Important hearing Oct 24--help us to protect local control !!

Senate Public Hearing
Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining, and Revenue
9:30 am Thursday, October 24, 2013
Capitol Building, Room 411 South

"Healthy communities are built through local planning: neighbors working together to decide what they value, how and where growth should occur, and what problems they want to solve; citizens electing representatives to enact policies that reflect their priorities; and businesses working with local leaders to address concerns about the impacts of their operations.

Through our work with local governments and private landowners, we have seen just how effective communities can be in working together to protect their own public health, safety, and welfare.

This way of life is under attack in Wisconsin. 

Yesterday afternoon, the state Senate announced that a hearing will be held tomorrow (Oct. 24) on SB 349, a sweeping bill that removes the ability of counties, cities, villages, towns, and other local districts to enact or enforce independent ordinances that govern water and air quality, and water quantity.

The bill forbids local governments from establishing standards, requiring permits, or requiring monitoring to protect air and water quality or water quantity unless the policy is specifically authorized by the legislature. In one broad sweep, with no local debate, this would invalidate a wide range of existing policies, including protections for inland wetlands administered by Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Langlade, Dane, Dodge, Door, Florence, Kenosha, Oconto, Price, Shawano, Waukesha, Washburn, and many other counties.

The bill also undermines local influence over the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine in northern Wisconsin and significantly erodes local governments' ability to protect citizens and local air and water from the ill-effects of non-metallic mining, including frac sand mining. In fact, it blatantly overturns a recent WI Supreme Court decision upholding the authority of Wisconsin towns to use tools other than zoning to regulate local industries.
 While we support enactment of statewide standards to ensure minimum land and water resource protections, we also believe that every community has a right to go above and beyond these minimum measures, as they see fit, to protect their citizens, natural resources, and quality of life.

Please join us in speaking against SB 349 and for maintaining local control of land and water resources by:

Erin O'Brien  
Wetland Policy Director

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