Letter to the Editor: ‘Let’s Stop the Lip Service’ on Water Quality

Governor Evers declaration of 2019 being the “Year of clean drinking water in Wisconsin,” is of course reason for celebration and further emphasizes our water quality concerns statewide that have finally garnered the attention they deserve. From high nitrates, to manure tainted e-coli flowing from taps, to PFAS “forever chemicals”, Wisconsin’s water should be highlighted as a major concern in our state.

But, At the end of the day, what exactly does this declaration mean for those most impacted?

While yet more task forces form and public hearings ensue – many of those living amongst widespread contamination wonder why Governor Evers has not yet sought them out – or their input.

Already mass cuts have already been made to a budget designed to address many of Wisconsin’s water issues, leaving Wisconsinites wondering if any real progress can be made when actions do not follow inspirational declarations.

For way too long citizenry has shouldered the responsibility of the heavy lifting on these issues, and taxpayers left to pay the tab. Many shovel ready solutions exist, that do not require taxpayer monies or a significant amount of effort. Commonsense safeguards remain non-existent, followed up by minimal oversight or enforcement. Court ordered safety measures such as herd caps on massive dairy operations, and monitoring wells continue to be argued in court while those living amongst the most highly contaminated areas see minimal efforts and slick PR campaigns by operations resisting incorporating judge ordered safety measures in their township described as “deplorable” – the end result of “massive regulatory failure” [Judge Jeffrey Boldt, Kinnard hearing].

What really ails Wisconsin’s water is the lack of initiative and political will, at all levels, local and state, to actually address the “effluent in the room”.

Let’s stop the lip service and begin meaningful actions to address Wisconsin’s statewide water quality issues that impoverish our communities, reduce quality of life, threaten human health, and poison the water where we live.

We refuse to allow ourselves and our families, and the places we call home, to remain the collateral damages for industrial pollution.

Nancy Utesch

Kewaunee, Wisconsin