become the first U.S. community located entirely outside the Great Lakes drainage basin to receive a diversion of lake water under the Great Lakes Compact. State delegates focused their discussion Tuesday on a few last-minute amendments to a 12-page draft decision document. The document summarizes views of regional officials on the merits of Waukesha’s plan and the conditions needed for it to comply with a 2008 federal law known as the Great Lakes Compact.

WAUKESHA’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY APPLAUDS WATER RULING – Tuesday’s vote by Great Lakes states to allow Lake Michigan water to flow to Waukesha is about more than having a safe drinking water supply for Wisconsin’s seventh-largest city. Among other things, the decision means businesses seeking to attract new talent won’t have to face questions about radium-contaminated water every time a prospective employee puts the word “Waukesha” into an online search engine.  “Today’s decision is incredibly important to the business community,” Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha County Business Alliance, said of Tuesday’s vote. “Undoubtedly there were businesses out there that were watching the water situation very closely.” Whether companies are seeking to attract or retain talented employees or choose sites for expansion, the vote puts Waukesha and the region on a level playing field when it comes to water, Kelley said.

TASK FORCE CALLS FOR LIMITS ON MANURE SPREADING – In Kewaunee County, where controversy has long raged over large-scale dairy farms and pollution, a first-ever task force of citizens, farmers and public officials called for limits on manure spreading and stronger oversight from the Department of Natural Resources. The recommendations made Tuesday will be closely watched because the group focused on activities in northeastern Wisconsin, where thin soils, geologic conditions and the practices of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOS, and their potential to pollute streams, lakes and groundwater have long been under scrutiny. The work of the Groundwater Collaboration Task Force also could be used elsewhere in the state with manure conflicts, according to a report accompanying the recommendations.–383873181.html

WALKER CONSIDERING ADDING STAFF TO DNR AFTER NEGATIVE AUDIT – Gov. Scott Walker said his administration will do what it takes to make sure farms are properly vetted by the Department of Natural Resources after an audit found staff weren’t reviewing records for industrial dairy farms.  DNR staff didn’t have time to do all of the mandated reviews of records on the handling of millions of gallons of manure from concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs, according to a recent audit of the DNR. After speaking to a crowd at a Dunn County dairy farm with 2,000 cows, Walker said his office is considering a number of fixes from increased DNR staffing to enlisting other state agencies, like the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, to review records. “It’s not only good for environmental standards, but we also want to make sure we’re not only keeping things clean and fresh and abiding by the rules and laws there, but also that they’re done in a timely fashion,” Walker said.

ENBRIDGE GETTING CLEANUP EQUIPMENT JUST IN CASE OF OIL SPILL – A Canadian company that owns twin oil pipelines in the area where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge said Monday it will spend $7 million over the next two years on additional equipment that could be deployed quickly in the event of a spill, while insisting prospects are remote that it ever will be needed there. Enbridge Energy, based in Calgary, Alberta, said its purchases would include skimming and containment devices that would help crews recover oil quickly in open water and even during icy conditions in the Straits of Mackinac, a nearly 5-mile-wide waterway that separates Michigan’s two peninsulas. “In the very unlikely event that we have to respond to a pipeline incident, we’re ready,” said Stephen Lloyd, a senior manager of emergency response with the company.–Mackinac%20Pipelines/id-612bd5d5d0424f72be91c3a0216d9741

$18 MILLION AWARDED TO LOCAL UNITS OF GOVERNMENT TO ASSIST WITH RECYCLING PROGRAM OPERATIONS – Nearly $18 million in Basic Recycling Grants have been awarded to 1,024 local governments to offset some costs associated with local recycling program operations during calendar year 2016. A statutory formula determines each grant award amount. Additionally, 193 of these local governments also qualified for 2016 Recycling Consolidation Grants calculated at 26 cents per person. Basic Recycling Grant awards are made to cities, towns, villages, counties, tribes or solid waste management organizations, for residential recycling and yard waste program costs that are necessary for planning and operating an effective recycling program. Recycling Consolidation Grants provide supplemental assistance to local governments that meet additional criteria.

EPA ANNOUNCES $3.75 MILLION GRANT TO SUPPORT LOCAL PROJECTS TO PROTECT HEALTHY WATERSHEDSEPA is awarding a grant of $3.75 million over six years to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. to support partner organizations and their local actions to improve and accelerate their efforts to protect healthy freshwater ecosystems and watersheds across the country. The Endowment will award funding to projects that develop and/or support state, interstate and tribal healthy watersheds programs. It’s expected that the Endowment will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) in late 2015. In addition to providing funding for projects, the Endowment will use this program to enhance collaboration among the many groups who benefit from protecting healthy watersheds such as drinking water utilities, hunters and fisherman, foresters and farmers, and others. The Endowment is also matching a portion of EPA’s financial commitment to the partnership and expects to leverage additional funding from other public and private sources.

QUOTE – “Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” –  Kin Hubbard

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
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