Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Walker's Cruz, #NeverTrump badly thumped

Down goes the singularly unattractive Ted Cruz - - Wisconsin's righty talk radio's #NeverTrump alternative, despite the best op-ed efforts of Scott Walker - - 

he without long coattails:
…join me and vote for Ted Cruz.

Caterpillar continues Milwaukee jobs excavation

Caterpillar Inc. is again cutting or moving more jobs and payroll out of the Milwaukee area, perhaps outsourcing to Arizona what remains of the venerable and iconic Bucycus presence it took over a few years ago in a combination company officials touted in 2010 as "a unified team unlike any other in the mining industry"" 
Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday it is moving engineering and technology jobs from its mining equipment headquarters in South Milwaukee to Tucson, Ariz...The company's mining machine division consists largely of the former South Milwaukee-based Bucyrus International that Caterpillar acquired for $8.8 billion in 2011.
Like so many mergers and takeovers, the real story after the hoopla is over and the golden parachutes and champagne bottles are popped open is the predictable downsizing that strips employees of their paychecks and communities of institutional memory, leadership, energy. and optimism

So let's review what was published on this blog in January, 2015:

Caterpillar is laying off more mining and earth-moving equipment assembly workers in Milwaukee...

I'd written about Caterpillar's rosy 2010 entrance into the Milwaukee labor market when it bought Bucyrus Erie, and Caterpillar was all smiles and assurances when the takeover was complete:
As we combine the proven strengths of each organization, we’re creating a unified team unlike any other in the mining industry.
But then came the payroll cuts - - a move called "crazy" and antithetical to the Bucyrus Erie ethic and history by its former CEO - - a change underscored also by Caterpillar's ruinous disrespect for the workforce, as Dom Noth documented in May, 2013:
Soon after Caterpillar took over Bucyrus in 2011, a worker was crushed to death by mining equipment not hooked up to safety specifics—the company's first workplace fatality in decades. Horrified co-workers couldn’t move fast enough to save Jeff Smith, 30, a popular fitness buff and musician in his spare time.
Workers at the plant realize that industrial accidents can happen at even the best-run plants, but they remember the cold response to Smith's death by the new Caterpillar management.  Caterpillar brought in lawyers who refused to allow USW's investigative team into the building, resulting in a federal complaint that the company ultimately lost. The new managers also left it to the USW to provide comfort and financial relief to the family in its grief. 
Then there was this follow-up story six months later:
Caterpillar cuts more jobs in Milwaukee area
Caterpillar Inc. has laid off another round of employees at its southeastern Wisconsin operations, a company spokeswoman told The Business Journal Monday.

The Peoria, Ill.-based equipment manufacturer (NYSE: CAT) is cutting “support and management” positions at multiple locations, the Herald & Review newspaper in Decatur, Ill., reported....
[Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel] Potts said the latest local layoffs are in addition to 260 production jobs cut in South Milwaukee during the summer.
Which brings us to this Journal Sentinel January 18, 2015 story online:
No bottom in sight for mining equipment companies, workers
Caterpillar Inc., which has its mining equipment division in Oak Creek, has cut hundreds of jobs at its factories that manufacture some of the world's biggest machines. 
More than half the company's blue-collar employees at the South Milwaukee plant, members of United Steelworkers Local 1433, are on layoff, said Ross Winklbauer, a Steelworkers subdistrict director. 
Last week, Caterpillar announced another 25 layoffs here, which Winklbauer says brings the number of people off work to roughly 450, or about 55% of the workforce. The additional 25 layoffs are scheduled to take effect beginning Monday, the company said.
Your "unified team unlike any other in the mining industry" at work.

On Lake Michigan diversion map, can WI DNR & Waukesha backtrack?

Reviewers from eight Great Lakes states and advisers from two Canadian provinces have made it clear through a revised, recommended diversion map that Waukesha's application for piped-in Lake Michigan water cannot include major portions of a proposed, expanded service territory that would extend into neighboring towns sought by the City of Waukesha's diversion application produced by years of expensive research, consulting and pressure:
The new map which excludes the towns of Delafield and Genesee and most of the town of Waukesha from the service area — was created April 27, a few days after Great Lakes Regional Body officials met in Chicago to the discuss the service area and Waukesha's original request to divert up to 10.1 million gallons of lake water per day by 2050.
The revision would reduce the average Lake Michigan water draw from a proposed, maximum 10.1 million gallons daily to 8.76 million gallons daily, cut the service territory by about 43% and thereby limit the use of diverted water to fuel development.

Which is what the business community has been arguing - - for years - - and recently.

A revised service map does not address critics' concerns about Waukesha's need for the diversion and rejection of potential water source alternatives, nor does the map fully address critics' questions about using the Root River through the downstream City of Racine in another county as Waukesha's new discharge route for treated waste water. 

It was clear since 2010 that the expanded service territory and its sprawl opportunities were going to be problems once the application made its way to the other states and provinces for analysis and a decision, but Waukesha and the DNR forged ahead and kept this obviously controversial portion in an already-controversial, precedent-setting diversion application.

Contrast the now-shrinking proposed service territory to what was declared as an iron-clad, non-negotiable extended service territory laid out several years ago by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary and chamber of commerce water-carrier and mouthpiece Cathy Stepp when she said that any potential water supplier of Lake Michigan water to Waukesha was required by state law to supply the entire expanded service territory.

The state Department of Natural Resources will require any municipality, including Milwaukee, selling Lake Michigan water to the City of Waukesha to supply its entire future water service area and not just the city, Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said Thursday in a letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Willie Hines.
You have to wonder if Waukesha and the DNR are willing to back the new map before the Great Lakes governors vote in a few weeks on whether to approve Waukesha's application - - a unanimous vote of the governors is required for implementation - - or will Waukesha and the DNR try and negotiate further for a larger service territory, or go to court over the revision and basically put the entire US/Canadian Great Lakes protective Compact at risk?

Final questions:

If Waukesha and the DNR accept the revised map and reduced water ask, how much of the original plan was credible, how much was overreach and how much of the remainder is justifiable?

Jindal wanted climate change silence, feds paying the bill

Remember when then-GOP Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in 2013 urged Republicans to quit being "the stupid party?"

So how ironic is it that Jindal asked President Obama not to mention climate change during a 2015 presidential visit to Louisiana, but today we learn that the federal government is about to spend nearly $50 million in a first-of-its-kind expenditure to move Louisiana citizens from low-lying areas where climate change is elevating sea levels and forcing them off their land.

Ironic, and stupid, and expensive, and for the Louisiana residents losing their homes and roots - - tragic.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Another Walker Know-Nothing highlight

I'd been listing Scott Walker's evasions and non-responsive deflections over the years - - here's one 2015 compilation with more than a dozen shoulder-shrugs all the way back to 1988 - - 

Walker adds to his 'I don't know list':
Let's put it this way; the more you know about Walker, the more you know that he doesn't know - - or will not give you a straight story: why else would his extensive PolitiFact file contain three times the fully "False" and "Pants on Fire" ratings than fully "True?" 
Here's a comprehensive and documented list of Walker facts people outside of Wisconsin may not yet have heard about.
And this new word-salady dodge is a keeper:
Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) struggled Friday to explain why the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has failed to recover any taxpayer money given out to companies that have outsourced Wisconsin jobs, despite past claims he'd asked them to do that... 
"Again - that's a question you'll have to direct to them," said Gov. Walker. "The bottom line is the expectation, but if it's a company that - for legal reasons or otherwise - they'll have to answer the questions. They're the ones that handle that process." 

When hunters go crazy

The list of recent high-profile wildlife and domestic animal kills is growing:

A famed grizzly bear beloved by Yellowstone tourists shot dead, according to developing reporting:

Death at Yellowstone: Feds probe shooting of ‘Scarface,’ the park’s most famed grizzly

Beloved canine pets:
Multiple charges filed in Dane County dog killings
An iconic African lion:
No Prosecution For Dentist Who Killed Cecil The Lion
A popular deer in Milwaukee County park
Well-known buck killed illegally in county park
Famous California wolf
Grand Canyon Wolf That Made Epic Journey Shot Dead in Utah

In Wisconsin, smokestacks and smokescreens

While the Wisconsin DNR today is offering clean air PR and a poetry contest for elementary school kids:
The department celebrates Clean Air Month and a decade of Air Quality Awareness Week
The real powers-that-be which are driven by power and ideological corporate influence are already taking the state in the opposite direction:
The president's climate change initiative known as the Clean Power Plan aims to cut CO2 emissions from existing power plants by about a third over the next 15 years. The plan formally took effect Friday morning, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quickly followed through on his threat to sue to try to stop the rule.
With a recent win for Walker and the state attorney general, with the obvious effects: 
Only WI is without smokestack emission compliance plan 
Smoke stacks from a factory. 

More reporting on Wisconsin's contaminated drinking water

Ron Seely at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism unearths and organizes more information about Wisconsin's drinking water crisis and cuts to various safe drinking water programs and laws since Scott Walker was elected Governor and special-interest-water-carrier-in-chief in 2011.
It's a good idea to have well water tested once a year. © DNR Photo
DNR well-testing photo
My take on this has been that there will be no real progress on clean water as a priority in Wisconsin until the US EPA comes into the state, shines a bright light on waterborne health hazards and public enforcement failures and takes program and implementation control from Walker on behalf of state citizens and people in other states downstream.

Walker tax cuts worth more to upper-income earners.

You can slice and dice the Walker administration tax cut data released by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau anyway you want, so here's my cut:

For filers earning $50,000 annually, the cut was worth $160 a year, or $3.08 a week/one-cup-of-coffeeshop-brew-money-in-your pocket.

For filers earning $300,000 annually, the cut was worth 8.17 more, or $25.13 a week/coffee-every-day-or-take-the-kids-to-dinner-every-Friday-night money.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Walker administration caught screwing with truth, WI Open Records law

The Wisconsin State Journal offers up a revealing Sunday story which tells you all you need to know about the systematic ideological dishonesty which the Walker administration has embedded deep into state agencies, the legislative process, relations with media and, in this case, the century-old state civil service system, documents show.

Note also that the Walkerites stonewalled the State Journal by withholding key documentation sought under the Wisconsin Open Records statute until long after the civil service changes were passed by both legislative houses and signed by Walker into law.
The personnel agency in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration privately blasted changes to the state’s civil service days after they were proposed, telling his office the overhaul would slow hiring, turn away qualified job applicants and trigger more lawsuits against the state, public records show...
The memo was provided to the State Journal as part of a larger response to a December public-records request…at the time of the request, the Assembly had passed the bill but the Senate had yet to vote. 
The State Journal received the records April 1, seven weeks after Walker signed the bill into law. 
The newspaper should sue the agency and depose everyone remotely connected to such an unacceptable process to force some consequences and accountability on the administration and to see how high up this recklessness goes.

Also interesting that the author of the internal critique a) didn't sign it, b) isn't working for the state and Team Walker anymore.

Walker on Trump; yea and nay

The New York Times finds that potential Donald Trump running mates are not interested in the #2 spot on a ticket with him and a Scott Walker adviser puts Walker in the 'No' camp saying that Walker has a "visceral negative reaction" to The Donald.

Visceral enough on Walker's behalf for a fourth paragraph mention on page one in the Sunday Times!

But less than two weeks ago, Ted Cruz backer-Walker said he could support Trump for President.

So The Donald is good enough for you, America - - and the planet - - but too upsetting for The Walker.

Now that's principled.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

GOP big tent expansion picks up major addition

Klan Imperial Wizard endorses GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
A man identified only as the “Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign during a video interview with a Richmond news station which was published on Friday.
Not the first time the Klan has found a home in the GOP tent, either.  

Blockbuster Doe filing a reminder of Walker disclosures past

Very important Friday story containing an allegation that the Walker campaign and a third-party funding group were even closer than first thought:
Madison — Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and a supposedly independent conservative group were "one and the same," prosecutors told the U.S. Supreme Court in a filing this week seeking to reopen a probe of the governor's campaign that state courts shut down.
Reminds me in many ways of the heart of this blog post from last year:

[Updated from 11:36 p.m., 4/29/16] Do not forget that an official of the Koch brothers' funding and organizing arm Americans for Prosperity said about 15 senior rightists came to Wisconsin in 2007 somewhere "on the shores of Lake Michigan" and threw their support long-range behind Walker.

A scenario referenced here several times after its disclosure at a March, 2014 conservative conference in Washington, DC and reported by Salon.com with the rest of the media's continuing silence:

How did we do it in Wisconsin?” RNC Chair Reince Priebus asked Saturday morning. “The simplest way I can tell you is we had total and complete unity between the state party, quite frankly, Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party groups, the Grandsons of Liberty. The [Glenn Beck-instigated] 9/12ers were involved. It was a total and complete agreement that nobody cared who got the credit, that everyone was going to run down the tracks together...” 
Panelist Luke Hilgemann, the current Americans for Prosperity COO who formerly led the Koch-backed group’s Wisconsin efforts, told the crowd that the 2011 [Walker inaugural] victory “started back in 2007 on the shores of Lake Michigan,” at a meeting of fifteen intrepid activists who’d “had enough of government overreach,” including then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.
The filing also raises basic questions about the propriety of Justices DAvid Prosser and Michael Gableman ruling on cases tied to major donors which contributed to their election campaigns. Prosser announced last week his intention to resign with four years left on his current term.  Walker will appoint a replacement Justice.

The connections between donors and the Court are also raised in the some groups drafting the Court current policy on recusals, noted earlier, here

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Walker herds seniors, disabled, as cash cow for insurers

Walker and his legislative allies have found yet another way to screw the poor in our once-proudly progressive state by preparing to let private, profit-driven businesses make a buck off other people's suffering:
Gov. Scott Walker's administration wants to shift multibillion dollar programs serving more than 55,000 elderly and disabled people from long-standing nonprofits to national for-profit health insurance companies.
Having eyed some Wisconsiites' medical needs as a big-business profit center last year, too: 
Walker budget upends Long-Term-Care patients; private insurers' win 

Here we go again - - another Walker surprise, 'because-I-can' budget bombshell - - this one upending thousands of families utilizing in-home Long Term Care assistance and routing some to out-of-state private insurance providers.

Prosser request would have Walker undergo total personality transplant

David Prosser - - retiring State Supreme Court Justice - - you can't be serious.

After years of rubber-stamping Scott Walker priorities like the partisan and anti-labor Act 10, a Voter ID law based on non-existent voter impersonation fraud, and the killing of a high-profile investigation that freed Walker from further inquiry and deeply embedded special interest money and campaign coordination in state campaigns   - - and after years of Court conservatives' subservience to several of their major institutional campaign donors - - and after being at the center of a personal uproar on the Court and part of a process over adopting recusal rules which helped earn the Court a grade of "F" from a national rating service - - retiring conservative Justice David Prosser actually wrote these words to Walker as the Governor contemplates which GOP toady with which he can replace Prosser and  serve free of pesky election requirements until the spring of 2020:
Justice David Prosser is asking the guv to pick someone "fully committed to the important mission of the judiciary" to replace him on the Wisconsin Supreme Court"Such a person will understand that promoting the reputation and integrity of the institution is more important than the promotion of any individual," Prosser wrote. 
You might as well ask Ronald McDonald to begin serving McTofu. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Supreme Court appointment double-standard, Wisconsin style

I'm waiting for one Republican policy-maker in Wisconsin who supports US Sen. Ron Johnson's obstruction of President Barack Obama's nomination to fill a vacancy on the US Supreme Court to  object to Scott Walker's appointment of a replacement for the soon-to-retire Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

Johnson's obstruction is purely for partisan advantage.

As will be Walker's move.

So - - somewhat different processes, both deeply political - - but Johnson and his block-Obama pals are hypocrites if they do nothing but applaud Walker's partisan appointment when he makes it.

Walker can extend righty chokehold on WI Supreme Court

Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser - - who escaped a nail-bitingly tight re-election in 2011 and also managed to deflect subsequent allegations that he'd choked fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley - - announced his intention to retire in July.

That's good news for the far right, as it leaves the ultra-partisan and reactionary GOP Gov. Scott Walker free to appoint to the state's highest court yet another young corporate tool to a long tenure.

A court managed by recusal rules the court let major donors draft.

Under state law, there can't be an election to fill the position for about four years,so the new incumbent will have served and gained advantage until 2020.

Walker promoted the far-right Rebecca Bradley to a State Supreme Court vacancy last fall after the sudden death of Justice Patrick Crooks.

Bradley won a 10-year-term outright earlier this month.

Will Walker, GOP legislature fund Voter ID education?

I doubt it. The whole point of the GOP's voter suppression program - - fewer early voting hours, registration obstruction, and especially Voter ID - - is voter suppression in cities and on college campuses, not not voter education - - with a price tag of $250,000.

That's money the state could spend waste defending Voter ID or drug-testing food stamp recipients, or fighting clean air rules or John Doe jurisdictions or any of the ruling party's special-interest programs or self-serving priorities.

Besides, having government offer educational information suggests government has credibility and something important to say, which is the opposite of the denigrate-and-mistrust/government misinformation message which the Walkerites are busy promoting.

Widespread voter participation directly threatens pro-corporate, anti-government authority.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why do adults leave loaded guns within children's reach?

[Updated from 4/26/16, 7:55 p.m.] Concealed gun carry mad recklessness:


HAYDEN, Idaho — A mom shopping at a Walmart store died Tuesday after her toddler, who was left in a shopping cart, reached into her purse andaccidentally discharged her handgun, authorities said. 
Veronica J. Rutledge, 29, of Blackfoot, Idaho, had gone to the store in this Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, suburb with four children in tow at mid-morning.
Her 2-year-old son, who was sitting in the shopping cart, reached into his mother's purse, causing the small-caliber handgun to discharge one time, said Lt. Stu Miller, Kootenai County Sheriff's Office spokesman.
And now, Milwaukee, on a busy, familiar stretch of city highway north of Miller Park.

A 26-year-old woman was shot to death while driving in Milwaukee Tuesday morning and the shot came from a child in the back seat who somehow got hold of a gun.  
The woman was struck once in the back as she drove south on U.S. 41/Highway 175 near W. Vliet St., at the southwest end of Washington Park, about 10:30 a.m., the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office said.
And who could forget the Waukesha County husband and wife who left their guns in different bathrooms near children in different episodes and different counties. Mercifully, no one was shot.  

Update: It appears that the gun in the Milwaukee fatality slid onto the backseat floor from under a front seat where the two-year-old, not restrained in a car seat, managed to fire it. The car and gun belonged to the deceased driver's boyfriend, a security guard.

Must-read/distribute/save Scott Walker report card

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign outdoes itself - - and wannabe documentarians like me - - with a dynamite, annotated list of Scott Walker's attacks on Wisconsin people, law, environment and quality of life.

Must read./save/archive/distribute:
New Report Details Assault on Wisconsin’s Way of Life by Walker, Legislature
April 26, 2016 Fist
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign issued a report on Tuesday that covers 100 items approved by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the legislature that have collectively assaulted Wisconsin’s democracy and the common good.
The report, “Walker’s Worst 100,” details measures approved since 2011 when Walker became governor and the Republicans took control of the legislature. These measures run the gamut:
Consumer Protection
Disability Rights
Immigrant Rights
Justice and the Courts
Labor Rights
Local Control
Public Education and School Vouchers
Safety Net
Taxes and Corporate Welfare
Voting and Elections
Women’s Health 
Collectively, these 100 items drew support from more than a dozen powerful special interests, mostly because the items signed into law benefited them at the expense of the general public. These special interests, including business, manufacturing, construction, real estate, energy, transportation, agriculture, and banking, contributed $14.4 million to the legislature, including $12.2 million to majority Republican lawmakers, and $32.2 million to Walker, between January 2011 and December 2015.

New WI wetlands bill so awful newspaper shouts headline twice

I've written for years on this blog about Scott Walker's politicized degradation of wetlands - - see real estate, special interests - - Wisconsin's air, waterways, and land- - one example among scores of posts - - and I think the awareness of Walker's harm to the environment has finally sunk in at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which repeatedly endorsed him for Milwaukee County Executive and Governor and at 2:25 today posted this story about his signing a wetlands-filling bill:

Scott Walker signs wetlands bill Scott Walker signs wetlands bill

Walker signed Senate Bill 459, which designates areas as specialized wetlands, allowing property owners to conduct more building activity in these areas. 
The law will also allow dredging in artificial bodies of water, require disputes over piers to be handled by circuit courts, instead of through administrative hearings, and curb the ability of the Department of Natural Resources to block municipalities from constructing storm-water management ponds. 
Update - - the headline is corrected to just: 

Scott Walker signs wetlands bill 

Walker's WI bests Kansas in food stamp denial

[Updated from 4/25/16, 6:11 p.m.] On, Wisconsin!

While Kansas, the poster state for failed GOP economics, has stripped 15,000 of its citizens of their food stamps:

Kansas Governor Justifies Kicking 15,000 People Off Food Stamps
 Walker's Wisconsin has nearly tripled Kansas' cold toll:
Report: 41,000 lost food stamps in Wisconsin last year
Which brings this to mind:
FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013 
Scott Walker: Cutting Govt Aid To The Poor Is Love
And this, when it comes to food stamps and health insurance in Wisconsin
About Walker's "love" for the poor 
Nothing shows your "love" for the poor - - watch the video - - then again turning down federal health insurance funding for 57,000 Wisconsin adults supporting a family of four who earn $1 more than $23,850-a-year.
So let's finish with this last expression of Walker love
 07/13/2015 10:02 pm ET | Updated Jul 14, 2015
Scott Walker Strips Wisconsin Workers Of ‘Living Wage’ In New State Budget  
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the new state budget into law on Sunday with a last-minute change that strips the words “living wage” from state laws and replaces it with “minimum wage.” 
The change means [$7.25] ]minimum-wage Wisconsin workers will earn nearly $6,000 per year less than what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates is a living wage in the state. And they will have no recourse, according to the Center for American Progress. MIT says a living wage would be $10.13 an hour. 
And a discussion today that ties this all together: 
 APR 26, 2016 8:00 AM
Fast Food Industry Looks To Skirt Labor Law, With An Assist From Scott Walker
And reminds us how little this man with a state-provided mansion and $144,000 annual salary with unlimited time off to campaign across the country knows or cares about low-income working people
By  Dave Umhoefer on Monday, January 13th, 2014 at 5:00 a.m.
Scott Walker says minimum wage jobs are ‘overwhelmingly’ for young people 
That strikes us as overstated given that workers older than 24 make up 45 percent to 49 percent of federal minimum wage workers. Teenagers are less than one-third of the overall low-wage group. 
We rate his claim False. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

DNR wants more well monitoring at Central Sands CAFO, but...

[Updated from 1:15 p.m. Monday] Groundwater in the Wisconsin's central sands region is both over-pumped and contaminated at high levels by animal waste runoff, but officials have been unable or unwilling to stop it.
Several large animal-feeding operations known as CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are under review by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, including a 26,000-pig feeding CAFO - - the largest of its kind in Wisconsin - - which Iowa owners want to locate in NW WI near the City of Ashland and within smelling distance of Lake Superior.

Draft permit documents newly-posted by the DNR show that the the Central Sands CAFO operation in Juneau County - - one of the state's most controversial - - will be required through changes in its DNR-issued operating permit to install additional monitoring wells and other improvements on-site.

The proposed permit modifications will not require that groundwater meet designated quality standards - - as sought often by concerned citizens - - which continues a trend and recent state actions which also required a huge Kewaunee County dairy cattle CAFO to add more groundwater monitoring - - but which also allowed the operator to substantially expand the CAFO's capacity even though a state administrative law judge had put a cap on it.

A public comment period about the Central Sands CAFO permit modifications, and a two-hour hearing on the matter will be held in the Necedah village hall on May 9th, from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Here's a 2015 newspaper story with some of the Juneau County/Central Sands CAFO's history and information about another big CAFO - - Golden Sands - - which has been proposed in Wood County by the same owner as Central Sands, and is still under a DNR review:
...report filed in August with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that shows monitoring wells at Central Sands Dairy, in the town of Armenia in Juneau County, recently contained nitrate levels substantially higher than state drinking water standards. 
...groundwater tests of four wells at Central Sands Dairy found nitrogen levels ranging widely — some far below state standards, but other tests that indicated nitrogen levels well above what the state considers safe. 
Tests in one well showed nitrogen levels at 77 parts per million in July, an increase from 60 parts per million in December. The state considers nitrate levels above 10 parts per million unsafe, particularly for infants...Testing also showed the presence of E. Coli in two wells, and levels of ammonium exceeding a lower standard of concern.
More about those CAFOs and their common ownership, here:

Below are the links to the new DNR documents about the Central Sands CAFO, and some excerpts:


Central Sands Dairy LLC is a currently Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES)-permitted dairy Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Its current WPDES permit became effective on January 1, 2012 and will expire on December 31, 2016. At issuance, the operation housed approximately 3800 dairy cows and 400 calves, or 5300 Animal Units. In response to concerns about potential groundwater impacts associated with the operation’s production area, the Department is proposing to modify the current permit to include requirements for Central Sands Dairy LLC to install a production area groundwater monitoring system... 
Reasons: The Department is modifying the WPDES Permit for Central Sands Dairy to require additional groundwater monitoring for the reasons listed here. Additional information is in the attached report from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Program dated March 31, 2016. 
A. The above listed submittals from Central Sands Dairy included new information that a septic system drain field exists immediately upgradient from the groundwater monitoring well nest CSD-1. 
B. The Department has reviewed the production area groundwater monitoring results submitted to date, and finds that additional groundwater monitoring locations are needed to identify the source or sources of groundwater contamination. The monitoring results to date do not support, Central Sands Dairy's position that the causes are from off-site, and possibly from on-site limited facilities that the WPDES Permit does not regulate (a septic system drain field) or that are no longer in use (a feed runoff treatment infiltration strip). 
C. Central Sands Dairy performed what it refers to as a "comprehensive integrity analysis" ofthe manure storage lagoon, which included emptying, cleaning, and inspection, and repair ofthe cracks identified. The Department believes most ofthe cracks were narrow enough that significant liquid leakage seems unlikely. Unfortunately, soil samples taken from below the cracks did not receive chemical testing to help determine if leakage had occurred. Also, Central Sands Dairy has still not acknowledged the groundwater found within 2 feet below the floor elevation at the time of repair, and the analysis also did not address this finding. This groundwater found was mentioned only in a field note, with no photos or resulting soil test results provided, and no other information or mention ofthis groundwater elevation was made in the analysis report (prepared by AECOM). 
D. The Department and Central Sands Dairy have determined the digester floor elevation appears to not have the required minimum 2 feet from saturation, based on the groundwater level monitoring results from groundwater monitoring wells, and the digester design plans (no as-built record is available). 
E. The Department does not agree that the manure lagoon and digester were in compliance with the minimum required separation to saturation specified by the NRCS 313 Standard in effect at the time of construction. (September 28, 2015, Non-Compliant Evaluation letter from the Department).

Also - - the number of CAFOs statewide has gone from 50 to more than 200 since 2000, according to DNR data:

CAFO Graph