On Thursday, May 24th, Milwaukee Riverkeeper prevailed on its motion for summary judgment against Milwaukee County for its failure to maintain the Estabrook Dam in good repair and condition, as required by Wisconsin law and the Public Trust Doctrine.
The Milwaukee County Circuit Court found that the Estabrook Dam is a public nuisance that must be abated, and further ordered the County to submit a proposal to abate the nuisance to Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the Court within the next 30 days.
Two interesting articles ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week about Waukesha's continuing bid for Lake Michigan water.
One, an editorial from the Dean of UWM's School of Freshwater Sciences, urges Waukesha to use innovative approaches and technology to solve its water supply problem. Citing Singapore as an example, it explains that a community can capitalize on water scarcity and transform the problem into a boon for a more progressive, efficient infrastructure.
The second article explains the strict timeline Waukesha is on to put all the pieces in place in order to obtain a Great Lakes water source.
Environmental inspections by the state Department of Natural Resources dropped sharply during the first year of Gov. Scott Walker's administration.
Inspections declined in most categories that affect air and water quality, and they mirrored a previously reported decrease in 2011 enforcement cases, according to DNR records.
Inspections are a critical component of environmental enforcement by laying the groundwork for a possible referral to authorities for legal action - or more frequently, by catching problems early and getting polluters back into compliance.
It appears influence peddling is alive and well in Wisconsin. See the article below about one of the Governor Walker's top appointed officials at the WDNR stepping in to let a polluter off the hook for over $37,000 in fines.
Governor Walker has praised his appointees’ approach, stating that, “increasing compliance and decreasing the number of… violations is a good thing for Wisconsin’s valuable natural resources…[and] our economy…”
Milwaukee Riverkeeper disagrees, believing if we are to deter future violations (a good thing even according to Governor Walker), then penalties must be sufficiently large to punish the polluter. For more information see the article below.
They are part of the 89 acre parcel of the County Grounds that Milwaukee County sold last year to the UWM Real Estate Foundation for development of Innovation Park - a project to include a university research building as well as privately owned technology-oriented companies and other uses.
The clean-up of urban rivers continues in Wisconsin. But the pace of the work can be slow and not every riverside community is making the investment.
Aside from the now-stalled clean up of PCB's from the Fox River near Green Bay, perhaps the most active urban river revitalization work in Wisconsin has been in Milwaukee. There's much to be done, as the area is home to many waterways with a hardly-pristine history, including the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper Cheryl Nenn recently had an editorial published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding Waukesha's Water issues. The comments are in relation to a letter sent from the Mayors of Milwaukee, Racine and Oak Creek which was also published in the Journal Sentinel. To view that letter click here.
Milwaukee Riverkeeper's letter to the editor is below:
An April 22 article detailed how Milwaukee officials are getting closer to negotiating with Waukesha to sell Lake Michigan water if Waukesha's application for a Great Lakes diversion is approved by Wisconsin and seven other Great Lakes states.
Milwaukee is right to proceed cautiously when making a decision to sell water to Waukesha. The decision affects not only our waterways but also our economy. This is why Milwaukee passed a resolution in 2008 that requires consideration of housing, transportation and other socioeconomic factors when making decisions about water sales and the true "costs" of selling water.