The People Pro® Blog

WE Energies is Dumping Mercury in Lake Michigan

By Barbara Bartlein, RN, MSW

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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