Wisconsin Water Lobby Day on Feb 8 saw hundreds of people gather at the State Capitol to talk with legislators about water issues, including the Back 40 open pit gold-zinc sulfate mine proposed along the Menomonie River on the Michigan-Wisconsin border. While this mine is located in Michigan and permitting is not under Wisconsin jurisdiction, discharges from the mine and associated processing plant could affect the Menomonie River, the city of Marinette’s water supply, and Lake Michigan. Lobby day participants asked legislators to step in and oppose the permitting of this mine.
Participants also brought a petition asking that legislators designate the Wisconsin Driftless Area as a groundwater management area. This part of the state (link to map) has high quality groundwater naturally, and is also very susceptible to groundwater contamination. Drinking water wells are at risk from frac sand mining, animal confinement operations and other land uses. Designating the area as a groundwater management area would require extra review and precautions for potentially polluting activities. Legislators were also asked to support legislation for Wisconsin to regain compliance with the Clean Water Act and to remedy deficiencies identified and documented by the US EPA and Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau report.
Participating from LWV La Crosse were Margaret Wood, Peter Nelson, Mary Nelson, Maureen Freedland, Nancy Hill, Carolyn Mahlum-Jenkins and more. They reported that they learned a lot and had an interesting and fun day as they rode into Madison on buses with other like-minded people concerned about water issues and seeking change.
LWV UMRR congratulates event organizers Don Ystad, Mary Dougherty and Christe Greening on planning an effective and enthusiastic event! Here’s Greening’s statement to participants: “We are amazed at the amount of citizens from across the state who are willing to stand shoulder to shoulder and demand responsible and sustainable water policy for Wisconsin. This is just the beginning of a statewide network that will be impossible to ignore.” Inspiring words!
Water is among the topics before legislators at the Iowa Environmental Lobby Day and REAP Day at the Capitol 2017 on March 29. At this annual event, diverse individuals and organizations from across the state come together at the Iowa State Capitol to show policymakers that there is a broad base of support for sustainable funding, program and policies that support clean water, healthy land and continued clean energy leadership. Proposed budget cuts to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship would reduce funding for REAP projects, see Action Alert here. These agencies are already underfunded and the cuts will have long-term impacts on the agencies’ work. Now is the time to sign up for this lobbying event and make your voice heard for Iowa’s environment!
Grassroots organizations in Wisconsin and Minnesota are sponsoring water action days at their respective state capitols and the LWV Upper Mississippi River Region is proud to be part of these efforts.
February 8, citizens concerned about clean and abundant water are urged to convene in Madison for a major event. The event will be held in room 412 East (the Joint Committee on Finance room) at the State Capitol from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Speakers from various groups (CAFOs, fracking, piplelines, mines, high-capacity wells) will share their experiences with the many threats to water in Wisconsin and why we need to unite to demand change in Madison. Free busses have been arranged to bring people in from all around Wisconsin. The busses from Milwaukee, Ashland, EauClaire, LaCrosse & Wisconsin Rapids bus are filled as of Feb 4, but space is available still in the bus from Green Bay. If you can’t get on the bus, form a carpool and drive in with several friends to participate! Call your legislator now to set up a time to visit with them while you are in Madison!
Minnesota’s Water Action Day is set for April 19. Visit this site to sign up NOW, more information on speakers, transportation and legislator visits will be provided in days to come.
The threats to our water supplies are plentiful and chilling. It will take action now to reduce risks and protect our water for generations to come.