The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 7, 2001 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, April 7, 2001
Page:
Page 12
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B4 SATURDAY, APRIL 7, 2001 GREAT PLAINS THE SALINA JOURNAL WATER QUALITY Graves to wait on water decision Governor to consult with legal staff, read pro, con arguments By SARAH KESSINGER Harris News Service TOPEKA — Gov. Bill Graves will wait until late next week to decide on a controversial bill to overhaul water quality regulation in Kansas. The governor probably will hold off until Friday to sign or veto the proposal, spokeswoman Kristin Heuertz said. "We're assuming it won't be before then." That gives Graves time to consult with legal staff and read arguments he has requested in writing from the measure's supporters and opponents. If he were to veto the measure, which won overwhelming support from legislators, lawmakers could vote to override. After meeting with the governor. Senate Agriculture Chairman Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, said he is "very optimistic" Graves will sign the bill. The measure continues to draw fire from environmentalists and has aggravated a split in the governor's cabinet. Secretary of Agriculture Jamie Clover-Adams backs the bill, while Secretary of Health and Environment Clyde Graeber opposes it. The measure, supported by a coalition of agricultural groups, would require Graeber's agency to create a new classification system with various pollution controls in streams and lakes. Stream beds that rarely hold water would be exempt. Streams to be classified The system would be based on study of the streams' usage. Some streams won't have to meet current state standards because they would be classified for agricultural use or industrial use, both new categories. Some could be required to be clean enough for swimming April 1 through Oct. 31 of each year Areas too shallow for swimming could not be classified in that category. Graeber is concerned the proposal conflicts with federal regulations. Adams has said the bill provides a more reason- "We are not against agriculture, and we appreciate the costs it takes to make a living as a farmer today. But this does not benefit agriculture in the long run." Jay Barnes Kansas Natural Resource Council executive director able classification system for landowners. Environmental groups say it threatens the public's right to clean water. "What they're really passing through is the cost of cleaning the water," said Jay Barnes, executive director of the Kansas Natural Resource Council. Cleaning what flows down Small towns with small budgets are faced with cleaning up what flows downstream or into city wells from neighboring farms, he said. Farmers who want cleaner streams flowing across their lands, he added, could find that impossible if a farmer upstream is allowed to pollute more. "We are not against agriculture, and we appreciate the costs it takes to make a living as a farmer today But this does not benefit agriculture in the long run," Barnes said. Audubon of Kansas executive director Ron Klataske agreed. Klataske manages 1,000 acres of ranchland in north-central Kansas. He believes farms and ranches are crucial to land and water conservation. Yet unlike farm groups, he has not found government regulation a major concern. He has found the state helpful in financing clean-water projects on his ranches. Senate Bill 204 was fostered by misunderstanding, he said. "There are people who envision monsters in the regulatory system that aren't really there. I think, to a certain extent, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has been vil- lainized, and that's unfortunate," Klataske said. Senate kills resolution to end election of district judges By The Associated Press TOPEKA — A proposed constitutional amendment to end the election of district court judges died in the Senate on a 23-17 vote Thursday The measure would have asked voters to change the Kansas Constitution and make all district judgeships appointive. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must agree to put proposed constitutional amendments before voters. Under current law, counties decide whether they want to elect judges or have them appointed. Judges are elected in 53 counties and appointed in 52. Senate Judiciary Chairman John Vratil, R-Leawood, said appointing judges avoids corruption. SPA SERVICE 825-8888 SPA SERVICE Sspvs&SiciilIl Wheel Alignment Specialists ^ BENgKON SERVICE CENTER /^^Me- o^t^ PHIS 730 N. Santa Fe • Sallna • 785-823-3771 g - Bird Baths - Fountains - Yard Lights - ORNAMENTAL CONCRETE in Burrton Largest Selection in the State! 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