Um, Democratic Party of Wisconsin…hello in there? Anyone?
There are so many issues to take aim at, it’s almost breathtaking. From Scott Walker’s disinterest in prisons to veteran’s care to transportation to WEDC to hurting rural schools to gun violence…yet Democrats have done nothing to cut through Walker’s mind bending positive spin cycle. Even Walker’s low unemployment numbers have more to do with the national economy than anything he’s done.
This is all basic pocketbook stuff that will eventually cost everyone more money.
The buck stops with Walker on every one of the issues above. Walker is part of the freeloader class of career Republicans who strongly believe they can cut spending and taxes for themselves because roads, clean water and schools were already in there for the plundering. I think the comment below summed it up quite nicely:
Bill Davis, the head of the Wisconsin Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter, said "We put a lot of investment in the '70s, and '80s, early '90s into infrastructure and then, I think, kind of had this sigh of relief. It's like, 'Ah, we're done, we don't have to pay attention to it anymore.' And that's just not the way it works," Davis said. "All systems need to be maintained and they also need to be updated based on growth of population and land use."
And just like the transportation system that keeps getting more and more expensive to fix the longer we push replacement off, drinking water is on that same trajectory. That's right, life sustaining water:
A 2017 infrastructure report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers suggests Wisconsin will have $1 billion in drinking water infrastructure needs and more than $6 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs in the next 20 years.
Instead of cutting taxes, shouldn't we be using it to maintain our water supply and wastewater? Yet reports like this mean nothing to Walker and the Republican legislature who are supposedly "balancing" business interests with environmental concerns. Thus we're seeing headlines like this:
Since October, Wisconsin has approved requests from businesses for a billion gallons per month in new groundwater withdrawals from locations where the state’s own experts warned that higher pumping levels could be expected to harm vulnerable lakes, streams and drinking water supplies.
The increase was added by revising dozens of permits for high-capacity wells after regulations were relaxed in June at the urging of business groups and Republicans who control state government.
Meanwhile, the state Assembly is poised for a final vote on removing yet another layer of groundwater protection next month by ending the limited environmental reviews still allowed for certain existing wells.
This is the complete collapse of water protections at every level in Wisconsin. Goodbye to fresh clean drinking water. You can thank a political scheme that got a "legal opinion" from Walker lapdog, AG Brad Schimel. It's not a law and even contradicts a State Supreme Court decision:
Three-quarters of the wells are owned by farms in the Central Sands region where heavy pumping has been closely linked to dwindling — and in some cases dried up — surface water.
The DNR had been imposing pumping limits based on its reading of state law and court rulings that included a 2011 case in which the state Supreme Court said the agency must consider the cumulative impact of high-capacity wells on water, which the state is constitutionally bound to protect for the benefit of the public.
Industry groups chafed at pumping limits, and said the DNR was overstepping its authority. In 2016, a committee of GOP legislators led by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, asked Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to issue a formal opinion on well regulation. Schimel said the DNR had overstepped the authority, and the agency stopped making well permitting decisions based on environmental impact of all wells in an area.
Now permits are decided based on the affect of wells on the well owner’s property, without regard to how much is being withdrawn by surrounding wells.