Sunday, July 17, 2016

WI court orders tighter control of feedlot, manure

There has been a win in the grassroots Wisconsin battle against intentionally weak government 'regulation' which has encouraged private interests to appropriate the people's rights to clean water. 
A circuit court ruled on July 14th that state officials - - despite politically-inspired protestations to the contrary - - have the authority to more assertively regulate and prevent pollution at one of the high-profile Kewaunee County feedlot operation concentrated there, reports Midwest Environmental Advocates:
In a victory for this case, we are pleased to share the July 14, 2016 Circuit Court decision that affirms the petitioners' and partner organization Clean Wisconsin's argument before the court that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' rejection of the Division of Hearings and Appeals' Administrative Law Judge's order to include animal unit limits and off-site groundwater monitoring of the Kewaunee County CAFO was unlawful. This decision also describes how the Department of Justice's narrow interpretation of Act 21 - that the DNR did not have explicit authority to impose these permit conditions - was incorrect and that state statutes do empower the DNR to requre limits and monitoring of pollution in order for permitees to comply with state and federal clean water laws. 
Read the full Circuit Court decision (PDF).
On Monday, October 12, 2015, three years after the initial petition for a contested case hearing, and a year after the administrative law judge issued a decision in this case, we had to again challenge the DNR’s unlawful action in September to overturn the judge’s decision. After the DNR changed its position, petitioners appealed the agency’s final decision (PDF, large file) to permit the company to operate without a limit on the number of animals in the facility or a requirement to monitor the conditions of groundwater where the company spreads manure offsite. Petitioners’ appeal was combined with Clean Wisconsin’s appeal and the cases were briefed before the Dane County Circuit Court.
On Friday, September 11, 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a final decision on the challenged water pollution permit, circumventing the October 2014 Administrative Law Judge's decision and doing an about-face on the position the agency argued in the case. In October, the Judge found that the DNR does have the authority under state law to include an animal unit limit and off-site groundwater monitoring requirement in the industrial livestock operation's permit, and called the polluted groundwater in Kewaunee County evidence of a “massive regulatory failure.”
Midwest Environmental Advocates is working with Kewaunee County petitioners in this appeal by providing the citizens with legal and technical support. In a parallel action, Clean Wisconsin has also filed an appeal of the agency’s decisionas it would have set a precedent that could negatively impact groundwater protections throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Look to corporate interests to appeal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is why we now have a David Prosser Law Library. Instead of putting all the manure and such in drinking water, it can now be collected and deposited in the sanctity of Wisconsin's Supreme Court appropriately under the name of Prosser.