The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is making a major mistake by posting a notice on its website that it has received a revised application from the City of New Berlin for a Lake Michigan water diversion - - but not opening a comment period for the public.

In other words, the public cannot have a say in the DNR's review.

This perpetuates closed-door policy making when it comes to diversion activities: last year, the DNR received and sent a first application from New Berlin to the other Great Lakes states for review, but it took a disclosure by the State of Michigan many weeks later to reveal the application's existence.

The DNR has had the current application since March 7th, didn't announce that it had the paperwork, and to the best of my knowledge, the only prior disclosure of its existence, and any critique of its content, has appeared on this blog. (Note: Several posts about Great Lakes water issues are on that blog.)

Last year, The City of Waukesha twice sent confidential diversion permission requests to Gov. Jim Doyle as a complete end run around the Great Lakes Compact withdrawal process.

How much under-the-radar/public-be-damned policy review on Great Lakes water will the public tolerate?

New Berlin itself is already engaged in self-destructive activities with regard to its diversion desires because opposition to pending Great Lakes Compact amendments is centered in that city's legislative and business community leadership.

New Berlin wants diversion permission that the other seven Great Lakes Compact states must grant, but also wants to slow down or derail four years of Compact negotiations and collegial rule-making by those very same states.

How logical is that?

I also doubt that the other Great Lakes states will look favorably on a diversion proposal forwarded to them by the Wisconsin DNR that lacks maximum transparency and public input.

If I were a New Berlin resident, I'd be wondering why some of my local and regional leaders were behaving in such a self-defeating manner, and I'd also wonder why the DNR is essentially begging the other states to do what the State of Michigan did with New Berlin's first application in 2006.

Reject it.