League of Women Voters Oppose AB/SB 24

League of Women Voters

612 W. Main Street, #200     Phone: (608) 256-0827     http://www.lwvwi.org 

Madison, WI  53703   lwvwisconsin@lwvwi.org  


November 3, 2011 


To:    Assembly Committee on Natural Resources 

 Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Environment 


Re:     Opposition to Special Session SB 24/AB 24 


The League of Women Voters believes government must welcome and encourage the informed and 

active participation of the citizens it serves. League members are particularly concerned that Special 

Session SB 24/AB 24 may impact agency and public review of large and complex projects, such as 

mining. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin opposes any new legislation that weakens 

environmental protections or reduces opportunities for citizen comment or legal redress. 


The changes this bill proposes, when taken as a whole, significantly reduce public access to 

information and the public's ability to provide input into proposed projects. For Chapter 30 permits, this 


Shortens public notice and comment periods 

Allows the comment period to begin before all information about a project is collected by the 

Department of Natural Resources 

Establishes presumptive approval if the DNR does not approve or deny a permit application 

within a certain timeline 

Gives the DNR the ability to deny a public hearing if it finds that there is not "significant public 

interest" in a project 

Gives the DNR authority to issue general permits instead of individual permits 

Eliminates most newspaper notices and puts them in an undetermined location on the 

department’s "internet Web site." 


Having publicly-available information about projects affecting our environment and providing meaningful 

public input into those projects is a central tenet of environmental law. This bill would remove both 

elements from DNR's regulation over dredging, filling, and building structures in Wisconsin's 



In Wisconsin, our abundant water is one of our most valuable natural resources. The DNR is 

responsible for ensuring that these waters are held in public trust. This bill would remove important 

legal protections and processes which ensure that the DNR is able to openly, transparently, and 

properly administer the Chapter 30 program.  


The League of Women Voters opposes changes to the information-gathering powers of the DNR, the 

notice and comment requirements, authority for issuing general permits, and the presumptive 



We urge you to reject this bill. Thank you.