Commentary: What About Wisconsin’s Environment?

Gary Wilson is worried about Wisconsin’s environment. The former co-editor of the Great Lakes Town Hall and board chair of  The Biodiversity Project says Wisconsin’s Governor isn’t just upsetting public employee unions, but environmentalists as well. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed rolling back some environmental regulations in his state to cut costs, including loosening the regulation of phosphorus runoff from fertilizer and ending Wisconsin’s mandatory recycling program. Those suggestions, among others, inspired Wilson, a former finance executive at United Airlines, to write a commentary for the Great Lakes Echo to protest them.

I recently spoke to Mr. Wilson about his thoughts:

Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo by Jeremy M. Farmer.

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Changing Gears made repeated attempts to contact  Walker’s office to see if officials had read the commentary and had any thoughts on it. Our calls were not returned, and our emails were not answered. We’ll be happy to include a response if one arrives.

3 Replies to “Commentary: What About Wisconsin’s Environment?”

  1. Interesting commentary linked below from the AFL-CIO on why labor and enviro groups should work together.

    They’ve got more in common than would appear on the surface. I haven’t been able to understand why Great Lakes region enviro groups are sitting on the sidelines as environmental protections are rolled back in Wisconsin. National labor groups engaged.

    http://blog.aflcio.org/2011/02/21/attack-on-labor-six-reasons-sustainability-activists-should-care/

    Gary Wilson

  2. Wisconsin environmental groups have been in the thick of it in Wisconsin every day since Walker took office, from the early attack on wetlands, to the recent maneuvering to enact this legislation through more than questionable abuses of our open meetings law. Sierra Club John Muir Chapter has an excellent profile of all the damage the “budget bill” will do to the environment on their Web site and Facebook posts. Many of us from many environmental groups have been shoulder-to-shoulder in the demonstrations with brothers and sisters in dozens of unions and the tens of thousands of other concerned citizens because we know we are all in this together: public workers, all union workers, the poor, the disabled, farmers, new mothers and their infants, the uninsured, and, as one video puts it “anyone who drinks water.” Now, our attention is focused on the upcoming April 5 election and the upcoming recalls. We know this is about our way of life, our democracy, and our common future.

  3. Jane,

    You’re right about Wisconsin enviro groups being in the thick of the fray.

    But as I said in the interview and in my original commentary, the regional (Great Lakes) environmental groups haven’t spoken out. The Healing Our Waters coalition is especially conspicuous by its silence.

    It is a large and high-profile coalition and the enviro rollbacks in Wisconsin are diametrically opposed to their goals. Minimally I would expect a condemnation of Wisconsin events. Their response is that are focused on securing federal funding for the Great Lakes.

    Compare this with the national labor organizations who publicly and on national TV supported Wisconsin’s workers.

    Gary Wilson

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