Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day, Gov. Walker

Gaylord Nelson was a champion for conservation in Wisconsin.  As one of Wisconsin's US Senators he started Earth Day (April, 22, 1970),and he made numerous contributions to protecting our environment, including legislation that bought about the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.  He was instrumental in overseeing the preservation of thousands upon thousands of acres for Wisconsin parkland, including the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore of Lake Superior.   And he always believed that Wisconsin's greatest resources were its people and its natural resources.  It is a rich legacy for which the late, great statesman will always be known.

Scott Walker, unfortunately, has carved his own legacy.  Walker has promoted business at the expense of Wisconsin's environment.  Some of his proposals have included relaxing standards for water pollution (reducing weed-stemming phosphorous restrictions and run-off contamination), essentially eliminating farmland preservation, increasing road-building instead of promoting public transit (making cuts that will reduce public buses and halting the Madison-Milwaukee high speed rail), diverting money to transportation from a fund to clean up leaking underground gas tanks, and reducing incentives for putting land into conservation. Walker also requested changes in some wetlands protection (coincidentally on a parcel to be built upon by a major donor) and the elimination of subsidies for community recycling programs (while maintaining tipping fees charged for landfill use, which had been used to help fund those same recycling programs).

And that's just in his first four months.

Senator Nelson wouldn't recognize Wisconsin on this Earth Day.

Sadly, neither do I.

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