MADISON, WI… Clear Great Lakes ports, operational supply chains, and restored and cleaner beaches could result from DNR regulatory reform legislation headed for Gov. Evers’ desk after passing the State Senate today.
State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere), co-author of the measure with State Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers), said this proposal originated with the City of Two Rivers; numerous local elected and appointed officials along the lakeshores have indicated their support as well.
“Sediment and sand accumulation is a naturally occurring process in our rivers and harbors,” said Sen. Jacque, a member of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus. “To keep harbors safe for economic activity and recreational boating, they need to be dredged; additionally, higher water levels across the Great Lakes continue to impact coastal communities and reduce the size of beaches.”
Sen. Jacque said one best practice to promote coastal resiliency is “beach nourishment,” allowing replenished/recycled beach sand dredged from offshore to maintain the natural beach area and protective offshore sand bar system.
“The US Army Corps of Engineers employs this practice, but when the DNR controls the process, it has proved to be practically unworkable,” Sen. Jacque said. “These common sense adjustments ensure environmental protections remain in place, while saving money for local governments that otherwise face substantial costs to dispose of a still valuable and reusable material, allowing coastal communities to shore up and reclaim beach areas.”
The bill (Senate Bill 93/Assembly Bill 99):
- Facilitates disposal of material dredged from Lake Michigan or Lake Superior by requiring the DNR to, by rule, exempt facilities from various solid waste standards as they would pertain to disposal of dredged material
- Requires DNR to hold a public hearing in the county where a facility is located before approving a request to accept dredged materials that contain PCBs or heavy metals
- Exempts disposal of dredged materials from the various tipping fees
Sen. Jacque said he hoped Gov. Evers would sign the bill into law soon. Similar legislation was enacted in Indiana in 2018 and championed by both parties, with unanimous bi-partisan support in both chambers.
Senator André Jacque represents Northeast Wisconsin’s First Senate District, consisting of Door and Kewaunee Counties and portions of Brown, Calumet, Manitowoc, and Outagamie counties.