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!