Comments and opinions by WEAL members
|Posted by WEAL on June 26, 2015 at 6:20 AM|
As you may have read, there is a lot of controversy over the Transportation portion of the State Budget. The West Waukesha Bypass is in jeopardy. We can't let up now!
Do you have 15 minutes to make some phone calls before the 4th of July?
Click on the link below and call as many Finance Committee members as possible starting on Friday. Every call will help.
Ask the legislator called to:
Please respond to this e-mail and let me know how many calls you make. This will help us monitor activity and plan next steps.
Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass
|Posted by WEAL on June 25, 2015 at 10:45 AM|
Action Needed Soon: Waukesha Water Diversion
In May 2015, WisDNR put this on its website:
“The DNR plans to release drafts of the Technical Review and EIS in June 2015 and expects to hold public hearings this summer. A public comment period of 45 days or longer will begin when the draft Technical Review and draft EIS are released. A full description of the public participation process is available on the ‘Public Participation’ tab.”
At this time, Wis DNR also released a series of documents from late 2014 to May 2015. “The ‘Proposal’ tab includes the City of Waukesha’s application submitted to the DNR on October 14, 2013 and subsequent documents submitted to the DNR by the City of Waukesha in response to agency questions.” You can download these documents via the DNR website.
WEAL and its partners in the Wisconsin Compact Implementation Coalition (CIC) have had a singular mission since the legal adoption of the Great Lakes Compact in 2008: to ensure a thorough legal, economic, environmental and public review of the first application for an out-of-basin diversion of Great Lakes waters under the Compact, in full recognition of the precedent-setting impacts of this first application. To that end, we will continue to insist on a complete and exact adherence to the high standards set forth in the Great Lakes Compact.
We need your help in the upcoming months to:
· Attend and make your public comment at the series of public meetings WiDNR will hold in the next two months.
· Comment in writing to WiDNR.
· Write letters to the editor in support of respecting the Great Lakes Compact, preserving the water resources of the Great Lakes, and protecting the local water resources in the City of Waukesha and the towns surrounding it.
Watch this website for an announcement of the DNR’s documents release. A CIC website of documents and information will be launched very soon and notice of that will go out as well.
If you have information to share or other ways you’d like to support this work, please contact:
|Posted by WEAL on June 25, 2015 at 10:35 AM|
A Perfect Storm
by Allen Stasiewski
WEAL Transportation Team Leader
A Perfect Storm is brewing around highway funding, WisDOT and unnecessary road expansions such as the Waukesha West “Bypass.” This makes for an ideal time for WEAL and our partners, the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass, to file a lawsuit to stop this unnecessary road expansion once and for all.
Events occurring now and recently that have created these Perfect Storm conditions include:
· A legal victory by 1000 Friends of Wisconsin (which relied heavily on the precedent-setting Hwy J & WEAL ruling) that stopped the expansion of Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth due to the DOT’s use of unsupported, inflated traffic forecasts and population projections of 200% to “sell” the project.
· State highway funding shortfall and the reluctance of Republican legislators to borrow millions or to raise taxes to pay for continued highway expansions. (This is currently holding up passage of the state budget.)
· Increasing citizen pressure to scale back the billion-dollar I-94 expansion project.
· Citizen opposition to out-of-control highway spending while existing roads and bridges go unmaintained.
· Studies that show Millennials are more interested in public transportation and are less committed to vehicle ownership.
· An aging driving population.
· Driving is down overall and most notably in southeast Wisconsin.
· WisDOT dial-back of other road maintenance such as mowing and removal of animal carcasses.
· People are beginning to see that WisDOT's highway building binge is unsustainable, especially when juxtaposed with extreme funding cuts to public education, the UW System, the state parks system and DNR science.
Watch this website for upcoming news regarding the filing of the lawsuit.
Funding Needed to Fight
To put a silver stake through the heart of this “Bypass” Zombie, we’ll need money, plain and simple. The top notch Washington D.C . legal team we’ve hired won’t come cheaply. But they have experience in successfully challenging the Federal Highway Administration in other legal proceedings. And WEAL and our partners have experience in fighting off road expansions.
WEAL has committed $10,000 in a challenge grant and the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass has committed to raising $10,000 in matching funds. We're well on our way, but and we'll need to continue to raise funds raise to fight. Please join us in fighting this unneeded, poor excuse for a road expansion. All donations are welcome.
or by mail to:
PO Box 1532
Brookfield WI 53008
Over the past several years WEAL and our partners have done much to fight the “Bypass.”
· Created a Coalition of residents along the “Bypass” route as well as outside of the route.
· Created a Steering Team of active dedicated “Bypass” opponents.
· Testified at county, city and town board meetings.
· Testified at budget meetings and public hearings directly related to the “Bypass”, and others on general transportation funding and other proposed road projects.
· Read and reviewed hundreds of pages of impact statements.
· Wrote dozens of letters and sound-offs to the newspapers.
· Wrote detailed comments to both the Draft EIS and Final EIS as public input.
· Created a robust Facebook page packed with information.
· Printed and distributed No Bypass yard signs and T-shirts with the No Bypass logo.
· Organized several public rallies including a T-Shirt rally at Waukesha's Farmers market and a rally at the Waukesha County Courthouse (in the rain!) to coincide with a County Board meeting.
· Sent several hundreds of e-mails to Waukesha public officials, DOT officials, EPA officials and Federal Highway Administration over these past two years.
· Generated hundreds of signatures on petitions against the “Bypass”. Testified at county, city and town board meetings.
|Posted by WEAL on June 25, 2015 at 7:00 AM|
We are fighting to stop the DOT from building the West Waukesha Bypass and we need your help! Your donation of any amount will help...
Waukesha County Action League (WEAL) and the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass will be filing a lawsuit to stop the West Waukesha Bypass within the next several weeks!
(Melted Snow. The jar on left is from a snow drift in a back yard. The jar on the right is from a snow drift along the East Bypass near Saylesville Rd.)
These types of lawsuits can cost a lot of money. The DOT has tons, we don't. But thankfully WEAL has created a $10,000 matching fund to fight the Bypass. Now, in order to take full advantage of these matching dollars we need to raise the entire $10,000. Right now every $1 you donate is worth $2. We have to act now! Won't you please help?
URGENT! ACT NOW
Can you help by donating any amount.... $5, $25, $50 or $100 - every dollar helps!
Click Here to Donate at WEAL.org
or by mail to :
PO Box 1532
Brookfield WI 53008
Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Do you have questions? Please call Allen Stasiewski at 414-507-8358
|Posted by WEAL on June 20, 2015 at 6:25 PM|
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules in Favor of OSGC By: Charlene Lemoine
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has released a ruling siding with the Oneida Seven Generations Corporation (OSGC) on a Conditional Use Permit for a pyrolysis staged-incinerator project the City of Green Bay initially granted, but later revoked.
The City of Green Bay’s decision to rescind the CUP was initially challenged in the Brown County Circuit Court. At the Circuit Court Green Bay argued numerous misrepresentations were made when the CUP was approved, including plans submitted to the City that lacked emission stacks and statements there would be no emissions. After approving the CUP Green Bay learned plans submitted to the WI DNR revealed 10 emission stacks with 3 having a height of 60 feet. The DNR permit also identified cadmium, arsenic, chromium, Dioxin/Furans, lead, mercury and other contaminants as potential emissions. The Brown Circuit Court agreed with the City’s action to revoke the CUP. However, the Circuit Court’s decision was reversed at the WI Court of Appeals, District III and ultimately the case was brought before the WI Supreme Court.
On 5/29/15 the WI Supreme Court’s opinion agreed with the Appeals Court stating “We conclude the City acted arbitrarily and without substantial evidence of misrepresentation when it revoked the CUP. Accordingly, we reverse.”
The Supreme Court also agreed “None of the statements on which the City relies can be reasonably interpreted as a promise that the facility would have no stacks or vents. Again, no reasonable person could believe that a gas-burning engine would not produce exhaust, which must be expelled from the facility.”
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack offered a Dissenting Opinion which in part states “I conclude (OSGC) has failed to meet its burden under certiorari review because a reasonable view of the presentations made March 1, 2011, when (OSGC) obtained the conditional use permit, supports the Common Council’s finding that it was misled. . . . Accordingly, I would reverse the court of appeals decision, affirm the circuit court’s affirmance of the Common Council decision, and respectfully dissent from the majority opinion.”
WEAL will continue networking with Incinerator Free Brown County, the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast WI and tribal members who have opposed the project being constructed on tribal lands, in the City of Green Bay or anywhere.
|Posted by WEAL on June 15, 2015 at 7:25 AM|
Dear Bypass Opponent,
Act now! Please send an e-mail to members of the Joint Finance Committee as soon as possible! The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to announce it's decision on the Transportation Budget this week. There are indications that they will not be agreeing to Governor Walker's entire proposal to borrow over a billion dollars to pay for highways in Wisconsin but we have to encourage them to cut back on highway expansion! Maintenance yes, Expansion, no!
Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass: Please Open!
Dear Finance Committee Member,
I have been watching the activities of the Joint Finance Committee with interest. I'm especially interested in the Transportation Budget and would like to offer my opinion. Please do not borrow money to pay for highways in Wisconsin. The only fiscally conservative option is for you to ask the DOT to place a moratorium on highway expansion projects and to use existing revenues to fix and maintain our crumbling highway bridges, pot holes, and deteriorating road surfaces. Please stop building new highways until we find a sustainable way to pay for the ones we have. I ask that you hold the DOT to the same standard that we as regular people are held to - ask them to live within their means! Please do not approve borrowing money to pay for highways!
Insert your name
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Joint Committee on Finance
|Posted by WEAL on June 12, 2015 at 11:15 PM|
Submitted to Green Bay Press Gazette on June 5:
It’s time for good neighbors to oppose all waste gasification projects
By Dean Hoegger and Leah Sue Dodge, Tribe Member, Oneida Tribe of Indians, WI
The recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision against Green Bay’s right to rescind a conditional use permit for a waste gasification surprised many, especially those who were present in January 2013 when Brown County Judge Marc Hammer listed in court numerous misleading and unproven claims made by Oneida Seven Generations Corporation (OSGC) representatives and ruled the City rightfully revoked the permit.
Those familiar with the problematic facts surrounding waste gasification versus the rosy picture painted for city officials celebrated the City’s right to hold companies accountable for false and unproven claims.
OSGC is owned by the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, and therefore a ‘corporation’ in name only as the Tribe has no corporate laws. OSGC owns its co-plaintiff, the misnamed Green Bay Renewable Energy, LLC (GBRE), which is registered through a series of LLCs as a tax shelter in the State of Delaware.
OSGC tried to promote waste gasification to four local communities, and each except Green Bay outright rejected OSGC’s proposals due to environmental and other concerns. Some Green Bay City officials were unfamiliar with the science behind environmental & health concerns about OSGC’s false and unproven claims until after the City had already issued a permit.
At the request of area residents, the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin (CWAC) provided evidence showing which OSGC’s statements to the City Council and the Planning Commission in meeting minutes were false or unproven. OSGC’s CEO, Kevin Cornelius, misrepresented the project as a closed looped system having no chemicals, no emissions, no stacks or chimneys, with chemical-free, organic-quality solid waste residues. Yet later EPA and DNR reports said stacks and chimneys were required, that there was no evidence the waste produced would be safe, and that the facility would routinely emit at least 18 hazardous pollutants – including dioxin – into Green Bay’s air . After being provided this factual information, the Green Bay City Council voted 7-5 to rescind the permit.
It’s interesting that in December 2000 the Oneida Business Committee (OBC) passed a Resolution to ask the U.S. State Department to halt the production of dioxin everywhere due to its disproportionally harmful impact on Native Americans. Yet, in 2010 and 2013 the OBC voted to allow and support OSGC building dioxin-emitting waste gasification plants on the Oneida Reservation.
When presented the facts about OSGC’s waste projects by Tribe member Leah Dodge in May 2013, the General Tribal Council (GTC) – made of all Tribe members age 21 & up who attend GTC meetings – voted to prohibit OSGC & its subsidiaries from engaging in waste gasification or ‘plastics-to-oil’ anywhere on the Oneida reservation. After OSGC was caught doing it anyway, GTC voted to dissolve OSGC in December 2013.
Certainly Oneidas who rejected waste gasification on the reservation don’t want family members exposed to those same risks in Green Bay neighborhoods, so who’s really behind OSGC’s lawsuit against the City of Green Bay to pursue waste gasification?
The Oneida Business Committee consists of four officers and five at-large council members who are elected – and can be removed – by GTC. All nine OBC members seem to support OSGC’s waste gasification proposals despite the clear opposition from the voting Tribal membership, and the OBC loaned OSGC & GBRE money to sue the City of Green Bay.
Considering OSGC’s efforts to falsely portray waste gasification as having no harmful environmental impact when it would emit the dioxin the OBC sought to have banned nationwide, Oneida Tribe members and Green Bay taxpayers all deserve an apology from the OBC for funding OSGC’s & GBRE’s appeal of the Circuit Court ’s finding. This has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees all around.
The OBC should also consider the possibility that even more people might join over 1,200 area residents who’ve signed a petition to boycott all Tribal businesses if the waste gasification plant is constructed.
Given other companies’ new efforts to site waste gasification in local areas, it’s time for all good neighbors from the Oneida reservation and the Green Bay area to work together to keep waste gasification out of every northeast Wisconsin neighborhood and focus on real solutions to landfills – including Zero Waste goals – rather than wasting resources fighting over what remain false and unproven claims about the safety and feasibility of waste gasification.
|Posted by WEAL on June 7, 2015 at 9:05 PM|
We've raised $2,000 o f our $10,000 g oal. We're 20% of the way there!
We need your help! Ca n you make a donation now !
This may be our last chance to stop the West Waukesha Bypass. All our work has led to this point! The DOT is on it's heels!
Waukesha County Action League (WEAL) with the assistance of the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass has hired a legal team to analyze the West Waukesha Bypass Environmental Action Statement (EIS). Our legal team has now sent us their legal opinion and we are preparing to file the necessary paperwork within the next several weeks. But we need your help to assist with legal fees. Won't you please help?
Join this fight, protect our quality of life, save the Pebble Creek Environmental Corridor and keep our neighborhoods safe!
URGENT! ACT NOW
This may be our last chance! Please donate any amount.... $5, $25, $50 or $100 - it all helps! Every dollar will help move us toward our goal. The West Waukesha Bypass will destroy wetlands, prime environmental corridor, split neighborhoods in two, cause increased traffic ( including lots more truck traffic), increase d noise and exhaust , higher speeds, and more. What it won't do, is improve safety.
Here to Donate: http://www.weal.org/bypassdonations.htm
or by mail to :
PO Box 1532
Brookfield WI 53008
|Posted by WEAL on May 20, 2015 at 6:55 AM|
This is the corridor's (Merrill Hills/Hwy TT) future if the West Waukesha Bypass is built!
This may be our last chance to stop the West Waukesha Bypass once and for all. All our work has led us to this point!
Waukesha County Action League (WEAL) with the assistance of the Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass has hired a legal team to analyze the West Waukesha Bypass Environmental Action Statement (EIS). We know through our own analysis that there are many problems with the EIS, but we needed expert help. And now we need your help to assist with legal fees moving forward. WEAL has graciously created a $10,000 matching fund to fight the Bypass. The initial analysis, being done right now by our legal team is costly but necessary. We estimate that we will need at least $10,000 to move forward with legal action. We've set an initial fundraising goal of $10,000 in order to take full advantage of the entire matching fund. This will give us a good start with a legal fund of $20,000. We have to act now! Won't you please help?
URGENT! ACT NOW
This may be our last chance! Please donate any amount.... $5, $25, $50 or $100 - it all helps! Every dollar will help move us toward our goal. The West Waukesha Bypass will destroy wetlands, prime environmental corridor, split neighborhoods in two, cause increased traffic (including lots more truck traffic), increase noise and exhaust, higher speeds, and much more. What it won't do, is improve safety. Just take the East Waukesha Bypass as an example. Is this section of the highway safer to drive than Merrill Hills/HwyTT? It Isn't! That is this corridor's future though, unless we stop the Bypass now!
Click Here to donate at http://www.WEAL.org
or by mail to:
PO Box 1532
Brookfield WI 53008
|Posted by WEAL on April 30, 2015 at 11:25 PM|
We need your support to defeat the West Waukesha Bypass.
We should be fixing our highway infrastructure not building new lanes through neighborhoods and primary environmental corridors. We need to build a strong legal case and we need resources to do this now if we’re going to win.
Our lawyers are preparing our legal plan right now and this costs money.
That’s why hitting our goals is so critical. We need to raise $10,000! Right now, we’re coming up short. Chip in $5 or $10, right now to help us get there!
Donate at www.weal.org Click onHelp stop the West Waukesha Bypass and then the Donate Button. Your donation is tax deductible.
Please help, we're counting on your support to fight the DOT's West Waukesha Bypass expansion plans in Waukesha County!
Coalition Opposed to the West Waukesha Bypass