What is the Polluter Grab Bag?
Wisconsin waters are a public resource that is held in trust for us by the State of Wisconsin, meaning their use is meant to benefit the people of Wisconsin. Our waters depend on enforcement of our laws and good government to protect them from many threats that come in different forms. Assembly Bill 600 and Senate Bill 459, aptly coined the Polluter Grab Bag by our friends at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, are a blow to the protection of our state waters’ and a boon to unrestrained development.
AB 600 and SB 459 take away communities’ power to protect their waters from pollution, and permit increased development that intensifies flooding and reduces water quality. These bills endanger our lakebeds, our streambeds, our wetlands, and the wildlife that depend on them for survival. These bills remove more waters from constitutional protection, including headwater streams, cold water springs and wetlands, they roll back shoreland protections that would otherwise require development to be set back further from the water, and they open up 20% of Wisconsin wetlands to development (wetlands that are largely not protected by Federal laws).
The bills give away public lakebeds to developers for free, and allow for a huge increase in dredging for anyone who owns lakefront property (up to 3 dump trucks of sediment per year per person without a permit!!!). The bills even decrease the ability for citizens to challenge DNR permit decisions that affect water, and allow polluters to choose their own hearing examiners. This bill is an affront to our strong history of conservation and good government. We can’t have clean water without effective government and enforcement of laws that protect our public interests over private interests.
Take Action Now!
AB 600 and SB 459 endanger our publicly owned state waters by putting the interests of developers over the interests of Wisconsin residents. AB 600 passed through the Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry yesterday and SB 459 will be voted on in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy TODAY. Both of these bills will likely head to the full Assembly and Senate for a vote within the next week.
Tell your Wisconsin Senators and Representatives to reject the Polluter Grab Bag today!