WE Energies Defends Dumping Mercury in Lake Michigan

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WE Energies Defends Dumping Mercury in Lake Michigan

Apparently my previous post (see below) on WE Energies dumping mercury in Lake Michigan hit a nerve as I received an email from Brendan Conway, Manager Media Relations for WEC Energy Group.  He outlines in his message that WE Energies "are not asking to be treated differently than anyone else along the lake."  He states that other permitteees(?)  along Lake Michigan have received similar variances. 


So other folks are also dumping and that gives WE Energies permission to dump away?  Sounds like children in the school yard justifying bullying because "everyone is doing it."  Lake Michigan is one of the largest sources of fresh water for millions of people but it is OK to pollute it because everyone is doing it?  Better try again WE Energies.


Mr. Conway then quoted Jason Knutson, wastewater chief for the DNR, stating that there are "technical limitations in how much mercury can be removed by wastewater treatment systems."  Yes, Mr. Knutson parrots the position of WE Energies.  In fact, he agreed to more dumping by WE Energies before a public hearing was even held. If WE Energies can't treat wastewater effectively, why were they ever given permission to build along the shore of Lake Michigan?


Mr. Conway wanted to know if I have any questions.  Here is what I submitted.  

1.  Do you believe that it is ethical and/or moral to dump toxic chemicals including mercury, arsenic, selenium and other hard metals into one of the greatest supplies of fresh water for millions of people?


2. How long has WE Energies known that they were dumping increased amounts of mercury for the last ten years?


3.  What is WE Energies plan including budget for cleaning up the toxins that they have dumped into Lake Michigan?


He has yet to answer me.

If you would like to voice your opinion on WE Energies dumping, please contact:


Jason.Knutson@wisconsin.gov



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WE Energies Dumping Mercury in Lake Michigan

WE Energies is dumping mercury and other hard metals into Lake Michigan at an ever increasing rate, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal.  The rate of dumping has grown over the last decade with both WE Energies and the DNR not addressing the issue.


WE Energies Dumping Mercury


Now, the DNR wants to increase the amount of mercury allowed with an apparent agreement with WE Energies.


I attended the meeting in Oak Creek that was supposed to be a public hearing.  It was a joke.  Not only was it held in the middle of the day, the room was only big enough to handle about 1/3 of the people who attended.  When attendees complained about the process and structure, the DNR threatened to cancel the hearing if people are "disrespectful." Requests for additional hearings in the evening and other times were ignored.


DNR Hearing


The DNR opened the meeting with a power point presentation outlining the "advantages" of additional dumping.  Using language like "evaluate feasible treatment," and "identifying other strategies," Jason Knutson of the DNR gave a gobbledegook of information that was patronizing and insulting.  There is no hiding that additional mercury in the lake is dangerous for people and wildlife.


When I got my three minutes to speak, I asked Mr. Knutson point blank why the DNR has not addressed the illiegally dumping that has been going on for the last decade.  He refused to respond.  


I asked him what WE Energies is doing to clean up their mess as they have made records profits for the last 15 years.  Again, no response.


I also asked him how the DNR can agree with WE Energies on the plan when no public hearings had been held.  According to the paper, Mr. Knutson's mind was already made up.  Again, he sat in stoney silence.


If you would like to express your views on additional dumping, please contact the DNR immediately at:


Jason.knutson@wisconsin.gov 





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