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That road salt goes somewhere — and that’s the problem

Welcome to the fourth edition of our selective weekly roundup of top news stories we think Wisconsin residents, or people who care about the state, need to know about.

Of note as we head into road salt season in Wisconsin and other frigid states: Hilary Dugan, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology, is lead author of a North American lakes study highlighted by Ensia, an independent, nonprofit magazine. The disquieting findings: About 7,700 lakes in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions may be experiencing elevated chloride levels because of road salt runoff, posing questions about the futures of drinking water, fisheries, recreation, irrigation, and aquatic habitat.

Who produces WisconsinWeekly? Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

We welcome your suggestions for WisconsinWeekly — just email us at

We’re pouring millions of tons of salt on roads each winter. Here’s why that’s a problem.

Ensia – Nov. 6, 2017

Northern U.S. states use approximately 19.8 million tons of salt on the roads each winter. Environmental scientists say could become detrimental to aquatic life.

Wisconsin taxpayers lose out on millions after Gov. Scott Walker, lawmakers repeal anti-fraud law

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism – Nov. 5, 2017

In the latest from Broken Whistle, the Center sheds light on how the repeal of the False Claims Act has caused Wisconsin taxpayers to miss out on millions of dollars in fraud settlements.

Stripping wetland protections to have consequences, intended or not

Wisconsin State Journal – Nov. 5, 2017

Two Wisconsin Republican leaders are trying to repeal a law that requires builders in Wisconsin wetlands to minimize the environmental damage they do.

Opening a Wisconsin spigot?

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel – Nov. 9, 2017

As officials in Michigan ponder shutting down two 64-year-old pipes in northern Lake Michigan, a list of alternatives includes redirecting oil through an existing pipeline in Wisconsin, potentially cutting into private property and costing the state nearly $2 billion.

You gonna eat that?

Isthmus – Nov. 9, 2017

After a recent study finding the transmission of chronic wasting disease, or CWD, to primates, ongoing research of the disease, which originates in deer, is prompting concerns in some hunters about the safety of consuming venison.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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