Monday, March 4, 2013

Walker’s Message to Business…Cheat without consequences, pt. 2: Don't worry, Trash the Environment.

Scott Walker accomplished a number of destructive “business friendly” things; he’s created an atmosphere of cheating, gaming the system, voluntary adherence to regulation, and failed as a manager of state business by not employing state workers to carry out his policies. Small government means we’re soft on violations.

And businesses have responded.
WSJ: Nearly a fifth of Wisconsin’s 70 active frac sand mines and processing plants were cited for environmental violations last year, as the industry continued to expand. Violations included air pollution, construction without permits, and an accident at the Preferred Sands mine in Trempealeau County.
If that wasn't enough, this should insult your intelligence:
“Some of these companies should have known better,” said Marty Sellers, a DNR air management engineer. “They seem to put construction and production ahead of regulations.” Sellers said the DNR expects 90 percent of companies in a regulated industry to comply with rules on their own. But in his visits to a dozen frac sand facilities, Sellers encountered the opposite pattern, and sent letters of noncompliance to 80 percent to 90 percent of the sites.
This is what Scott Walker is fostering in this state; non-compliance. Walker’s a lousy manager too, by not realizing that expanded frac mining meant...expanded oversight. To Walker, adding just two more DNR positions was enough. Why do we put people who hate government in charge of government?
DNR compliance officials acknowledged they have been stretched thin monitoring the sand industry, which has grown from a handful of sites five years ago to more than 100. Wisconsin is the nation’s leading supplier of frac sand.

In response to complaints ... a DNR stormwater specialist wrote in explaining that the extra vigilance was helpful. “I do greatly appreciate any and all photos and reports,” Ruth King wrote. “It is precisely because I am only a half-time employee and cannot be everywhere at all times that we really need concerned citizens to be our eyes and ears.”
And when you hear Republicans whine “If Minnesota can do it so can we…”
In neighboring Minnesota, where Democrats control the legislature and governor’s office, a Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill calling for a statewide moratorium on new mine development and a study of the industry’s environmental impacts. But in Wisconsin, where Republicans are in control, the DNR decided last year that existing non-metallic mining regulations were sufficient to handle the frac sand boom.

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