Everyone on this earth is entitled to clean, safe drinking water. Clean drinking water is not a commodity to be used for profit, and laws will be necessary to ensure corporations cannot control the water supply. Nestlé, for example, is already trying to do just that. Legislators must do everything possible to protect our water. Those that deny climate change and its impact on our air and water, have no business in political office. We have to take action now before it is too late.
The powers that be in Wisconsin, our Governor Scott Walker in particular, are destroying our waters at a very fast pace. Expansion of agri-business, rolling back environmental protections, restricting the powers of the DNR, reducing funding for research—these are just a few of the things that have occurred in just the past year. In February, legislation was quietly signed that enables owners of high-capacity wells to replace those wells at any time, with larger wells of any size without state oversight. This is already having an impact in Portage County.
Nearly every county in Wisconsin has ground water contamination that affects private wells in those counties, mostly from agricultural runoff. EPA violations are not policed or punished and continue unchecked. Urban water supplies are aging and there are contaminants such as lead in the drinking water. In Kewaunee county, all private wells are contaminated due to ag runoff. There is no place to put the manure any more, yet factory farms are allowed to expand. They are allowed to spread manure while the ground is frozen, even though it is illegal, and that all ends up in local lakes and rivers. Our own governor Scott Walker is fighting to put a 26,000 head hog farm in Bayfield County on the shores of Lake Superior. Recent storms and flooding in the area clearly show where the runoff will end up, and that is Lake Superior. These are the only things that I know about. I'm sure there is much more.
If these practices continue unchecked, there may be no turning back. At the very least the cost of undoing the damage will be astronomical. We are seeing these things across the US. In Florida, Georgia Pacific is allowed to dump pollutants into the rivers, and ag runoff is contaminating the rivers and lakes. The recent toxic algae blooms in southern Florida is a direct result of these practices. The governor, the one who allows the contamination of lakes and streams, then had the gall to ask the federal government for tax dollars. Why should citizens fund this irresponsible behavior? Ignoring climate change is impacting municipal water supplies along coastlines flooded with salt water. Will Rick Scott ask for money to correct this problem while he refuses to acknowledge the effects of climate change?
States do not want to comply with EPA regulations, and that is not acceptable because ignoring the EPA standards will affect us all, and will cost us all. Our legislators have a moral obligation to uphold these regulations for the common good.
They say that water is the new oil and I believe that is true. If steps are not taken now, the day will come where the most vulnerable citizens will not have access to clean water. This should not be something only the rich can afford, yet in some parts of the world, this is already a fact.
Published on 8 August 2016