Letter: Walker dirties Wisconsin’s clean imageFor 41 years environmental groups fought hard to make Wisconsin a national leader as a green state.
By: Ray Anderson, River Falls, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
For 41 years environmental groups fought hard to make Wisconsin a national leader as a green state.
Unfortunately, now there is no doubt that Gov. Scott Walker in his 2011-13 state budget and the Republican-controlled Legislature through the legislative process are proposing to take Wisconsin down a new path which will kill our strong “Clean Wisconsin” reputation and destroy our environmental legacy.
In an unexpected assault on the very fabric of our environmental laws, Walker intends to dismantle our hard-won recycling program. Raiding recycling funds will have the effect of jeopardizing curbside pick-up, mean more illegal land-filling of dangerous materials or more burning and burying of garbage that otherwise would be recycled and add up to a greater risk to our environment.
At the same time he exempts businesses from recycling and eliminates the requirement that municipalities and counties operate recycling programs.
Another misguided provision in his budget seeks to delay regulations on the discharge of phosphorous which only went into effect last fall. We worked hard and long to come up with a creative, cost-effective and flexible way to control phosphorous discharges. Phosphorous comes primarily from farm fields and lawns but also is discharged by industrial sources and wastewater treatment plants all of which contribute to the smelly green algae choking many of our waterways and killing aquatic life.
Other proposals suspend rules to standardize the siting of wind turbines, repeal rules related to storm water runoff regulation, efforts to clean up old and dirty coal plants, eliminates the purchase and easement program which helps preserve farmlands, opens the door to the expansion of nuclear power, and cuts funding for public transit.
These attacks will move our state almost half a century backwards. Now we are in the midst of one of our most challenging political times and will have to fight tooth and nail to retain hard-won victories and keep Wisconsin a clean and beautiful place for future generations to live, work and play.