Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End-of-year grassroots' update: A report from Kewaunee County

I've asked some grassroots Wisconsin activists whose groups have been featured on this blog to send a year-end updates. 

For example, I posted earlier this week about an effort to protect Dane County wetlands from further development.

Here's a report from Kewaunee County, where people are confronting Concentrated Animal Feed Operations, (CAFO's), pollution impacts on land, water and air:
A Year of Success in Kewaunee County
The sentiment of a healthy discussion is appreciated but the views of Kewaunee County citizens are jaded at the moment. 2013 was a year of hell for our county as citizens watched as Hall's Calf Ranch was rewarded with a CAFO permit after years of polluting, CAFOs sued a township trying to preserve their water, a 76,000,000 gallon lagoon was installed, Dueschers CAFO was fined for years of violations, manure spray irrigation was proposed and 33% of our wells were found to be polluted. 

A quick flip through Restore Kewaunee archives led me to a December 2013 a posting that laid out what the plans were for 2014. Let's see how we did:

December 2014 a group of concerned citizens established Restore Kewaunee, a website, blog and social media effort specifically designed to bring attention to industrial agriculture's impact on health and quality of life in Kewaunee County.

On Jan. 14, 2014 the WDNR renewed the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit at Ebert Dairy Enterprises, LLC. The permit allowed for the use of irrigation equipment to land apply manure or process wastewater as part of WDNR funded research

A group of Kewaunee County citizens petitioned the DNR's decision which moved the research and postponed manure irrigation in our county.

The Kinnards Dairy permit hearing took place in February 2013 followed by a DNR slammed by Administrative Judge Boldt for his decision of implementing a cow cap and groundwater monitoring. Kinnard Dairy has now petitioned Kewaunee County Circuit Court to overrule Judge Boldt.

Spring 2014 concerned citizens ran three citizens for county supervisor positions. Lee Luft was elected which has helped add a voice of reason to a board girdled by dairy stakeholders.

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future wrote a letter on our behalf stating the health issues related to living in an area of dense agriculture activity.

Kewaunee Cares has complied three years of water sampling data which clearly points to runoff contributing to algae blooms and closed city beaches. Concerned city residents initiated the ordinance banning the spreading of liquid manure within Algoma city limits. 

Kewaunee County passed a winter spreading ordinance. 

Under the ordinance, farmers wouldn’t be able to spread manure on shallow soils, which the ordinance deems 20 feet to bedrock, between January 1 and April 15. Citizen attendance at health and land and water committee meetings is the only reason the depth to bedrock moved from 5' to 20' which is still not the recommended 50' stated in the 2007 KARST Task Force Report.

October 22, 2014 Kewaunee CARES became one of six groups to petition the EPA to ensure drinking water security. The EPA Administrator is given certain emergency powers as set forth in the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”).


Anonymous said...

What's wrong with people up there? This is the Dairy State!

What these wonderful CAFOs are giving them is FREE CHOCOLATE MILK and I might ad it sure tastes a lot better that that highly processed crap from Deans and other big dairies.

And this isn't artificial -- like the crap from Deans -- it's the real thing.

YUM YUM! and PRAISE SCOTT WALKER and his republican cohorts for being so thoughtful!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Obviously you're really missing the point.

Anonymous said...

Will the DNR sincerely address citizen concerns or will they fall back on inadequate rules based on untested standards?