Thursday, July 14, 2016

Keep an eye on this WI CAFO manure spill

Before we take a look at last week's manure wash into a Fox River tributary, let's just remember another high-profile waste pollution case which shed important light on the kid-gloves way Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources political managers handled it:
DNR appointee resolved massive waste violation internally instead of referring case to DOJ
OK: Now let's take a closer look at the manure which ran off during a rainstorm from a hay field last week into a Fox River tributary, according to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources news release:
DNR officials, with land and water conservation staff from both counties, responded Monday to a complaint along the stream at Holland and Wayside Road and traced the source. An environmental contractor was called in by the farm responsible and approximately 10,000 gallons of manure-tainted water was pumped out of the creek.  
The investigation is ongoing.
And you wonder why there are facts and headlines like this:
Dead zones haunt Green Bay as manure fuels algae blooms
Anyway: The DNR news release did not disclose that the original source of the manure was one of those large, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, (CAFOs), so often in the news when it comes to land use and water quality issues - - one example among many, here - -  nor did the news release identify it by name, but some media reports did:
The DNR says Shiloh Dairy spread the liquid manure, and is responsibe for the clean-up...
Leaders at Shiloh Dairy did not want to go on camera, but General Manager Gordon Speirs issued a statement saying, "The farm and the DNR continue to try to determine the cause and effect. Shiloh Dairy has a healthy working relationship with the DNR and will continue to work with the agency through the process..."
Once the investigation is complete, the owner of the farm could be fined.
Shiloh Dairy has grown from 800 animals to 4,200, the business's website says.

Google further and you learn that Gordon Speirs is also President of the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association - - a major Big Ag lobbying operation - - and Speirs has donated $10,250 to Walker since 2012, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association signed on to a letter in the last legislative session hand-delivered to legislators which demanded that groundwater regulation in the state be rolled back by law to give big corporate water users easier access to large amounts of groundwater - - a legislative plan likely to be taken up by legislators later this year because the Attorney General issued an opinion recently at the request of GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos which smoothed the way for such large-user control.


What the big water users want embedded in the law is the DNR and Walker's disinterest in regulation - - a so-called 'philosophy' which has led to the intentional reduction of pollution prevention inspections and after-the-fact enforcement of violations documented since the agency's remake and direction under Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' managers, according to a non-partisan state government report:
Audit: Wisconsin DNR ignoring its own water pollution rules
Wisconsin’s overworked pollution regulators failed to follow their own policies for dealing with violators of water pollution laws more than 90 percent of the time, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau said on Friday. 
Notices of violations were issued to polluters in just 33 of 558 instances serious enough for such citations under DNR policies, the audit found. 
And the DNR inspected 17 — or 6.5 percent — of the state’s large livestock farms, called concentrated animal feeding operations, to ensure they were complying with the law after reissuing their pollution permits instead of before, a violation of state and federal law.
Which takes us back to last week's CAFO manure spillage, and justifies close public monitoring to see whether the DNR has any interest pollution enforcement action.


Anonymous said...

No, the DNR does not have any intetest in enforcing Environmenal Laws. They, the leadership, do have an interest in making it appear they do. The dnr staff have nothing to say, all decisions from top management. There will be no fines, in fact in this case the story will eventually be no laws were broken - "agricultural storm water" manure runoff is now exempt from being a violation.

Sue said...

'Shiloh Dairy has a healthy working relationship with the DNR'
I'll bet they do.

Anonymous said...

It's what they call an "Act of God", who could have known it might rain?