Saturday, June 10, 2017

WI mixed message: Come for Lake Superior birding, and the pig farm?

We now know that there is widespread well-water fecal contamination in the Northeastern Wisconsin's Kewaukee County where there is a concentration of large-scale dairy cattle operations.

Details about all the issues raised and documented, here:

A recent state audit of the WI DNR shows that it failed to follow its own water pollution inspection and enforcement rules more than 94% of the time:
Wisconsin’s water quality regulators failed to follow their own policies on enforcement against polluters more than 94 percent of the time over the last decade, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau said in a report released Friday.
From 2005 to 2015, there was a general decline in state Department of Natural Resources enforcement activity to protect lakes, streams and groundwater from large livestock farms, factories and sewage treatment plants that discharge liquid waste, according to the bureau’s 124-page report. 
* The current DNR leadership, echoing Gov. Walker's desire to have the agency run with "a chamber of commerce mentality," prefers self-regulation and voluntary compliance rather than state directives, as agency Secretary Cathy Stepp explained to legislators:
Stepp responded by saying she has brought customer-friendly private-sector principles to the DNR so that instead of fearing the department, business operators view it as “a safe space” where they can obtain advice that helps them comply with regulations and avoid environmental violations.
* The DNR has no system for alerting people who live near one of these large-scale feedlots is they have received information that a manure spill has taken place, the DNR's spokesman recently said.
With all that in mind, don't forget that Gov. Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, while routinely disregarding feedlot inspections and violation enforcement, is still reviewing an application by an Iowa hog producer to build a huge, 26,000 pig feeding operation in Northwestern Wisconsin that is within smelling distance of fresh water and nature sanctuaries in Lake Superior's popular Chequamegon Bay that is touted by the state as a tourist destination.

Seriously, 26,000 pigs at a time

close to where state tourism officials want you enjoy nature and look for snowy owls and shorebirds?
Located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Ashland, Chequamegon Bay's varied habitat is home to waterfowl, warblers and shorebirds in spring; snowy owls and bohemian waxwings in winter. The Chequamegon Bay area is among the best birding destinations in the Midwest, with a wide variety of habitats hosting nearly 300 bird species. Abundant public lands and extraordinary natural beauty provide visitors with unparalleled nature watching opportunities in this exceptional area of northern Wisconsin. 
Does the right hand in this right-wing government even know what it's farther right-hand is doing? 

So stay tuned, as this proposal is still under review and the DNR found the initial application incomplete.

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