Monday, February 10, 2014

Dairy Expansions, Groundwater De-Regulation Roiling The Dairy State

Dairy expansions statewide, multiple court cases and the Legislature's meddling in groundwater protections on behalf of special-interest big users all highlight the growing ascension of corporate power in state government at the expense of citizens' rights to clean water and peace of mind.

* Neighbors of a Kewaunee County mega-dairy set to expand by more than 50% finally get their say at a Green Bay hearing on Tuesday - - but after the DNR has approved the permit. 

The Cap Times ran a solid investigative report about it Saturday, here.

I'd put up information about the hearing and the issues last week:

At the center of the dispute is the dairy's plan, OK'ed by the DNR, to store and then spread up to 70 million gallons of liquid manure and other livestock waste. 
The approval process - - detailed here - - illustrates everything that is wrong at the DNR  - - traditionally a neutral, honest-broker natural resources agency - -  that is now directed by senior managers from the Wisconsin private sector implementing Scott Walker's self-described "chamber-of-commerce mentality." 
Why should everyday Wisconsin citizens have to raise and spend their own limited funds to fight not only the neighboring big dairy over clean water and environmental protection, but also take on the DNR itself - - a state agency supported by those same citizens' income taxes? 
Citizens who are not getting taxation with representation; in fact, their having to hire lawyers is like being taxed a second time to get a job done that the DNR should be doing on the citizens' behalf. 
A job it continues to let slide.
* And multiple cases along the same lines are surfacing in central Wisconsin:
While court cases continue to move forward on a proposed large-scale dairy in Saratoga, Wisconsin legislators work on a way to resolve issues with the high-capacity well approval process.  
A lawsuit the owners of the proposed Golden Sands dairy filed against Saratoga’s building inspector is in the appeals process. A lawsuit the owners filed against the town is still in Wood County Circuit Court. The Wysocki Family of Companies, which proposed the dairy, has filed an application for 49 high-capacity wells in Saratoga, and the wells are still in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s, application process.

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