Saturday , 18 November 2017

June 28, 2017 E-News

EPA, U.S. ARMY MOVE TO RESCIND 2015 “WATERS OF THE U.S.” – The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Army, and Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) are proposing a rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining “waters of the United States” or WOTUS. This action would, when finalized, provide certainty in the interim, pending a second rulemaking in which the agencies will engage in a substantive re-evaluation of the definition of “waters of the United States.” The proposed rule would be implemented in accordance with Supreme Court decisions, agency guidance, and longstanding practice. “We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” said Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

ALL HANDS ARE ON DECK THIS FOURTH-OF-JULY WEEKEND TO STOP AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES IN WISCONSIN– Thousands of Wisconsinites will take to the water this fourth-of-July weekend for the state’s busiest boating holiday, and many will be greeted at boat landings by volunteers sharing a simple but powerful message: You have the power to protect lakes and rivers from aquatic invasive species. The weekend will be host to the ninth annual Landing Blitz, a statewide effort to remind boaters and other water lovers to take action to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, which pose great risks to the health of our lakes and fisheries. Volunteer inspectors will be on hand at landings around the state from June 30 through July 4 to give demonstrations of the prevention steps or answer questions about invasive species. Their efforts will build on the success of last year’s campaign, when volunteers inspected over 14,000 boats and spoke with over 32,000 people.

LAKE MICHIGAN WATER LEVELS APPROACH HIGHEST IN DECADES– Anyone living around the Bay of Green Bay or Lake Michigan knows how the water levels have changed over time. In 2013, the Lake’s water levels were the lowest on record.  Now this year, the water is already up to six inches higher than compared to 2016. As it currently sits, Lake Michigan is well over a foot (up to 15″) higher than what’s considered normal. The reason why the water levels are so high is because of snow build up in winter, and the wet weather in spring, as rain and runoff from rivers and streams continue to pour into the Great Lakes. “We’re very fortunate here in Manitowoc that we have floating docks and that means the docks go up and down according to the water levels,” said President of Manitowoc Marina, Rich Larsen. He says they have not had problems with the rising water so far, in fact, it’s been better for their boats. High water in the Great Lakes is known to cause shoreline erosion, property damage, and take away beaches.

LEAGUE OF WISCONSIN MUNICIPALITIES AND WEA TRUST CREATE CUSTOM HEALTH PLAN– The League of Wisconsin Municipalities and WEA Trust recently partnered to create the League Health Plan. The plan is specially designed to help cities and villages in Wisconsin afford high quality, flexible benefits amid growing federal health plan restrictions. “I believe this plan will help remove a big headache for some League members,” said Jerry Deschane, the League’s Executive Director. “As health plans have become more complex with additional regulations in recent years, WEA Trust has helped tailor-make a plan for the League to simplify the process.” The League Health Plan, powered by WEA Trust, is a jointly self-funded plan specifically designed for municipalities. Fully insured small groups face additional restrictions and limitations through the Affordable Care Act. The League Health Plan is a self-funded alternative option that offers flexible benefit design and competitive pricing.

HIGH-CAPACITY WELLS DRAW CONCERN– High-capacity wells have been contested and debated in recent years but drifted to the surface this June when Governor Scott Walker signed a bill easing restrictions on wells needing to be replaced or sold. The Wisconsin State Journal reported wells no longer require environmental reviews from regulators in these cases. The wells serve numerous purposes across the state, ranging from irrigation for farm fields to drinking water for communities. Opponents have expressed concern about the location, abundance and effects of these wells, while others say they serve a critical role in meeting the state’s needs.

VINEHOUT MAKES SECOND RUN AT FRAC MINE REGULATIONS– State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout has again introduced a package of bills intended to give state and local officials more control over the frac sand mining industry. The Alma Democrat said each of the six bills is in response to problems encountered by constituents in the last decade as industrial sand mines sprung up across western Wisconsin. Despite a recent industry slump, Vinehout said she anticipates another boom cycle could be approaching. “It looks like things are going to be heating up,” she said. One of the bills would require mines and processing facilities to monitor the surrounding air for fine particles and report the results to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which would also be required to set standards for small crystalline silica particles. The DNR would also be authorized to create eight full-time positions to monitor industrial sand mining and processing. Vinehout said the agency already collects fees from license holders to pay for monitoring.

DNR ENVIRONMENTAL LOANS REMINDER– Just a final reminder that the deadline for SFY 2018 Safe Drinking Water Loan Program funding is Friday, June 30th.  A COMPLETE application must be submitted by this date.  Page 1 of the application has a list of all required information that must be submitted for your application to be considered complete!  Item 3 is optional; items 4 and 11 may be submitted at a later date if not already executed. If you have questions, please contact Nicole Mathews, the SDWLP program coordinator, at (608) 266-0849 or

QUOTE– “Some people cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”- Oscar Wilde

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
(715) 344-7778

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