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Great Lakes Article:

Rep. Black: Clean Lakes and Rivers Proposal Sought in Budget
Posted June 21, 2005

A measure to increase efforts to prevent pollution of our lakes and rivers will be proposed when the state Assembly considers the budget later this week. Representative Spencer Black announced today that he will introduce an amendment to the state budget to substantially increase funding to prevent polluted runoff from fouling lakes and streams in Wisconsin.

"Our lakes, rivers and streams are one of our valuable assets in Wisconsin. However, our waterways are being degraded by increased runoff pollution. Runoff pollution is causing fish kills and excess weed and algae growth that are detracting from our enjoyment of our waters," Black noted.

Black said he will introduce a budget amendment to provide $19.7 million in funding to control runoff pollution. The funding would assist farmers to prevent runoff from fields and barnyards as well as to limit runoff pollution in urban areas. Funding in the Black amendment would be 51% greater than the $13 million included for that purpose in the budget proposed by the Joint Finance Committee.

"We don't have to look far to see why we need this funding. The manure spill into the West Branch of the Sugar River in Dane County this past spring that caused a massive fish kill and the recent scientific report that indicated that Madison's famous lakes could remain polluted for hundreds of years are vivid examples of why we must do more to protect our rivers, lakes and streams, Black said.

"Polluted runoff is the largest source of water pollution in Wisconsin. Ninety percent of our lakes, 40 percent of our streams, and the Great Lakes are harmed by runoff pollution. Wisconsin made a good start on this problem in 2002 by passing strong rules to curb polluted runoff from farm fields, and urban areas. The rules cover agriculture, construction, urban areas, and transportation. However, implementation of the rules has never been adequately funded. It is time to step up and protect our Wisconsin waters in this budget, Black concluded.

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