Water Rights Stolen in a Budget

Most people have heard about some of the appalling items that were slipped into the Wisconsin budget last week. It’s actually hard to list them all. But of particular concern to me, is the item that was slipped in by Republican Senator Howard Marklein, stripping Dane County of our water rights.

Under this provision, the DNR could contract with a regional planning commission or others to consider parts of the plan, but it could not allow Dane County, the county’s watershed commission or other local governments to develop the water quality plan or changes to it. The DNR also could not get advisory services from local authorities.

Marklein claims developers wanted this takeover of local control. “I don’t even remember who they were,” Marklein told the Journal Sentinel. “We had a couple meetings with a couple people.”

My assumption is that there are many reasons they stripped one county in the state of Wisconsin of our water rights, while leaving the other 71 alone. Dane County lakes get run off of factory farms, which means toxic blue green algae. The state will likely let these powerful actors do what they want. Our lakes may go down hill very fast.

There are also rules for shoreline development–I assume those will be blown up. But perhaps the biggest benefactor of our stolen water rights will be Canadian Oil Company Enbridge.

The oil company wants to triple the volume of tar sands they send across the country, and were being held up by Dane County. The county requires them to get insurance that would cover a spill like the one in Kalamazoo, Michigan. That had to be cleaned up at tax payer expense, and many residents do not think it is cleaned up in reality. Tar sands are heavy and they sink, so very hard to clean up the Kalamazoo or restore it to what it was before a huge dump of oil and tar sands in 2010.

No matter why the GOP decided to take our right to manage our water, it’s an underhanded and corrupt action done to benefit developers and a Canadian company. We have to stop the expansion.

Stop the Expansion of Enbridge’s Tar Sands Line 61 in Wisconsin


Kalamazoo River

Enbridge Whistleblower Trials

No One Knows How to Stop These Spills

Tar Sands Oil Companies (Graphic)

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