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Wisconsin Quarterly Report–Summer, 2013

Ongoing Issues: Groundwater, Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

Keep Eyes Open About a Proposed Groundwater Amendment to Budget

The Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance committee had a surprise groundwater amendment (Motion 375) added to the 2013-15 Budget Bill at the 11th hour. The amendment puts Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers and drinking water at risk.

  • It prevents neighbors from challenging the cumulative impacts of a high-capacity well permit.
  • It limits property owners’ ability to ensure they have a safe, adequate supply of drinking water and is especially disastrous for people who live in those areas of the state where water resources are already strained by large farms, frac sand operations, and open-pit mining. See more from Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters here: State Budget.
  • The amendment would add policy to the 2013-15 State Budget that would prohibit citizens from challenging a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit decision for a high-capacity well. If passed into law, the impact of this policy would prevent a lake district or association, or even any citizen of Wisconsin, from suing the department to force it to consider whether a proposed high-capacity well would cause lake levels to drop as a result of the new well, or whether the proposed well would cause private wells to run dry. More details at Wisconsin Lakes Association  under current legislation and legal issues.

Another Area of Awareness: Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

We need to be aware that Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does not test Wisconsin waters for hormone-disrupting chemicals. The state lags behind Minnesota in testing lakes and rivers for chemicals that hurt reproduction and could cause diabetes, cancer. See more at Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

League At Work: WILWV Members Have Been Active

Members of the Wisconsin delegates to LMLWV have met to begin planning for the annual meeting in Sheboygan.  Members have also written to representatives regarding issues pertinent to Lake Michigan and clean water. They have attended presentations on Zero Waste (in Green Bay), and Clean Water Forum Council (cosponsored by the League of Conservation Voters).

Within the League and Behind the Scenes

At its annual meeting, the LWVWI voted to convene a committee to look at and consider updating our natural resources position on water.  This position update will not include a full study but will draw from existing positions from the LWVWI, the LMLWV and the LWVUS. Elizabeth Wheeler, staff attorney at Clean Wisconsin, will chair the committee.  LWVWI has put out a call to local LWV presidents to propose committee members.

–Submitted by Wisconsin delegate Helga Gueguierre

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