Monday , 26 June 2017

June 7, 2017 E-News

SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN FIGHTS BUDGET CUTS TO RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN WISCONSIN – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin sent a letter to President Trump expressing strong objections to proposed budget cuts to investments in rural Wisconsin.  Last week, President Trump issued a budget proposal calling for drastic cuts that would undermine the important rural development mission at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These damaging cuts come on the heels of recently announced plans to eliminate the USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, an important advocate for small towns and rural communities across the country. In Wisconsin, USDA Rural Development invested $556,267,665 in over 8,500 projects in 2016. This includes $28.9 million invested in Wisconsin rural businesses to retain local jobs, increase production, spur new business growth and more. It also includes $18.4 million of investments in rural community facilities like police and fire stations and $152.4 million invested in 27 infrastructure projects like clean drinking water system upgrades. https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/trump-budget-cuts-to-rural-development

SHINING A LIGHT ON CONSERVATION SUCCESS– Conservation efforts in Wisconsin depend on county land conservation departments and landowners working with DATCP, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Often private non-profit environmental groups are also part of the cooperative effort. A farmer pulling marginal lands out of production and into conservation permanently, producers taking the lead on water quality protection, a county that creates tiny little rainstorms to show what they can do to soil –you can find all that in the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Annual Report for 2016. Land and water conservation staff in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection presented the report today to the Land and Water Conservation Board at the group’s regular meeting in Madison. It is available online at https://datcp.wi.gov under the Publications menu.

MILWAUKEE’S LEAD PROBLEM IS COMPLEX AND COULD COST BILLIONS TO FIX – Milwaukee has a lead problem, but it’s complicated. In the last year, children under age six in the city had higher lead poisoning levels than in Flint, Michigan, where a years-long water contamination crisis beginning in 2014 gained international attention. In some Milwaukee neighborhoods, as many as 33 percent of children tested had high lead levels, according to reporting from Reuters.  Children can be poisoned a number of ways, such as ingesting lead paint chips in older homes. But part of the problem lies in the lead service lines connecting city water mains to private homes and buildings. Milwaukee alone has 70,000 residential lead service lines, 40 percent of the entire state’s. And though the city treats the water with an anti-corrosive material, lead can still leech into the drinking water. https://www.wpr.org/milwaukees-lead-problem-complex-and-could-cost-billions-fix

WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS REJECTION OF FRACKING PERMIT – A divided state Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a decision denying a permit for an Iowa-based company to open a new hydraulic fracturing sand mine in western Wisconsin. AllEnergy Corporation and AllEnergy Silica wanted to open a 265-acre mine as part of a 550-acre project that includes a processing site in the town of Arcadia. But its application was rejected by a Trempealeau County environmental and land use committee in 2013. The committee cited environmental and health concerns, adverse effects on the landscape and wildlife that could affect tourism and local residents and said the company’s application was rushed and incomplete. AllEnergy argued on appeal that its permit application was complete and met requirements set out by the committee necessary for approval. The company said the county committee didn’t have the authority to judge its completeness. Both a circuit court and a state appeals court also sided with Trempealeau County, saying the committee had the right to reject the permit. The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed in a 4-3 decision. http://www.beloitdailynews.com/article/20170531/AP/305319930

GOV. SCOTT WALKER SIGNS BILL TO LOOSEN WISCONSIN WELL RULES– Gov. Scott Walker privately signed controversial legislation Thursday to let farms and businesses keep their existing large-scale wells without added oversight from Wisconsin regulators. The GOP governor’s approval of the high-volume well measure marks a win for those seeking to maintain and expand irrigation for agriculture, especially vegetable and dairy farms in central Wisconsin. The practice has become more controversial as lakes and streams in that region have lost substantial volumes over the last decade. The proposal’s prominent sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), has called the legislation a “pro-farm” measure, noting that Wisconsin produces some of the largest amounts of vegetables like green beans in the nation. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/01/gov-scott-walker-sign-bill-loosen-wisconsin-well-rules/361499001/

ARMY CORPS AWARDS EXTRA $50M TO GREAT LAKES – The Great Lakes will see more money to address navigation and dredging projects this year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved an extra $51.8 million for regional projects. All in all, Great Lakes infrastructure will receive $154.5 million for maintenance and operations this year, said Marie Strum, chief of engineering and technical services with the Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “That’s really a phenomenal funding level for the Great Lakes,” Strum said. “We’ll be dredging 31 navigation projects, working on a number of structural repair projects and get a good amount of investment at the Soo Locks. It’s a very high level of funding for the lakes.” Strum said the Great Lakes compete for funding with projects nationwide. But, she noted aging infrastructure is placing a high priority on Great Lakes projects. http://www.wpr.org/army-corps-awards-extra-50m-great-lakes

WRWA/PSC REGIONAL UTILITY MANAGEMENT TRAINING SEMINARS

This long running collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Rural Water Association and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to assist communities in staying in compliance with state utility regulations starts next week with the first 2017 session on Wednesday, June 14th at the WRWA Technology Center in Plover, WI. The session will cover a variety of topics related to utility management, customer relations, construction authorization, lead service line replacement and funding sources. For information on these sessions and to register, go to http://www.wrwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/REGIONAL-UTILITY-MANAGEMENT.pdf

QUOTE– “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”- Abraham Lincoln

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

 

“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
dlawrence@wrwa.org
www.wrwa.org

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