Tag Archives: Wisconsin

First Friday Film Feb 4: What’s All the Noise About? (Zoom Films & Discussion)

Two short documentaries, follow link for more info :

* Jetline: Voices from the Flight Path

* When the Jets Fly: New Warplanes Turn US Towns Into Sonic Hellscapes

Films & Discussion with:

~ Retired Air Force Colonel Rosanne Greco ~
Greco spent 30 years in active service specializing in strategic intelligence, nuclear weapons and arms control. Former chair of the South Burlington City Council and an active Unitarian Universalist. Greco has been fighting the basing of F-35s in Vermont for ten years.
~ Omar Poler ~
Poler lives in the Eken Park neighborhood of Madison and has been organizing with his neighbors to stop the F-35 “beddown” and protect water from PFAS contamination. He is a leader of Eken Park Resistance.
~ Terra Huey ~
Huey is the social media coordinator for the Sound Defense Alliance, a coalition of groups in Northwest Washington and the Salish Sea. SDA is recognized for getting Real-Time Noise Monitoring into the National Defense Authorization Act, passed last year by Congress.

WashPo Magazine: Lake Superior’s Forever Chemicals

Story and photographs by Shantal Riley
JANUARY 12, 2022

“A mass of gray clouds loomed over a panorama of humid wetlands in late summer on the Bad River Reservation in northern Wisconsin. Carpets of bright-green grass blanketed the glassy surface of the water, accented here and there by clusters of purple loosestrifea spiky invasive plant, as an aluminum skiff glided silently over the water. Edith Leoso, tribal historic preservation officer for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, leaned over the edge of the boat, running her hand across the bushy grass tips and loosening showers of wild rice. “If it sinks to the bottom, that means it’s ripe,” she said.

The wild rice is sacred to the Ojibwe, also called Chippewa. “We were from the East Coast, originally,” she told me. “There was a prophecy that said there would be a light-skinned race that would come across the great salt water. In their coming, they would bring destruction upon us. In order to maintain our way of life, to maintain who we were as a people, we would have to move to the West.” There would be signs along the way: “We would know when we arrived at our final stopping place when we saw food that grew on top of the water,” Leoso said. “That was our manoomin. … ‘Mino’ in our language is good, and ‘min’ is seed. So, ‘good seed.’ ”

The rice grows on the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs, which sit atop 16,000 acres of wetlands on the southern rim of Lake Superior. The area serves as a spawning ground for lake sturgeon, walleye, yellow perch and northern pike. Both fish and wild rice are staple foods of the Anishinaabe, as the Ojibwe call themselves.

 

Early last year, the state of Wisconsin issued a fish consumption advisory that recommended eating no more than one meal a month of Lake Superior rainbow smelt, caught by tribes and local anglers during smelt runs in the spring. It was the first advisory for any of the Great Lakes warning of fish with elevated levels of PFAS — perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of man-made chemicals linked to cancer that have shown up in drinking water systems around the country.

PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment. After years of industrial use, the federal government recently took steps to regulate them. But will it be enough to assure the safety of the Indigenous people who have fished on the lake for thousands of years — and depend on the fish for survival?

A few days earlier, I was in a small plane flying over the deep green forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The plane shook violently from turbulence as it approached Keweenaw Bay, a V-shaped inlet on the southern shore of the lake. A thin layer of smoke had settled on the water, blown in from wildfires burning hundreds of miles away in Canada.

 

The lake tribes live in close-knit communities that I knew I’d need help to access. So, I retained a local, Charlie Rasmussen, to advise me on various aspects of the trip: He warned me about spotty cellphone coverage, which roads were under construction and where deer liked to dart out in front of traffic; he also gave me leads on locals I could speak to about fishing. (He is a writer, photographer and communications officer for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nonprofit that supports member tribes through natural resources management, conservation and public information. But his work with me was in a freelance capacity.)

A rental car secured, I drove an hour south along Highway 41, to the L’Anse Reservation, where a pocket of woods was quiet but for water spilling over a mossy rock ledge. Jerry Jondreau was trying to catch brook trout on Silver River, which twists its way through the reservation. The reservation is home to the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), one of about a dozen bands, including the Bad River Band, who live around the lake.

 

 

The lake itself is often hailed for being the cleanest of the Great Lakes. But Jondreau said its pristine reputation is a misconception. “I can’t bring fish back to the family from the lake,” he explained. “We don’t eat as much fish as we used to.”

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake on Earth by surface area, spanning a vast 31,700 square miles. Surrounded by dense forests and relatively sparse populations, more than 80 species of fish live in its cold, remote waters. While the fish are abundant, they’re rife with contaminants: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, the pesticide toxaphene — all linked to cancer — and mercury, left behind as a legacy of mining in a rugged region known as Copper Country. There are enough pollutants now circulating in the great lake that Michigan lists more than a dozen consumption advisories for its fish, and the pollution runs headlong into areas where tribes practice subsistence fishing.

On a windy August afternoon, the choppy waters around Lake Superior’s Madeline Island glittered with flecks of sunshine. Boats headed north, fishing poles straining toward wakes churning behind them. In 2019, Wisconsin scientists took samples from fish swimming near the island, considered the spiritual homeland of the Ojibwe. Six fish species had detectable levels of PFAS — and rainbow smelt had an average of seven times the amount of PFAS that were found in the other fish, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It was enough to trigger the January 2021 consumption advisory for Wisconsin waters. Two months later, Minnesota and Michigan followed suit with their own advisories.

PFAS were introduced to Americans in the 1940s. Prized for their resistance to heat, oil and water, they were key ingredients in products like Scotchgard and Teflon. Today, they’re found in food packaging, carpets, furniture, clothing, makeup and everyday household items like dental floss. They’re used on an industrial scale in nonstick and waterproof coatings, electronics, degreasers and fire foams. The chemicals have been linked to a host of serious health problems: high cholesterol, liver damage, suppression of the immune system, thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancer, among others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some take years to be eliminated from the human body.

“They dissolve easily in water,” says environmental engineer Christy Remucal, who studies PFAS in her lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Remucal was not involved in the testing of the Lake Superior fish.) So, the chemicals move around the environment fairly easily, she told me — and there are thousands of them. One of these, called PFOS, or perfluorooctane sulfonic acid — found at airports and military sites with histories of fire foam use — tends to build up in fish.

But Michigan scientists were puzzled when the little smelt showed higher levels of PFOS than larger, predator fish such as lake trout. “Typically, the higher up on a food chain that you go, you’re going to have higher levels of contamination,” explains Brandon Armstrong, an aquatic biologist with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), referring to a process called biomagnification. “It was surprising to see such a high level of PFOS in smelt because they feed low on the food chain,” he says. “They’re eating small fish and zooplankton out in the glades. They’re not a top-predator species.”

 

Smelt is just one among many fish that tribal communities in the lake basin depend on. Indeed, food sovereignty was a cornerstone of 19th-century treaties in which the Ojibwe ceded millions of acres and retained their rights to fish, hunt and gather. These rights were challenged a century later, when William Jondreau, an Ojibwe man — and grandfather of Jerry Jondreau — was arrested for catching lake trout when it was out of season. He claimed, under treaty rights, that he was free to fish on Keweenaw Bay, where his people had fished for centuries. His case went before the Michigan Supreme Court and, in the 1971 landmark Jondreau decision, the court ruled that the 1854 treaty with the Chippewa superseded state fish and game laws.

The decision reaffirmed his people’s right to hunt and fish on ceded territories. But there has been a steady “devaluation” of treaty rights since, Jerry Jondreau argues. “In those agreements, we retained our rights to hunt, fish and gather,” he says. “In exchange, the U.S. got all the land. It’s accruing wealth. But the fish, the water … those things are becoming sick.”

 

On the Bad River Reservation, a flash of lightning lit up a dark cloud over the Kakagon River. Seconds later, a low rumble of thunder rolled through the wetlands. Edith Leoso watched from the back of the boat as it sped inland. The rice harvest would be plentiful this season, she said. But the smelt population is in decline — and has been for years. Even so, she said, “people are still smelting when they shouldn’t be. We should leave that fish alone.” They’re fishing out of necessity,she explained, regardless of consumption advisories: “We don’t recognize them if we have to feed our families. That’s the bottom line.”

Michiganalso lists consumption guidelines for fish in hundreds of smaller lakes and rivers. “Fishing is a primary source of subsistence for Ojibwe tribes throughout the basin,” says Valoree Gagnon, director of university-Indigenous community partnerships at the Great Lakes Research Center of Michigan Technological University. “So, when you’re asked to lower fish consumption, you’re not just losing meals, you’re losing all those practices associated with fishing: sharing knowledge and passing that to future generations. It changes all kinds of social dynamics.”

The lake tribes have been proactive in response to environmental threats to their water. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency gave the Bad River Band the authority — known as “treatment as a state” — to set its own water-quality standards. A decade later, KBIC received the same authority.

 

Researchers are doing additional testing to identify possible sources of PFAS in Lake Superior. But contaminated sites already identified may hold clues. The chemicals have been found at the Duluth Air National Guard Base, adjacent to a PFAS-polluted creek that leads to Saint Louis Bay, at the southwestern corner of the lake in Minnesota; they were first detected at the Duluth air base in 2010, said Bioenvironmental Manager Maj. Ryan Blazevic of the 148th Fighter Wing in an email. The wing “no longer conducts fire protection training in a manner that discharges firefighting foam,” he said. (Firefighter training is a common source of PFAS at military bases.)”

find more at this link  much more to the story

There is not enough accountability.  Bribery rules, along with conflicts and those who harm hide behind the corporate charters [that mean anything the money says they do.]  – Brad

Dane County Will Ignore Harm to the Poor to Enrich the Wealthiest Few

Madison unlikely to ban future housing in area to be affected by F-35 jet noise

Original Article Link

This sounds like the novel, 1984, where the Ministry of Peace promoted war. Here in Madison, the City Council President’s Work Group on Environmental Justice promotes environmental injustice. – Steven Klafka  

 


Noise levels with F-16’s, the level is projected to be up to four times louder with the addition of f-35’s



“Despite concerns about noise, Madison appears unlikely to prohibit future housing in an area that could be affected by sound from F-35 fighter jets coming to Truax Field.

The unlikelihood of a ban is reviving a stalled proposal to build housing on 63.6 acres of farmland on the North Side, part of which could be subject to unhealthy levels of jet noise.

The City Council President’s Work Group on Environmental Justice has been exploring possible alternatives, including a development moratorium, a special district with requirements and regulations for housing or zoning changes, in an effort to protect residents in new projects from noise and avoid having poor and minority people bear a disproportionate share of the environmental impacts from the F-35s, slated to begin operations in 2023.

But last month, after hearing about legal obstacles from the city attorney’s office, the work group clarified that none of its members wish to prohibit new housing in the area around the airport subject to noise levels of 65 decibels or more, which is considered too loud for residential development without significant soundproofing. The work group hasn’t produced a formal report or recommendations.

Instead, members said it’s best to ask developers to include soundproofing in new housing in the area and noted that the city could require noise mitigation for housing projects that seek city financial assistance. The group also suggested asking the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to consider mitigation criteria in new housing or rehabilitation projects.

“The work group is asking developers to do mitigation,” said council President Syed Abbas, who appointed the group but is not a member. The work group could still make recommendations next year and any council member can always offer legislation that goes further.

After the work group’s discussion, Green Street Development Group resubmitted a previously failed proposal for 96 single-family homes, several multifamily buildings and other development on the vacant 63.6 acres, called Raemisch Farm, between North Sherman and Packers avenues.

In late July, the Plan Commission recommended approval of proposals for a preliminary plat and zoning changes from Green Street, finding the proposals consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

But in August, the City Council rejected the plan on a 15-2 vote, largely to give the president’s work group time to consider concerns about future noise from the F-35s. The refusal came despite Green Street’s commitment to not build homes in the eastern portion of the property, projected to experience an average daily noise of 65 decibels or more. The council, however, refused the requests in a way that they could be reintroduced.

“The council’s decision essentially halted all potential residential development and redevelopment projects near the airport,” said Bill Connors, executive director of Smart Growth Greater Madison. “When the President’s Work Group on Environmental Justice wisely decided not to recommend any sort of ban or new limitation on residential development near the airport, it partially lifted the uncertainty.”

Green Street’s resubmitted plans call for 96 single-family homes on 29.1 acres; multifamily housing on 12.3 acres; townhomes on 3.9 acres; commercial uses on 5.3 acres along Packers Avenue; a private park on 1.5 acres; public wetlands on 8.1 acres, and a forest preserve dedicated for parks or a school on 3.3 acres.

“We are excited to re-engage with the city on our current proposal that is compliant with the council’s recommendations and will include new market rate and workforce housing units, single-family homes, and retains over 10 acres of open green space with commercial uses to occupy the areas that have potential noise impact,” managing director Joel Oliver said.

Approvals will allow Green Street to move ahead with single-family homes as a matter of right and offer plans for other uses that would require Plan Commission approval, officials said.

“(But) until the City Council votes on something essentially declaring that we are back to business as usual for residential development near the airport, any residential development project near the airport that requires rezoning is very risky,” Connors said.

Ald. Charles Myadze, whose 18th District includes the Raemisch property, has scheduled an online neighborhood meeting for Jan. 11. He declined comment until after he gets community input at the meeting.

“Madison needs more housing construction,” Connors said. “Madison’s current and future residents can ill afford having the city government discourage residential development near the airport or in any other large part of the city.”

Madison Maps Connected to Noise  

Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin Noise Page

Contact DNR Today to Protect US from PFAS related Forever Chemicals

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun to draft rules to establish state PFAS standards for drinking water. Data, scientific evidence and community testimony around PFAS raises the alarm for strong and immediate action on proposed rules for drinking water and surface water standards. Our groundwater, Starkweather Creek, the Yahara chain of lakes and our fish in and around Madison are already contaminated with PFAS thousands of times the anticipated water standard.

WE ARE ASKING THAT YOU WRITE DNR STAFF AND SUPPORT THE ADOPTION OF NEW PFAS DRINKING WATER STANDARDS.

By this Wednesday, December 8th, please register your support for Board Order DG-24-19 to revise chapter NR 809 and adopt new drinking water maximum contaminant levels for PFAS substances. (More details about the rule and processdetailed Board Order DB-24-19


Write to:

Adam Deweese, Water Supply Specialist

Bureau of Drinking and Ground Water

C/O DG/5

PO Box 7921

Madison, WI 53707-7921


Email – DNRNR809Comments@wisconsin.gov

Background In order to establish standards for PFAS, the DNR will need to revise the NR 809 regulations, the Safe Drinking Water Standard. The DNR already held a public meeting on December 1st. Many state citizens commented during this virtual meeting. They said:

  • Six of twelve wells in Eau Claire were closed due to high levels of PFAS, chemicals used in many products including food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). PFAS contamination in Madison is largely due to decades of fire-fighting training at Truax Field using foam containing PFAS.

  • An OB/GYN physician presented evidence that PFAS and PFOA, lipophilic substances, are not only found but concentrated in breast milk. She called it “alarming.” Other documented adverse health effects of PFAS in drinking water include decreased response of antibodies to vaccines, low birth weight, testicular cancer and thyroid cancer.

  • A resident of Marinette called for amending NR 809, “to prevent the slow poisoning of the people of Wisconsin from municipal water systems.”

The next step in the rulemaking timeline is the DNR Board meeting on January 25-26, 2022, where they will consider adoption of the rule.

For more information, visit: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/calendar/hearing/50806

Thank you, thank you!
For safe water and skies,
Lance, Anne, Tom, Vicki and all the folks at Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin