Regular readers will recognize the byline on this week's cover story, "Wetland or Wasteland?," to be a very familiar one in these pages. Bill Lueders wrote for this publication for 25 years until this year, when he joined the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, investigative journalism having been his strong point during his tenure as news editor of Isthmus.
The center is a nonprofit organization that investigates various topics deemed to be in the public interest and then distributes the reports to various outlets free of charge. We are the only publication in this area to run the wetlands story; we wouldn't use it if it had already been published locally.
It's an important topic, wetlands, and reading the story will tell you why. In Wisconsin we are abundantly blessed with resources - we just don't always recognize a resource when we see one. I recall former Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus warning the state about interests from the arid west who wanted to purloin our water. This was around the time, I believe, that a slurry was being proposed to carry coal from the Northern Plains to the Midwest. The water was to come from the Great Lakes.
The wetlands issue will be prominent in the future as the state debates replacing current regulation. The great motive for this will be the pursuit of jobs and development, which wetlands regulation minimally affects. What is in danger of being ignored is Wisconsin's ethic of preserving nature.
Among his other duties at the center, Lueders is director of the Money and Politics Project, which documents influence of the one upon the other. His weekly blog does appear in other outlets, but we deem it to be sufficiently consequential to begin hosting it on our website, TheDailyPage.com.