Wisconsin Conservation Voters
Press Release

Polluter Grab Bag (AB 600/SB 459)

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters' Statement

By - Feb 3rd, 2016 03:53 pm

MADISON, WI — Today, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy had a public hearing on the Polluter Grab Bag, AB 600/SB 459. This hearing marks the final public opportunity for Wisconsinites to voice their concerns with the legislation. In response, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Executive Director, Kerry Schumann, issued the following statement:

“The Polluter Grab Bag goes right to the heart of the policies that protect our lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. If passed into law, we’ll see filled in wetlands, dirtier rivers and streams, more development around lakes, and less public access to the waters that are supposed to belong to all of us.

Many important questions are being raised about this legislation. One big concern raised by both citizens and legislators is the issue of dredging.

The Polluter Grab Bag would allow lakefront property owners to dredge three dump trucks full of lakebed sediment each year. This act destroys the best habitat for fish and wildlife to spawn, and could release toxins into the water, further polluting the lakes where we fish, swim, and enjoy time with our families.

Senator Lasee, an author of this bill, said in his testimony that property owners should be able to dredge for access to fishing. Unfortunately, he’s missing an important point: fish may be harder to come by if the best shoreline habitat has been dredged.

Furthermore, if this bill becomes law, the DNR will not be able to require soil testing for toxins before dredging, raising the very real possibility that some dredging will release toxic chemicals into the water where children are swimming and where families are catching fish for their dinner.

Our members have sent thousands of messages to their legislators, urging them to oppose the Polluter Grab Bag. It is clear that constituents do not want this bill to become law.

Now, the fate of the Polluter Grab Bag is in the hands of decision makers inside the Capitol. We call on Senators to do the right thing for the people of Wisconsin and the beautiful lakes where we boat, fish, birdwatch, and play.”

Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on Environment and Forestry voted in favor of the Polluter Grab Bag in executive session. Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters was disappointed to see Representatives Mursau, Krug, Czaja, Kitchens, Swearingen, Edming, Brooks, and Allen vote in favor of the bill.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters will continue to unite the voices of fair-minded Wisconsinites who oppose the Polluter Grab Bag and continue to call on legislators to oppose this bill.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable, and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin’s public health and natural resources.

You can follow legislation impacting natural resources on our Conservation Vote Tracker, a real-time accountability tool that provides you with a complete picture of what conservation issues are in play and how legislators are performing: http://conservationvoters.org/vote-tracker/.

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