KATHLEEN VINEHOUT
PEOPLE FIRST

ENVIRONMENT

“We put people first when our air, water, natural resources are preserved and enhanced for everyone’s use and enjoyment. We put people first when our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren inherit the blessings of the land, sky and water from us. Their future welfare is our obligation.”
–Kathleen Vinehout

 

Environmental policy can be quite simple. Don’t put pollutants into the air for others to breathe. Don’t put contaminants into water for those downstream to drink. Go back to having DNR run by an independent Secretary appointed by the Natural Resources Board rather than a Secretary appointed by the Governor. Restore authority to the Conservation Congress.

Rehire all the scientists who have been fired. Put them to work addressing problems like climate change and chronic wasting disease. Monitor our groundwater across the state. Hire enough employees to monitor and enforce our regulations. Let scientists share their research on our state websites.

One of the goals for our state’s environmental policy should be what economists call “internalizing costs”. All of the costs associated with producing a product or engaging in an activity should be borne by the person or company producing the product or doing the activity. We are all taught as children that we should clean up our own mess, wash our own dishes, make our own beds. We should expect nothing less from all those who live, work or run businesses in our communities.

Sand mines shouldn’t release small particles for neighbors to breathe. They shouldn’t put arsenic into the ground water that kills the horse on the farm next door. High capacity wells shouldn’t make surrounding wells dry. CAFOs shouldn’t contaminate the groundwater with nitrates and e. coli.

We don’t avoid costs by not cleaning up – we just shift them. Energy companies may have saved money by not limiting emissions on coal fired power plants 30 years ago. But, we are paying a lot more today rebuilding communities in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico devastated by the increasingly violent storms associated with climate change.

It’s time to stop shifting costs. Mother Nature is already overburdened.

 

Read More About This Topic in Kathleen's Columns

 

2009-01-21 Wind and Cows Work Well Together

2016-06-29 Delight in the Sun

2010-03-24 Is That Stinky Electricity?

2017-03-21 Are Waters in Wisconsin Meeting Water Quality Standards?

2013-11-22 Deer Hunting and Wisconsin's Tradition of Conservation

2017-04-26 High Capacity Well Proposal Makes Water Problems Worse

2016-02-10 Keep Private Water Companies OUT of Wisconsin

2017-01-11 New DNR Report Who Should Pay to Protect and Encourage Fish and Wildlife

2016-02-24 People Make a Difference Despite Haste at Capitol

2017-11-22 The Zen of Deer Hunting

2016-03-01 The Latest Attempt to Privatize Our Waters

2018-02-21 Removing Wetland Protections Needs Serious Deliberation

2016-03-10 Speed and Secrecy Versus Deliberative Democracy 2018-04-18 What Can We Do to Protect Our Water?
2016-03-23 The Next Well That Goes Bad Might Be Yours 2018-05-30 Sand Mine Spill Exposes the Consequences of Poor Regulation
2016-06-08 Audit Raises Questions About Clean Water Protection