Walker blames Barrett for sewage dumps

    Milwaukee County Executive and Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker today blamed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate for governor, for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s sewage overflows into Lake Michigan, which has occurred several times during heavy rainstorms.

    Walker leveled the criticism as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was in Milwaukee today to meet with local leaders, water officials and scientists to discuss water innovation and conservation efforts.

    Walker is blaming Barrett for the sewer overflow because his office appoints most of the individuals that oversee the MMSD.

    The MMSD is run by a commission made up of eleven members. Seven of the commission members are appointed by the mayor of the City of Milwaukee. The other four commission members are appointed by the Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC) which is composed of the mayors and village presidents of the Milwaukee County suburban municipalities (excluding South Milwaukee).

    8.2 billion gallons of sewage has been dumped into Lake Michigan during Barrett’s tenure, Walker’s campaign said today.

    “It’s pure hypocrisy that President Obama’s environmental police are coming to town for a photo op with pals Tom Barrett and (Governor) Jim Doyle and the schedule of events doesn’t include a tour of the billions of gallons of raw sewage and storm water Barrett’s sewerage district dumped into Lake Michigan,” said Gilkes. “Tom Barrett is Wisconsin’s biggest polluter, dumping over 8.2 billion gallons into Lake Michigan since taking office – polluting our lake with nearly 40 times more pollution than the BP oil spill. It’s time to flush out the truth from Barrett about why he’s done nothing to stop polluting the lake.”

    Barrett’s campaign said Walker has done nothing to address the sewage dumping problems during his tenure as Milwaukee County Board executive.

    “It’s ironic that Scott Walker is deciding now to weigh in he has been silent on the issue for years," said Barrett campaign spokesman Phil Walzak. "He’s never even bothered to attend the commission meeting to either help solve issues or raise concerns and he is part of the issue as well since Milwaukee county itself owns 39 miles of sanitary sewers which is more than the other communities in the area. And basically he is trying to make an issue out of the fact that this region suffered a 100 year storm three weeks ago he is trying to score political points off that and that is pretty shameless. Also the fact that somebody should ask Scott Walker where his plan is solve this because cost estimates have suggested that this would be about $8 or $9 billion to make the upgrades necessary to stop these overflows and we are all waiting for the Walker plan to fund those repairs for $9 billion. Whenever he gets around to actually offer some real ideas we will be eager to hear them.”

    After opening the State Fair this morning, Gov. Jim Doyle joined Jackson and Barrett for a lakefront event at Discovery World promoting the city’s water innovation and conservation efforts. Organizers of the event touted UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Science and EPA’s commitment to protect the nation’s waters. Jackson was to sign a research agreement with UWM focusing on cleaning and conserving water.

    Jackson joined Doyle, Barrett and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago at a press conference to discuss water policy and a budding water tech industry. Jackson also was slated to visit the state fair.

    “EPA Administrator Jackson’s visit is an excellent opportunity for Wisconsin to showcase its national and global leadership in water quality and water security technology,” said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton. “UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Science is a prime example of how Wisconsin universities, research institutions and small businesses are working to advance our economy and create jobs, while addressing a basic necessity here and abroad – maintaining and protecting clean water. The federal government has an important role to play in helping make sure Wisconsin stays on the cutting edge of this field, including strong investments in the research and development efforts of small businesses, universities and research institutions. Not only would this help address a global need, but it will also help drive job creation in Wisconsin and fuel innovation and long term economic development.”
    -BizTimes Milwaukee and WisPolitics.com

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