Monday, September 21, 2015

More on WI DNR's refusal to heed water court order

I'd posted a number of items - -- this year and last year, among others  - - about manure pollution from large Wisconsin cattle feeding operations, and the stunning decision last week by the intentionally-corporatized Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ignore a court order to limit manure discharge by a giant cattle feeding operation in Kewaunee County that is contaminating neighbors' drinking water.
Here is an explanation of the issues by Midwest Environmental Advocates, representing some of the dairy's neighbors:
On Friday, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a final decision to approve a water pollution permit for an industrial livestock operation expansion in Kewaunee County. The agency refused to uphold portions of an October 2014 Administrative Law Judge decision ordering the agency to use its authority under state law to limit the number of animals in the facility and to require a groundwater monitoring plan for pollution from manure landspreading. Petitioners in this case will review options for appeal...
“We disagree with the opinion of the DOJ on the authority of the DNR in using reasonable strategies to regulate industrial livestock operations’ waste,” said attorney Sarah Geers. “The DNR narrowly interprets state statutes in matters of the public’s welfare and interests in keeping our water resources clean. Yet the DNR broadly exercises its authority and disregards court decisions when it is in the interests of industry. This is not a legal problem. It is a problem of the influence of politics and industry over the execution of laws that protect the public from unmonitored and unlimited pollution in our water....”
Ultimately, the DNR’s “final agency decision” isn’t really final. It punts the responsibility of fighting for agency accountability back to the citizens who would have to spend more time and money to dispute this legal question in court. The DNR’s change of position to disregard a court order and the DOJ’s opinion on the agency’s authority to do so do not have legal merit and Kewaunee County petitioners would have good cause to argue on appeal.
And I wonder if anyone at the DNR ever gives a thought to how Wisconsin's official disregard of water stewardship by the agency these days is viewed across the Great Lakes basin as the DNR edges closer to sending Waukesha's controversial and precedent-setting application for a Lake Michigan diversion to the seven other Great Lakes states.

Whose unanimous consent for the diversion is needed for its implementation.


Anonymous said...

I would think it is time for Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to stand up for the citizens of this state and for the protection of our water resources. Bet that's not going to happen. I am so sick of this "PAY TO PLAY" government that is now in place since Walker and his Republican legislators and bought and paid judges took control of this state. I sure hope the people realize what these clowns are doing and throw them all out with the 2016 elections.

Anonymous said...

"Governing for the government, and by the government," Think there is a blog by an influential WI GOP'er who makes this point very clear. We are no longer a real democracy, and our WI government is more similar to Stalin-istic Russia, minus the gulag and deaths.

Nathanael said...

It should be easy to get Cathy Stepp imprisoned for contempt of court.