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Walker reins in water rules

Walker reins in water rules

By Lee Bergquist of the Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget bill proposal would roll back regulations designed to protect waterways from weed-producing phosphorus and other pollutants that wash from streets and construction sites.

The changes to water pollution rules – some of which were approved as recently as last summer – are coming under fire from environmentalists who say the existing regulations are needed to clean up lakes, rivers and streams.

Critics of Walker say his budget proposals also would unwittingly wipe out other pollution laws.

But the state Department of Natural Resources, which advanced the regulations under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, now says it needs to make changes to avoid heaping huge costs on municipalities and businesses.

“What we are trying to address are cities’ and companies’ concerns and still make sure we are addressing the phosphorus problem,” said Bruce Baker, administrator of the water division of the DNR.

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