I noted yesterday that Kewaunee County residents continue to deal with manure dumping and contaminated water from large dairy operations - - a direct result of Gov. Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' and deliberately stripped-down Department of Natural Resources that has intentionally reduced pollution inspections and enforcement actions while large-scale animal feeding factories have great increased in number, DNR data show:
Wisconsin CAFO WPDES permits by animal type over timeMuch of the effort to reverse these harmful outcomes has been undertaken by the public-interest law firm Midwest Environmental Advocates; one of its lawyers has produced a fine posting which explains the folly of DNR Secretary and lead privatization cheerleader Cathy Stepp's belief that "spot checks" of the privatized pollution prevention plans she wants her agency to soon allow will provide public health compliance.
The lesson Wisconsin should take away from its drinking water crisis in Kewaunee County, nitrate contamination in the Central Sands, and nutrient pollution degrading lakes and streams is that we need careful state oversight to protect our water resources from pollution and agricultural runoff and waste. That means we need adequate DNR staff to review and verify the accuracy of all NMPs '[nutrient management plans] that are the central component of CAFO permits.
If Secretary Stepp plans to delegate that task to approved consultants and oversee NMPs only through “spot audits and regular check ins” the public is right to fear this will only make things worse, not better.Spot checks = spotty enforcement - - and speaking of Kewaunee County and dairy manure dumping - - as we noted yesterday - - those can be some pretty big spots: