Clean water and air, the natural environment, and local control are values many of us enjoy in Wisconsin, but legislative bills on the fast track threaten them. Presently, we have ordinances passed by local communities that work for us. This reflects the fact that what works in some areas doesn't work in others. But now, efforts are speeding ahead in the legislature that would undermine local control and environmental standards. Bills would expand what some individuals and industries could do on their property - often at the expense of others - and restrict what local communities and individuals could do to protect their related interests and rights.
The proposed bills include:
Gives away public lakebed property and eliminates the requirement to maintain public access; allows three dump-truck loads to be dredged annually from inland-lake property shorelines (10 along Lake Superior); allows increased development right next to water, leading to reduced water and shoreland quality; restricts citizens' ability to challenge permit decisions that affect water; prohibits the DNR from collecting some data needed to evaluate project proposals; opens more wetlands to development, leading to reduced water quality, more flooding, and less habitat for wildlife.
Cements into law shoreland zoning rules added to the 2015 state budget without public hearings. Counties are required to lower their land use and water quality zoning standards to one-size-fits-all state levels; moves NR115 (shoreland zoning) standards to the control of the legislature and governor appointees - away from rigorous scientific review and multiple opportunities for public input; takes away more local control over structures close to water.
Removes counties’ ability to limit polluting industries even in the face of public health threats; bans moratoriums on potentially harmful industrial development; bans new zoning requirements if a company has even expressed interest in locating there.
We need to maintain a healthy environment, community, and property values, local control, and the public right to the waters of Wisconsin. The proposed bills undermine these values.