Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Republicans hope voluntary compliance will solve watery Dead Zones and Nitrate Laced Drinking Water.

Wisconsin Republicans don't seem to think we've got a water quality problem in the state.

Instead, they're always talking about "balancing" the cost of doing businesses against the cost of keeping Wisconsinites and the environment healthy. That's a false narrative and not really an open question.

The problems keep mounting up too. From the harmful effects on children exposed to blowing Koch Industry coal dust off freight cars in Green Bay, to watery dead zones in the bay itself, Republicans are just now starting to talk about. Perhaps they're waiting for things to get worse. How about preventing the problem? Nope, that would be a big government solution.

For example, here are a few lowlights of Republican Rep. Reid Ribble's do nothing word salad, for a problems that's completely out of control already. From Upfront with Mike Gousha:
"...now that it's lasted so long and is so large...we're starting to have some of our larger dairy farms talking in those same terms...we're getting to a place now where people are really beginning to take this seriously...first you start with awareness, you recognize you have a problem...create the awareness of it, which is what we're doing now...you begin to share best practices...where the agriculture community pulls themselves into compliance...it's all of us working together."

Yea, we've got all the time in the world. Ribble knows his voters don't want a government solution, so what the heck, talk is cheaper.

Here's coverage from WBAY about the growing nitrate problem in our drinking water, a problem many Wisconsinites may not even be unaware of:

An agricultural group is calling out the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, accusing the agency of not protecting the health of people in Kewaunee County. Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP) issued the 137-page report, saying in it there’s proof the DNR isn’t doing its job protecting Kewaunee County residents.

SRAP’s Scott Dye said, this report shows the DNR is letting industrial dairy farms pollute Kewaunee County by not checking to see if farms are following the rules for handling waste, not enforcing rules that already exist, and not taking community complaints seriously.
“We should not mince words about this. This is nothing short of a public health emergency. What we’re talking about are Third World conditions in America’s heartland. We have people in our community who cannot drink their water, brush their teeth, wash dishes, and are fearful of bathing in their water if they have an open cut. The Wisconsin DNR that has utterly failed its duty to properly regulate the 16 largest industrial-size farms and failed in its duty to protect the health and safety of the county’s residents and environment.” 
Walker's hollowed out version of the DNR continues to blow smoke (a media pollutant) about a problem they're not trying to solve. They might be waiting for a major environmental disaster to occur.
Dept. of Natural Resources spokesman Bill Cosh sent this statement to Action 2 News: Protection of groundwater and our drinking water in Kewaunee County and the entire state remains a priority for this agency.  To that end, we are working with citizens and other stakeholders of Kewaunee County to develop proposed actions and potential solutions to reduce risk to public health and groundwater quality that could not only be applied in northeast Wisconsin, but also be potentially applicable to other areas of the state. We are regulating within the full authority we have within the current laws and rules. However, we are continuing to work to come to potential suggestions for the legislature.
Voluntary compliance, a non-regulatory approach, is all the rage in Republican states. From PBS's Market to Market, Iowa is a little more proactive, but still, polluters are just shifting the cost of the problem onto taxpayers:

Get more on the DNR disaster playing out in Wisconsin at the Political Environment.

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