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Citizen voices matter jan 2014 2

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Presentation on Citizen Voices Matter for Environmental Policy in Wisconsin

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
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Citizen voices matter jan 2014 2

  1. 1. We use the power of the law to support grassroots groups working for environmental justice in the Western Great Lakes region
  2. 2. Wisconsin native Gaylord Nelson believed deeply in the power of ordinary people The first Earth Day in 1970 allowed 20,000,000 people to stand together and demand federal laws to protect public health and the environment Citizens were given significant rights in the major environmental laws passed in response to Earth Day 1970
  3. 3. Richard Nixon signing the Environmental Protection Act into law
  4. 4. The federal Clean Water Act, passed in 1972 is implemented and enforced by the WI-DNR
  5. 5. What’s Earth Day and the creation of the US-EPA got to do ALEC?
  6. 6. Lewis Powell, father of corporate lobbying as we know it today. ALEC was formed in response to Powell’s memo for the national Chamber of Commerce. Nixon appointed him to the Supreme Court.
  7. 7. For almost 70 years, Wisconsin’s Secretary was appointed by the seven citizen members of the Natural Resources Board. That process successfully kept the DNR separate from constant political influence and made Wisconsin a model of conservation. The idea of an independent conservation agency was originally established by Aldo Leopold. Leopold wrote that the 1927 law was needed because "Conservation must have continuity of purpose and policy, and freedom from interference by political control or manipulation.”
  8. 8. Environmental laws don’t enforce themselves and the environment doesn’t have a voice unless we speak up for it. Arlen Christenson Public Intervenor Board Co-Founder of MEA
  9. 9. Republican Governor Warren Knowles created the Public Intervenor Office in 1967 “While I recognize the need for global support for the environment, I have always thought that the slogan ‘Think Globally, Act Locally,’ is an important plan of action for everyone.” — Governor Warren Knowles
  10. 10. The Public Intervenor defended public rights in the waters and other natural resources in Wisconsin. These are rights all Wisconsin citizens are supposed to be able to enjoy without having to sue special interests that threaten them. Thomas Dawson 1976-1995 Wisconsin Stewardship Network Kathleen Falk 1983-1995
  11. 11. Governor Tommy Thompson ended the 70-year history of an independent DNR and abolished the Public Intervenor Office in 1995 Melissa Scanlan, MEA’s founder, while still in law school, became determined to restore access to legal and technical services to the people of Wisconsin People showed up and did their part
  12. 12. In 2009, Governor Jim Doyle, Democrat, vetoed a bill to restore an independent DNR even though he campaigned on restoring the independence of the DNR and Public Intervenor Office
  13. 13. Wisconsin passed the first numeric criteria for limiting phosphorus pollution in 2010. Newly elected Walker tried to repeal the rules and since they are now part of federal law, EPA said no. The space between federal standards and state action is what much litigation is based on, federal oversight matters
  14. 14. The Treml family nearly lost their daughter to Ecoli poisoning after a factory farm contaminated their drinking water well. The family helped pass restrictions on winter spreading
  15. 15. Where does all the manure go? Karst area of Northeast WI has one of the highest concentrations of CAFOs in the world Town of Lincoln in Kewaunee County 24% of private wells exceed safe drinking water standards for nitrates 42% of private wells are contaminated with coliform bacteria
  16. 16. One factory farm produces as much as 100 million gallons of untreated animal waste each year. The waste is then spread on vulnerable Karst areas. One dairy cow produces the waste of 23 humans. In the Town of Lincoln in Kewaunee County, one factory farm generates animal waste equivalent to a city of 220,000 humans.
  17. 17. The Cocharts are one of several families in the Town of Lincoln challenging the expansion of a factory farm with a history of polluting drinking water wells.
  18. 18. Citizens in Kewaunee County have taken on the costs and burdens off monitoring pollution that their government can’t or won’t do. Photo of water samples upstream and downstream from a factory farm
  19. 19. Kewaunee Cares takes an active role in educating their neighbors about the risks from industrial livestock facilities
  20. 20. Frac Sand Mining in Western Wisconsin is Creating landscape-scale destruction and is virtually unregulated by the DNR
  21. 21. The most dangerous particles are what is left behind and used in “reclamation” of the mining sites. The DNR rejected a citizen petition to regulate respirable crystalline silica dust in spite of known danger
  22. 22. The costs and burdens of protecting public health and the environment are wholly on the backs of citizen advocates WI-DNR refuses to regulate silica dust as a hazardous pollutant and won’t do a cumulative impact study
  23. 23. Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a Freight Rail conference in Madison Wednesday. "I like to say thanks to God and the glaciers" for leaving behind the right kind of sand in Wisconsin, he said. Capital Time 10/10/2013
  24. 24. Bright lights, truck traffic, industrial noise 24/7 MEA is involved in two air permit challenges and has contracted for technical review of 5 draft permits on behalf of residents in Trempealeau County
  25. 25. A majority of Wisconsin citizens were against weakening our environmental laws to allow the construction of the largest open pit iron mine in the country, in the headwaters of one of the most pristine landscapes remaining in the world, and the home of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
  26. 26. Mining Special Interests donated over $15,000,000 to state legislative campaigns before the vote. Signing the Ferrous Mining Law was the first act of Governor Walker in 2013.
  27. 27. Citizens in Iron County are holding their county board accountable. 11 of the 14 County Board seats are being contested in spring elections Iron County Board Supervisors have consistently violated open government requirements by back room dealing with the mining company
  28. 28. Wild Rice Beds in the Kakagon Sloughs 40% of ALL wetlands in the Lake Superior Basin are within the Bad River Band’s Reservation Boundaries
  29. 29. Empire open-pit iron mine Cliff Natural Resources company, Michigan
  30. 30. Ordinary people are the only group that has consistently protected the rights of future generations. We are motivated by love. We will not sell out the future of our children and grandchildren for special interest politics or dirty money.
  31. 31. Citizen Voices Matter Citizens have legal rights in the environment Special interest politics & corporate lobbies have diminished the role of science in protecting our air, land and water under a political DNR Citizens’ rights must not be the path of least resistance for lawmakers and regulators The people of Wisconsin don’t see clean air, land and water as a partisan issue
  32. 32. www.midwestadvocates.org /MidwestEnvironmentalAdvocates @MidwestAdvocate

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