WI Republicans: clean municipal drinking water is overrated!

Apparently Republicans in the State Assembly aren’t big fans of clean municipal drinking water, as evidenced by their support for Assembly Bill 23, which will prohibit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from requiring municipal water systems to provide continuous disinfection of the water they provide to citizens (emphasis mine):

Current law requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to administer a safe drinking water program and to establish all safeguards that DNR determines to be necessary in protecting public health from impure drinking water supplies. DNR has promulgated a rule that requires municipal drinking water systems to provide continuous disinfection of the water that they provide, beginning no later than December 1, 2013. This bill prohibits DNR from requiring a municipal water system to provide continuous disinfection of the water that it provides, unless continuous disinfection is required under federal law.

Democratic State Rep. Cory Mason was quick to issue a statement criticizing Assembly Republicans, noting AB23 is a step backwards when it comes to clean municipal water supplies:

“I have never had constituents say to me that they wish government would stop ensuring that our drinking water is clean and safe,” said Representative Mason. “Yet that is exactly what this bill does. This dirty drinking water bill exposes communities to serious public health threats and I am appalled at the Republicans’ rush to pass this terrible bill.”


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22 thoughts on “WI Republicans: clean municipal drinking water is overrated!

  1. I was a little too young at the time, but wasn’t the clean water standards put into state to begin with in the 1990s because so many people died from the sad water? I’m not sure, but I vaguely remember something like that in Milwaukee County happening.

  2. I haven’t read much about this issue – and have no idea if there’s more going on. For example, is it an issue over whether the DNR – perhaps the most maligned state agency – should be doing this rather than someone else? I honestly don’t know the mechanics or chemistry either – what is the definition of “continuous disinfection?” While it certainly sounds good, are there legitimate, safe & effective systems that don’t meet this requirement (such as holding tanks that do it in batches instead of continuous)? So while on it’s face, it certainly sounds puzzling, I’m withholding judgment. I’ll fully grant that it’s possible (maybe even likely) that the Republicans and simply playing politics rather than taking issue with efficacy.

    What I do find rather amusing though, is how this is being framed this as being against safe water. The fact of the matter is the requirement that Assembly Bill 23 would negate – doesn’t come into effect for 2 and a half years. In other words, this great, clean water requirement is doing absolutely nothing right now to ensure clean water.

    Seems like at worst, it’s maintaining the status quo. If it’s so awful – so critically important to have the continuous disinfectant requirement, why the hell isn’t it in effect now?

    Kinda reminds me of how people can call a reduction in the increase of funding a cut.

    1. Considering it ticked off WUCA which backed Walker originally, seeing it as a separation of storm and sanitary sewers as a potential boost to their business… I think it’s playing politics.

  3. That would be the cryptosporidium outbreack of April 1993 not e-coli. Just to keep things on the Right Track.

    1. I stand corrected, but the point remains that people died as a result of water that wasn’t properly treated.

  4. My dearest friend moved to McAllen Texas after the Wisconsin Delco plant closed. All three of her kids had perfect teeth. Now all three of her teen agers have rot mouth and are spendng thousands of dollars in dentist bills. My girlfiend’s husband, tired of yelling at the kids, finally spoke to the dentist. The dentist informed them that the water in McAllen texas has a lot of agricultural chemicals in it and does not protect teeth. YUP! That’s that Scott Walker is after.

  5. Republican standards dictate that protecting the health of the citizens and making sure water is clean is the socialism boogeyman!

  6. Speaking of clean drinking water, city dwellers aren’t the only folks endangered.


    Incredibly, two GOP leggies, Rich Zipperer and Mark Honadel, are fast tracking a bill that would fast track mine permitting. They want to streamline the mine prmitting process from several years to 300 days.

    The executive director of the Bad River Watershed Association told me that she’s overwhelmed with trying to understand the scope and changes in mine permitting the bill would entail.

    What are two lawmakers from the Milwaukee area doing fast tracking legislation that could have a severe environmental impact on northern Wisconsin?

    Michael Wiggins Jr., Chairman of the Bad River Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa, recently addressed the legislature in his State of the Tribes address and told the gathered lawamkers about the tribes concerns over the open pit iron mine and it’s environmental impacts. What does he get in return?

    A sucker punch of the first order. A bill that has had input from the mining company but not the tribes or the public.

    Welcome to FitzWalkerVille, where the state motto should be,

    ” Whatever You Can Get Away With “

    1. Although it may seem that Sen Zipperer is from the Milwaukee area for those who live ‘up nort’, he’s from Pewaukee in the heart of Waukesha County…one reason I never went back after college.

      And South Milwaukee, home of Rep Honadel, is a bit SOUTH of Milwaukee and a different world unto itself. Zach can attest to that.

      So I don’t want them connected with Milwaukee…but we could easily change your question around and ask why all those damn out of Milwaukee legislators keep f*ckin’ with Milwaukee…with nearly every bill they’ve introduced this session.

      1. Ed,

        My bad. Please forgive this ignorant Jackpine Savage.

        And then spread the word to any Pewaukeeans and South Milwaukeeans you know to call their reps to have this accelerated permitting stopped. We have a sudden and unexpected five alarm fire up here.

        Gogebic Taconite reps told a packed house in Ashland in January that they would not seek legislative changes to Wisconsins mine permitting process. They are now seeking major changes to the permitting process.

        This will likely be the largest mine in Wisconsins history. GTAC has leases over a 22 mile stretch of the Penokee Range. Open pit mining is not a benign or clean industry.

        If this gets rushed through without proper study and review it could be environmentally devastating to the Bad River watershed and even Lake Superior.


        1. I realized this morning why someone from South Milwaukee would care…South Milwaukee is home to mining equipment manufacturers…big time. So Rep Honadel is supporting his local constituents…I guess I should have followed the money.

  7. If you’re represented by either Rich Zipperer or Mark Honadel we in northern Wisconsin need your help. Call Zipperer at 608-266-0610 and Honadel at 1-888-534-0021 and tell them you don’t want their mine permitting bill passed in the next seven weeks. Something of this magnitude deserves a lot of careful thought and stakeholder input and right now it’s getting neither. Please call them both soon.

  8. Xoff’s blog at Uppity Wisconsin has chronicled the fast moving developments on the mine permitting very well. Read through his entries from the last ten days for a good update on all that’s transpired.

  9. I think we are beyond just calling your own representatives. Anyone in WIsconsin should call because it will affect us all not just the closest geographical area. Besides most of us travel and spend money all over the state.

  10. Jeff,

    I agree, though the constituents of Zipperer and Honadel might have the most clout in the short term.

    It is profoundly irresponsible to rush this mine permitting bill through the legislature right now. A lot of us up here understand the need for jobs, but we have a permitting process to protect our groundwater, which we need even more than jobs.

    If this is being rushed through to help Walker get to his 250,000 jobs mark, it is unbridled recklessness in pursuit political gain.

    What other reason could there be for totally rewriting mine permitting legislation in a few weeks time?


    ” Wisconsin: Open for Plunder “

  11. I agree that the mine is a terrible idea. The fact that they are fast tracking this shows they know its a bad idea also. Im just saying we can all put the pressure on.

  12. Is there any reason that any permit from government should ever take more than 30 days to approve or deny, much less 300 days? The time required to get a permit and the appeal process involved have nothing to do with the quality or strength of the regulations involved, but have a huge effect on the costs and uncertainty of a project.

    Approve, deny whatever, but do not do to anyone what was recently done to Shell where after spending billions and having all permits in hand, one insignificant permit was pulled shutting down a huge operation at the last minute costing tens of thousands of Alaskan jobs.

    Give up the jobs. Metallic mining can be a huge driver of jobs in Wisconsin. Make sure that the law protects the interests of those near the mine, but don’t dleay the project to death.

    If you all would like all mining, manufacturing, extraction of resources and the jobs that go with them to be in other countries, man up and say so. Just quit your bitching about the lack of family supporting jobs when you regulate them all out of existence.

    Killing the mine by delay seems to be the focus of those that oppose this change. Kill it for real reasons if it does not comply with the law, or give them the permits and get the paychecks started.

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