LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF WISCONSIN JOINS MIDWEST ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES LAWSUIT AGAINST WI DNR FOR DIVERTING LAKE MICHIGAN WATERS
MADISON – The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWV WI) joins the Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) in objection to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) April 25, 2018 approval of the City of Racine’s request to divert Lake Michigan waters to the Village of Mount Pleasant on behalf of Foxconn. The DNR’s April 25th decision is not in the long-term economic and environmental interest of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region.
Approval of the Racine withdrawal is not an innocuous agency action. This permit is in violation of the Great Lakes Compact (GLC) and sets a precedent for future water withdrawals that threatens the sustainability of Lake Michigan and the region. Racine is the first and only request for withdrawal by a community that straddles the Divide of the Great Lakes Basin. The problem is this action violates a key compact requirement that withdrawals by straddling communities be “solely for the Public Water Supply Purposes within the straddling Community.” (Article 4, Section 9, 1.)
Louise Petering, LWV WI Board of Director, notes, “The proposed withdrawal will not serve primarily residential customers but is clearly earmarked for the private Foxconn industrial project. This violates the Compact and sets a precedent for multiple, non-compliant, withdrawal requests by straddling communities that lie not only along Lake Michigan’s 1640 mile shoreline, but also along 4530 miles of Great Lakes’ shoreline. This precedent, if allowed to stand, undoes a core provision of the Compact, essentially unraveling the international agreement and will do undetermined damage to the sustainability of the Great Lakes.”
The League joins others in challenging the Wisconsin DNR’s permit that would allow Racine to withdraw an average of 7 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan, largely for private industrial business purposes. Petering cites that, “the League believes that the GLC, signed into law in by President G.W. Bush on October 3, 2008, significantly supports the long standing League positions of an ‘environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest,’ and that policies must consider the ‘environmental, … and economic impacts of proposed plans and actions.’"
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is a nonpartisan organization, advocating for informed and active participation in government. The League welcomes women and men across the state as members. The League never endorses any political party or candidate, but it does take positions on key policy issues.