Thursday, April 13, 2017

WI DNR yet to fix PCB pollution at Madison plant

The "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin DNR directed statewide by right-wing GOP Gov. Scott Walker and former developer Cathy Stepp since 2011
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
has intentionally pared back pollution enforcement work and focus - - one of many accounts, here - - so it is not surprising that the agency has yet to stop toxic PCB contamination somehow still leaving a Madison East side manufacturing plant after years of 'action,' the Wisconsin State Journal reports today:
Months after state regulators approved the final cleanup of toxic soil next to a busy Madison bike path, additional high concentrations of PCBs were discovered.
Toxins were traced to an underground pipe that drains water from the adjacent Madison-Kipp Corp. plant, raising new questions about how the government has handled a tangle of pollution problems at the factory.
PCBs have been long banned, but residual contamination persists and needs assertive cleanup to protect public health.

Here is a DNR webpage devoted to the Madison case.

Also take in information about how the Wisconsin GOP Attorney General is making his own smudge on the Wisconsin environment by giving polluters laid-back preferences.

And don't forget that in 2013, court records and reporting showed that representatives of the Madison plant had gone to the Governor's office seeking intervention to limit damage claims that could be made by people living nearby.

You wouldn't even make such a ham-handed effort unless you thought the request would be welcomed.

I'd noted the Kipp case in 2014:

You have no doubt seen and read about toxic coal ash spills into a West Virginia river.
Or followed the massive tar sand pipeline break in Michigan and its billion-dollar+ cleanup.
Yet there are other ongoing spills with toxic consequences that have not produced dramatic images, but which are having impacts and raise questions about what kinds of business practices and levels of regulation are tolerated on our collective watches.
Note in this most recent story about the ongoing cleanup beneath the Madison-Kipp metals plant in a residential neighborhood on Madison's east side - - and when I lived a few blocks away during a ten-year period I thought the only environmental issue there was the occasional acrid taint in the air - - that Kipp had been routinely flushing chemical-laden water into the ground.
Right under its plant off busy Atwood Ave., near homes and small businesses, churches and an elementary school, and a few blocks from Lake Monona.
This sickening saga speaks volumes about the free hand with harmful consequences that Walker and top DNR management - - not line workers plugging away in a very tough working environment - - have given some businesses in Wisconsin - - leading, for example, to widespread rural groundwater contamination near feedlots the DNR has enabled through inaction - - and the overall diminution of the basic science and public health and safety mission of the DNR - -  spelled out here in detail.

Run the state like a business, and the bad business that follows is bad for the people.

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