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Walker Cheers Waukesha Water Ruling, Says It’s About Public Health

Governor Denies Suburban Job Growth Is Motivation For Unprecedented Diversion

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Gov. Scott Walker says allowing Waukesha to take drinking water from Lake Michigan is about public health, not suburban economic growth.

Walker joined local officials at a news conference Wednesday to praise this week’s decision by Great Lakes governors to OK the Milwaukee suburb’s longstanding request to draw 8 million gallons a day of lake water.

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said the move to take the city off of wells contaminated with radium helps, “solidify economic growth for Waukesha.”

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But Walker dismissed the idea that that growth was the underlying motive for water diversion.

“No, it’s about public health for everyone who lives in the city of Waukesha,” he said. “We heard a lot of about other jurisdictions around the country that had water problems. I don’t want water problems in Wisconsin. I don’t care if it’s in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Oak Creek anywhere else.”

Some Milwaukee groups and elected leaders have argued water diversion will, in fact, allow Waukesha to lure more businesses from Milwaukee County.