Monday, January 31, 2011

Wis. Assembly committee passes wetland exemption-Bloomberg

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Northeast Wisconsin dealer would be allowed to fill in a marshy area near Lambeau field without a permit under a bill approved Thursday by a Republican-controlled Assembly Committee.

Natural resources Committee Democrats railed against the Bill, calling the measure a printed dealer John Bergstrom and an end run around a legal challenge that environmentalists have filed against the project.

"They want their day in the Court of administrative law. Who are we to say no? " Rep Chris Danou, D-Trempealeau, screamed at colleagues. "It's not what I signed up for. We are here to craft policies that govern the State favors, not special. "

Republicans argued that the Bill would help jump-start the project and create jobs. The Committee ultimately passed the measure on a party-line vote of 9-6, paving the way for a vote before the full Assembly.

"Yes, a few plants can die, especially invasive species," said Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc. "We all should be OK with that, because now is the time for creating jobs."

Bergstrom, who runs based on Neenah Bergstrom Automotive, wants to fill on an acre and a half of wetland-between US Highway 41 and the stage of the Green Bay Packers. It is not clear what kind of development would go on the plot, although lawmakers believe Bergstrom is paving the way for a Bass Pro Shop.

It was not immediately return a message left at Headquarters for Bergstrom. In response to an investigation into whether Bass Pro Shop, expected to open a shop on the parcel, spokesman for the company Larry Whiteley said in a statement that the company has not committed to anything, but does not support harm wetlands "wherever they might be."

The Department of natural resources State last year approved a permit for the project. A water specialist based in Green Bay Agency recommended approval, saying that would fill the value, but DNR wetland water Division Director Bruce Baker said other editors Agency has approved the plan.

He ultimately decided to grant permission after Bergstrom agreed to restore and protect the remaining wet surface and provide educational materials about the wetlands of the site. Invasive species could overload the package over the next decade, if nothing is done, he added.

The Association of Wisconsin wetlands, but challenged the permission before an administrative law judge. The group argues that the DNR has not followed its Protocol standard permit approval and the project would harm a high quality wetland. This process is still ongoing.

Enter the Republican Governor Scott Walker. Introduced a law as part of its special legislative session on the work of this month that would exempt development on the parcel by wetlands.

The measure would essentially Bergstrom to go ahead and render challenge questionable of wetlands.

Bergstrom contributed $ 1,000 and $ 1,250 for Walker, Tom Barrett, a Democrat who ran against Walker for Governor last year.

Walker said that the Bill is meant to relieve companies from over-regulation. Erin O'Brien, Director of policy for the Group of wetlands called the measure an outrage. Said that the Group of his right of appeal.

"It is not the task of the legislator to decide," he said. "Perhaps we made a mistake, perhaps we are right, but ... this term is going to rewrite the law to benefit from this particular applicant."

Republicans amended the Bill Thursday that it would apply only to the plot that Bergstrom is concerned, dismiss the criticism that the exemption would apply to wetlands throughout the County of Brown.

Republicans stuck to their mantra of job creation, adding that respect the bargain Bergstrom and the DNR reached to revitalize the remaining wetland.

Danou attempted to refute the argument that creating jobs with a half-joke, suggesting that lawmakers should exempt cars by State speed limits to stimulate sales. He admonished his colleagues that the approval of the Bill would encourage people throughout the State to turn to legislators for relief each time a State Agency is an unpopular decision.

"We'll be here a lot. You can probably count on using all day everyday, "said Danou.

But Rep. Roger Rivard, R-Rice Lake, said seeking a law is part of the repair process.

Copyright ? 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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