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Discussions, news, and events about the environment in Wisconsin.

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Thursday, May 24 2018

Gravity Of Precedent Fuels Challenge To Foxconn's Lake Michigan Bid

map of diversion

Wisconsin's decision to let Foxconn draw water from Lake Michigan may set a precedent for water use that resonates across the Great Lakes region and beyond. But an emerging challenge to it is really a battle over how to interpret the Great Lakes Compact, the 10-years-young eight-state agreement that governs access to one of the world's most voluminous supplies of freshwater.

Hi-Crush incident update - metals release into river

Hi Crush Spillage

The at the Hi-Crush facility in Whitehall released 10 million gallons of (primarily) water, silt, clay, and sand from a retaiing pond at the site. The release flowed through a local creek and into the Trempealeau river, depositing silt and mud on local farmers fields in the process.

Legal Challenge filed to Foxconn water diversion

Great Lakes Map

On 5/25 Midwest Environmental Advocates filed a suit to challenge the recent DNR approval of diverting water from Lake Michigan to suppy the upcomfing Foxconn project.  The gist of the suit is that the DNR mis-interpreted the provision in the Great Lakes Compact allowing water diversions. The compoact requires that water diversions be made for public water supply purposes. Racine had argued that since the city primarily uses residential water that the diversion was appilcable.

Hi-Crush spill slowly pouring into the Mississippi

Spill in Trempeauleau River

I happened to be in Perrot State Park yesterday, and as we were driving up to the park I immediately notieced the plume of yellow silty water flowing into the MIssissippi from the Trempealeau River. The yellow flow of water is slowly starting to disappear into the Mississipi as it becomes diluted, but there is still a fairly heavy flow of silt coming in.

Still little information from Hi-Crush incident yesterday

Field Spillage

The spill from the pond at Hi-Crush yesterday is currently moving down the Trempealeau River toward the MIssissippi and is reportedly still visible. 

Unknown Environmental Damage from Hi-Crush incident today

Hi Crush Spill

Contaminated stream from holding pond breach at Hi-Crush Whitehall frac sand mining facility 5-21-2018

An incident at the Hi-Crush Frac Sand Facility in Whitehall today was widely covered in state news.

Menomonie Sustainability Forum

Environmental Sustainability Forum

A panel of local leaders discuss the advances they have made in sustainability, and those they intend to implement in the future. A  Q&A session followed. The panel includes Randy Eide (Menomonie Public Works Dept.), Ron Verdon (Tainter-Menomin Lake Assoc.), Eric Turner (Dunn Co. Development), Amanda Haffele (Solid Waste & Recycling), Dan Prestebak (Dunn Co. Conservation), Jody Hagman (Men. Chamber of Commerce), and Laura Donovan (UW Stout Sustainability).

When the Hills are Gone - A Review

Thomas Pearson

I recently read When the Hills Are Gone - a book about the sand mining activists in Wisconsin during the period of the frac sand boom. The author, Thomas W. Pearson, is an associate professor of anthropology at UW-Stout. A disclaimer - I've known Tom for years, particularly since the frac sand activist period documented in this book. 

Why One Scientist Has Divergent Views On Wisconsin's Great Lakes Diversions

Foxconn Diversion Map

If it is possible to be a fan of Waukesha's plan to tap Lake Michigan for drinking water, John Skalbeck is among their ranks. A professor of geosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Skalbeck specializes in hydrogeology, a field of study chiefly concerned with groundwater.

When Great Lakes Water Is 'Public' And When It Isn't

Community members and advocacy groups opposing the bid by Foxconn and the city of Racine for Lake Michigan water are zeroing on a specific issue: The request amounts to a water utility sourcing the Great Lakes almost entirely for the use of one private company.