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Science on Tap: 50 years of The Clean Water Act


For just about as long as the Clean Water Act has been around, Bob Martini has been working on cleaning up water in northern Wisconsin.

Even though he’s retired from the Wisconsin DNR now, Martini’s work hasn’t stopped.

“Whether you use the water or care about the environment of water or not, the economics of the situation dictate that everybody should be concerned about it. In Oneida County, for example, 75% of the assessed evaluation in the county is shoreland. That’s a significant part of the backbone of the county,” he said.

Passed by the federal government in 1972, the Clean Water Act has led to stronger standards for protecting water bodies throughout the U.S.

The cleanup of the Wisconsin River is one example, but Martini says it doesn’t end there.

“There are four or five examples that I worked on. The idea here is that the old myth that you can’t have a strong economy with a protected environment is truly a myth,” said Martini. “When you look at the actual history and the data supporting it you realize that we can have both if we design the regulations with science and data and logic and sound business decision making.”

Martini will be diving into those examples at January’s Science on Tap Minocqua.

He hopes the people that come out to listen leave with an appreciation for regulations.

“I don’t care whether it’s a stop sign, or securities regulation, or a water quality regulation. What we have to do is recognize that there’s a good way to regulate and there’s a bad way. The good way is based on science and data and logic. The bad way is based on political philosophy. That never works. The scientific approach always works, at least it has in my experience,” said Martini.

Science on Tap is at Oakfire Pizzeria and Bar in Minocqua this Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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