Friday, September 18, 2015

NE WI media covering DNR manure pollution fail

I'd noted the impact of a recent DNR/Department of Justice tag team decision that intentionally disregards a judge's order limiting the size of a big Kewaunee County dairy operation because of manure-related drinking water pollution.

The ruling's arrogance was yet another regrettable example of how corporate interests in the state have been given control over water rights through Scott Walker's 'chamber-of-commerce mentality,' forcing citizens to spend their time and money fighting the government they support through taxes and fees for land and water quality that should be top public public priorities.

I thought you might be interested in how the Door County Pulse in neighboring Door County is covering the broad legal, political and environmental issues involved.

Pretty comprehensively:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced on Sept. 11 that it is unable to comply with two orders that were handed down last October by Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt in the matter of a pollution discharge permit for Kinnard Farms in Kewaunee County. 
In granting a petition filed by Kinnard Farms for the modification of the farm’s Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said in a statement that the agency would not comply with Judge Boldt’s order to set a maximum number of cows the farm can have and that it would not require the farm to set up an offsite groundwater monitoring system...
“The DNR narrowly interprets state statutes in matters of the public’s welfare and interests in keeping our water resources clean, [said a petitioners' attorney]. 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.” 

The Pulse also recently ran a nice piece about some of the area's leading water quality activists and their organization, Kewaunee Cares, and I've noted the important work going on there, too.

Remember, Wisconsin water belongs to everyone, and access to it is guaranteed by Article IX of the state constitution.


Sue said...

Door County went for Walker 54% - 45%.
Kewaunee County went for Walker 62% - 36%.
I applaud those who are fighting a losing battle for the good of their counties. It has to be so discouraging. I'm also happy to see some news organizations finally covering the scary stuff and calling a few things out clearly and bluntly.

Bernie Starzewski said...

A good update to what I've been writing about up there.
Im familiar with the area and am an ex dairy farmer myself. The problems extend down into norther Manitowoc and souther Brown counties where the Karst rock formations make it easy for manure to seep into the aquifer.
The soil conditions are perhaps the worst choice for that type of soil but the area's conservative bent choosing right wing crazies Lasee and Jacques as their reps along with a small population make it extremely difficult to fight.
Its simply a matter of political vulnerability of the alliance between government and an industry out of control.