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Environmentalist: Wisconsin Budget Will Do “Permanent Damage”

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The executive director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters says provisions in the state budget will remove water quality protections currently in use in 30 Wisconsin counties. Credit: Clean Wisconsin
The executive director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters says provisions in the state budget will remove water quality protections currently in use in 30 Wisconsin counties. Credit: Clean Wisconsin
July 13, 2015

MADISON, Wis. – The executive director of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Kerry Schumann, says the new state budget leaves Wisconsinites exposed to the very real danger of an oil spill.

She says provisions in the state budget make it easier for oil companies to expand their pipelines, and prohibit local governments from requiring that pipeline companies have adequate insurance to cover cleanup costs.

Schumann calls the budget "a grab-bag of anti-conservation policy," which she says will do "permanent damage."

"Once a lake has a major pollution problem it's much harder to clean it up than if we had prevented that pollution,” she points out. “Once a piece of land has had an oil spill, that's going to take a very long time to clean up. Once a forest has been logged, it's no longer going to become an older growth forest."

Schumann cites sweeping changes to forestry management, which she says will leave the state's majestic northwoods vulnerable to aggressive logging companies.

Supporters of the budget say it will help create jobs and that the policy changes aren't that drastic.

Schumann says the budget also contains a provision to remove water quality protections currently in use in 30 Wisconsin counties to protect lakes and rivers.

She maintains the impact to the state's lakes and waterways will be huge.

"We might just see lakes in some counties, lakes that are actually having worse water quality, lakes that have more stinky algae blooms, that there are more days when it's not safe for people to go out and enjoy those lakes,” she states. “That is a very real thing that could happen."

Schumann adds many of these changes are non-budgetary policy items that have no business in a budget bill in the first place.

"Because legislators just tossed in all these different policies – anti-environmental policies – there really are real implications for our environment and for our public health,” she stresses. “We would urge legislators to think about the people who live in their communities and how they will be impacted by their decisions."


Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI