As a Door County resident who appreciates access to the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan, I am very concerned about proposed legislation, AB 600 and SB 459, and so should anyone who enjoys clean water and sports such as fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and beach going.
The billed, named by concerned citizens as the Polluter Grab Bag, ignores Wisconsin heritage and even the state constitution, which places water in the “public trust.” Both have placed the rights to the waters of Wisconsin in the hands of residents to enjoy the state’s rivers and lakes, rather than in the hands of big developers. This bill would shift that right by allowing greater development around our lakes and even limit public access to our waters. High density development at our waterfronts could also lead to increased non-point pollution.
If the bill is passed as written, it would remove protections for 20 percent of the wetlands that are not federally protected and would even create incentives for companies or individuals to develop on properties that contain wetlands. It also allows for greater lake bed dredging, removes restrictions on where the sediment may be dumped, and even drops public notification for dredging activity.
Removing public notification in this bill is just another effort by this legislative majority to limit public participation in decisions about resources that belong to all citizens.
I urge you to contact your legislators and ask them to oppose Assembly Bill 600 and Senate Bill 459.
Dean Hoegger, president & executive director, Clean Water Action Council
Southern Door, Wis.