Republicans have been trying for years to open our state and federal park lands to energy and mineral plundering, saying they could do these things in an environmentally safe way.
Don't believe them for a second, if their management of agricultural land is any indicator. Scott Walker and his now hollowed out DNR are making it clear they will make no regulatory effort to keep our rivers and great lakes clear of phosphorus and algae blooms of dead water. In fact, they reversed previous efforts:
jsonline: New regulations will not be coming from state regulators, said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. Lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker's administration have shown no interest in increased regulation of dairy farms … Wisconsin became one of the first states to approve phosphorus reduction limits, using specific numeric standards. However, the Legislature in 2014 rolled back a full phase-in of those rules by up to 20 years because of concerns about the cost of the regulations.
See, who needs that when we have a massive phosphorus dead zone in beautiful Green Bay:
Walker, DNR have no plan to stem Green Bay pollution: The tide of nutrients from the Fox River and other tributaries will help create the latest, and most likely, longest-lasting dead zone in Lake Michigan's Green Bay this summer. The problem is caused by vast amounts of phosphorus and other nutrients that wash from farms and urban landscapes and produce conditions that create oxygen-deprived stretches on the bay. In 2014, areas of the bay where virtually nothing lives lasted 43 days. By comparison, in 1990 the dead zone was gone in four days, according to figures from the city's wastewater utility.
Regulation? We don't need regulation when we could just let people voluntarily figure out what to do:
WPR: Rep. Reid Ribble, R-DePere, said he'd like to avoid federal mandates to crack down on phosphorus runoff from agriculture and other sources. "We're going to take these steps voluntarily so there doesn't have to be a regulation that comes in," said Ribble.
I always watch public televisions "Market to Market" farm program on weekends, and remember reports about Ag states that are proactive in their efforts to greatly reduce phosphorus. They use "cover crops" that prevent soil from washing away. But in Wisconsin...
One technique not widely used is to plant a cover crop between rows of corn and soybeans to hold soil in place.
Like congress, don't hold your breath waiting for Republicans to get anything done of real value.
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Green Bay) convened a "phosphorus summit" … "This is step one of a multiyear process."
Sure it is, take your time, don't rush into this like voter ID, concealed carry, religious freedom laws and unpaid for tax cuts that leave projected deficits. What's a little algae bloom here and there.
Stepp was buttonholed by at least two attendees who told her the state isn't doing enough ... regulators don't consider pollution costs borne by the public when evaluating farm expansions or how much waste farms send to watersheds ... the agency fails to consider the cumulative effects of manure from many farms when it reviews a wastewater permit for Wisconsin's largest farms, known as concentrated animal feeding operations.
And under the watchful eye of the DNR:
Only the largest farms are required to get such permits, and the DNR has never rejected one.
Research be damned...
Kewaunee County had seen its cattle population jump 34% between 1983 and 2012, according to state figures. In Brown County, cow numbers have increased 20% for the period. "There's just too many cows in Brown County, I'm afraid," said Val Klump, director of the Great Lakes WATER Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Klump's research includes study of Green Bay's dead zone.
The Fox River watershed is a source of one-third of all nutrients into Lake Michigan, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
I thought this comment summed it all up pretty well:
A Nihilist: Good thing republicans are in control. They understand that the environment is the enemy and if you stop killing the lake, you stop profits and therefore hate freedom.What makes living in a trash heap an expression of freedom and liberty?