Friday , 20 October 2017

May 31, 2017 E-News

PROPOSAL TO RAISE SEWER RATES FOR RESTAURANTS EVOLVES WITH NEW DISCOUNT TIER – Madison’s plan to raise sewer charges on restaurants and commercial kitchens — and give residents a small break — is evolving, with a new tier that offers a discount to businesses that work to clean up their wastewater. But the restaurant industry has concerns about the proposal’s costs to businesses and will oppose it in its current form, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association said. The goal, city officials said, is to bring fairness between residential and restaurant rate payers, to encourage composting and to lower the costs of treating wastewater.

HEAVY RAIN, FLOODING AFFECTING CAMPGROUNDS, DRINKING WATER IN WISCONSIN– Heavy rain in Wisconsin is having a bad effect on both private and public property, when it comes to keeping drinking water safe and roads passable. The Department of Natural Resources said storms that blew through the state last week caused flooding and runoff that could affect private wells, and some campgrounds and trails in state parks have been affected by the heavy rain, right ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. Well owners who saw flooding on their property, or changes in their water, should assume wells are contaminated and should stop drinking water from the well. The DNR said homeowners should disinfect wells, then have samples taken and analyzed of the well water afterward, to make sure it is safe to drink.

COUNTY ADOPTS CAFO ORDINANCE – The Douglas County Board adopted a new ordinance to regulate concentrated animal feeding operations with 1,000 or more animal units. The county is currently under a moratorium for development of the large-scale farming operations while board study committee develops regulations to manage the operations. The ordinance adopted Thursday night is modeled after one developed by Bayfield County. Dr. Ted Eastland, a retired physician living in Gordon, encouraged the board to adopt the ordinance. Eastland said he was there on behalf of the Eau Claire Lakes Association. He said about 94 percent, primary lake shore owners, in the association are concerned about the impact a CAFO would pose for public health, and water and air quality. “Beyond the threat of polluting water — groundwater and surface water — there are public health risks to our citizens of this county,” Eastland said. “These are serious, well-documented in medical, science literature.”

EPA REMAINS TOP TARGET WITH TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSING 31 PERCENT BUDGET CUT– Candidate Donald Trump vowed to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form,” leaving only “little tidbits” intact. President Trump is making good on his promise to take a sledgehammer to the agency.  Under the White House’s latest budget proposal, released Tuesday, the EPA would fare worse than any other federal agency. The proposal would reduce the agency’s current funding by more than 31 percent, to $5.65 billion. The plan would eliminate several major regional programs, including ones aimed at restoring the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, as well as EPA’s lead risk-reduction program. The White House also proposes nearly halving categorical grants, which support state and local efforts to address everything from pesticide exposure to air and water quality, to $597 million.

ONEIDA COUNTY SUPERVISOR URGES BOARD TO DEFY STATE LAW TO PROTECT LAKES, RIVERS– It’s the latest argument over shoreland zoning rules in Wisconsin. In 2015, a new law limited counties’ ability to make their own shoreland zoning rules regarding issues such as lot size, vegetation, and setback of buildings. Instead, counties needed to follow a zoning law that is less restrictive to property owners. The law applies to the entire state. People such as Oneida County Board Supervisor Bob Mott believe the law will lead to a decline in the quality of Oneida County lakes. “Forget about what the state says,” Mott said. “What’s best for Oneida County?” Mott feels that ignoring state law is best for Oneida County. “You do what’s right for the citizens of Oneida County. You do what’s right for the lakes of Oneida County,” Mott said. “You take a stand.” Mott wants the county to pass stronger shoreland zoning rules, even if they conflict with state law.

QUOTE– “Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing.”- Tony Blair

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David Lawrence
WRWA Executive Director
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