Approval For Wetland and Forest Pumping Given Nod By Governor
Madison – As upheaval continues in response to Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget repair bill, the governor continues to move forth in his efforts to bring the state of Wisconsin's finances into the black from a projected budget shortfall in 2011. The governor announced yesterday his plans to back initiatives that will join state and private interests in utilizing existing Wisconsin natural resources to bring additional funds to state government coffers.
In an announcement delivered to a largely unattended press conference outside the DNR head offices on Friday, Secretary Cathy Stepp outlined plans for the state to join forces with the corporate entity Invista and the WCPA (Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association) to open aquifers on or under state controlled lands to pumping with the purpose of extracting drinking water. “This clean, pure, and locally produced drinking water will be bottled in Wisconsin and sold here and in markets throughout the Midwest,” Stepp said.
She noted that as the quality of municipally produced drinking water continues to come into question, that the state has been blessed with a largely untouched and under utilized clean water resource. Stepp stated that Wisconsin has 5.3 million acres of wetlands, many of which are on fully state owned property. This goes along with the 37% of public acreage that is county and state controlled forest. “The Governor has said that Wisconsin is open for business,” Stepp stated. “He has made it clear that we will utilize all economic opportunities available to us and that our natural resources will be used to benefit and assist the hardworking tax payers of Wisconsin.”
Invista Corporation, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, is a world leader in the production of polyethylene (PET) containers and has been granted a state contract to begin construction of four bottling sights within Wisconsin. The first two of these bottling plants are slated to be located near Rhinelander and Ladysmith, but are still subject to state approval.
The governor's report on this pumping initiative indicated that many of the proposed pumping sights are located within wilderness areas of state and county forests. The Wisconsin Concrete Paving Association has been given exclusive rights to contract out offers for leveling and construction of roads to connect pumping sights to existing state and county highways.
“The benefits of these new roads will be three-fold,” Stepp said. “They will connect pumping sites with existing roads, they will boost local economies with new jobs, and they will provide potential future access for the forestry industry.” Stepp stated that the WCPA will grant these contracts as they deem fit as 'no-bid' offers. She noted that this will streamline the construction process by eliminating the lengthy deliberation that often accompanies distribution of state contracts.
Per the governor's report, this new state produced drinking water should be available for sale in late 2011 at a variety of retail outlets.