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Ron Malzer

Malzer

How did such a thing happen? The short answer: a misguided and dangerous dependence on money by a number of elected officeholders.

Somehow, our previous governor and Legislature had decided that, while 15 eastern Wisconsin counties needed their groundwater protected from manure, southwestern Wisconsin did not. We can be very grateful to the private organization Clean Wisconsin for identifying the alarming status of well water in our region.

In his 2011 inaugural address, Scott Walker declared “Wisconsin is open for business.” State governments should promote opportunity by building infrastructure and developing a well-educated, highly skilled workforce.

Walker instead sent a signal to potential campaign contributors: State government is ready to overlook pollution. The work of our DNR has been severely clamped down on for the last eight years.

Sadly, the problem goes way beyond Wisconsin and groundwater contamination. The worldwide scientific community warns us: carbon emissions-driven climate change is already producing harm, with the tipping point for massive damage approaching quickly.

Every officeholder should be required to read, and every voter encouraged to read, the eight-page Summary Findings of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Issued the day after Thanksgiving, it represents four years of work by 1,000 individuals, including 300 of America’s leading scientists.

The report tells us that, barring a dramatic turn, we can expect every one of the following to increase: droughts, downpours and floods, and an increase in tick- and pest-transmitted illness: dengue fever, West Nile, Zika and Lyme diseases.

Also, barring changes, we should expect deteriorating surface water quality, and lowered agricultural productivity.

Finally, it predicts substantial climate change-driven damage to the U.S. economy, including “annual losses in some economic sectors … projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century.”

Clearly, the inactivity and promotion of destructive policies by many of our elected leaders is subjecting us to enormous economic and environmental risk.

President Trump is determined, despite dire scientific warnings, to pursue an aggressive policy of encouraging increased emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes. It’s as if a physician learned that a patient had lung cancer, and prescribed an increase in cigarette use.

The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is “to protect human health and the environment. EPA works to ensure that Americans have clean air, land and water, [and to assure that] national efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information.” During the last two years, this mission has been completely subverted by presidential appointments.

Trump-selected EPA leadership has aggressively promoted a pro-pollution agenda. Previously leading this campaign was former EPA Director Scott Pruitt, who’d described himself on his Oklahoma governmental website as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” Before being EPA director, Pruitt had filed multiple lawsuits attacking the EPA’s work.

Since July 5, Trump has left the EPA director position vacant. EPA is currently headed by acting administrator Andrew Wheelan, who spent eight years lobbying for increased fossil fuel use. From one company alone, Wheelan’s firm received $300,000 or more, annually, to promote the use of coal.

The fossil fuel industry pours billions of dollars into advocacy and elections to protect polluters. Koch Industries alone, with $110 billion in estimated annual net revenue and oil its largest focus, set aside up to $400 million for the November 2018 midterm elections, supporting candidates who oppose government regulation. Charles Koch has declared a goal of having the Koch Brothers’ policy advocacy and political contributions grow tenfold in the coming years.

The pro-pollution forces are winning, and decisively. We must fight back, because the stakes are enormous. In Wisconsin, we must demand that our new governor and Legislature implement measures to stop well contamination. The needs of our planet have to overcome the power of dark money to influence elections.

Nationally, we need to support the work of Citizens Climate Lobby. They advocate tirelessly for a market-friendly, carbon fee and dividend approach that would put a price on carbon emissions. This will facilitate an economically positive and fair way to transition from fossil fuels to sustainable forms of clean energy.

We all need to tell our leaders: Stop making the 21st century the era of greed-driven destruction of our planet. We don’t want to create a global climate that’s insect-friendly and hostile to humanity.

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Ron Malzer of La Crosse is a retired psychologist and a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

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(11) comments

Redwall

One would hope there is plenty all could agree on when it comes to protecting the environment. And it is regretful when protecting the environment is politicized, which is exactly the intent and result of Malzer’s crisis-babble.

The referenced groundwater study was important, and was conducted by the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the U.S. Agricultural Research Service (Mil Journal). Someone should inform Mr. Malzer those are both government agencies, the responsibility of Walker and Trump, respectively.

Even so, since this was the initial study, where was previous Dem Gov Do-nothing Doyle? Certainly, all this pollution didn’t happen overnight. Where was he? Well, doing nothing apparently.

Both Malzer and the Fibune award accolades to the Clean Wisconsin organization. CW has a politically neutral informational press release on its website about the study, but takes no credit for conducting or funding the study. In fact, the Mil Journal states the Counties surveyed paid for the study.

And so on. But one last thing, this entire article, as an exercise in editorial sock-puppetry, fails to mention any fix to “climate change” except higher taxes on greedy corporations.

Gee, that’ll fix it.

oldhomey

Gosh, Red, I am SO impressed and grateful that you are stepping forward and urging a bi-partisan effort to protect the environment. It is SUCH a relief that you point out that Scott Walker and Donald Trump on their watch were responsible for backing the research that went into this alarming report. Did you, by the way, read and comprehend the following that was in this column?:

"During the last two years, [the Environmental Protection Agency] mission has been completely subverted by presidential appointments.

"Trump-selected EPA leadership has aggressively promoted a pro-pollution agenda. Previously leading this campaign was former EPA Director Scott Pruitt, who’d described himself on his Oklahoma governmental website as 'a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.' Before being EPA director, Pruitt had filed multiple lawsuits attacking the EPA’s work."

As you might recall, Scott Walker in his two terms busily went about doing the same thing in Wisconsin, dismantling environmental law and decimating the stated agencies charged with implementing them.

What sort of "sock-puppetry" are you counting on from Trump and the Wisconsin GOP "when it comes to protecting the environment", as you so passionately state? Are you waiting for an actual fix-it, or are you blowing smoke while the fix goes in for the GOP special interests making their bundles at the expense of the environment and our children's futures?

Redwall

Your, err, writing, seems to indicate an echo from the Fibune to Malzer to Oldfoney to the Fibune once again.

Maybe you and Malzer should broaden your field of news intake. Even reading the liberal Milwaukee Journal would add a measure of balance to the errata printed by our local tabloid.

Do some research and get back to me when you can reference something that would not be dismissed outright by any conscious humanoid able to maintain a vertical position.

Have a good week.

oldhomey

Thank you SO much, Red, for specifically knocking down the points I made by showing how I, er, erred. Oh, wait! You didn't address any specific point I made, you simply muttered something about me being a liberal who does not do the outstanding research and bring out the relevant facts and evidence that proves your position to be so unassailable. Gosh, I hate being bested, but what chance do I have when I am up against such a genius as you are, and you're so tremendously skilled and informed on top of that!?

oldhomey

I guess after being called out for his silly, empty 12:45pm response, Red is unable to say anything credible in his own defense and has retreated into the weeds, hoping the rest of us will forget his cowardice while this string ages out.

oldhomey

You get what you pay for. In this case, for the self-dealing nastiness of Scott Walker and Donald Trump the public will pay for it in the neck with bad health, bad water and the bitter residue of political hackery run amok.

Rick Czeczok

Blah blah blah

oldhomey

What, no insane laughter? Did you try the meds, Ricky?

martian2

Who cares about science. That's just a grand conspiracy from the lefties to make Al Gore richer than Trump. Science is just a tool for the left wing to dictate to us how we should live our lives, and no by golly we shouldn't stand for that. Why we should be able to dump all the pollutants we want into the water and air and soil just so we can create another job and make the rich richer. And anyone who thinks different is just another one of those socialists who want to turn our country into another Venezuela.

Rick Czeczok

How many times are you going to post this? Forget how to type, so back to cut and paste.

martian2

when I do a master piece, as I do often, I like to share with as many as I can there ricky boy. How many times are you gonna post without saying anything intelligent? That blah blah thing you got going is a classic, a perfect childish tantrum when you don't have a clue.

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