Tuesday, November 28, 2017

One day, 5 CAFO hearings, and WI citizens each get 5 minutes to react

On, Wisconsin?

How about, Goodbye, Bucky? 

How low has the bar been dragged for the democratic process in Wisconsin? 

How dismissive of the general public has the DNR become? 

How beholden is DNR management to big corporations which the agency barely regulates in Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' government?

The answers: 

The bar is on the ground. The public can't be more definitively dissed. And DNR management could not more clearly display how deeply in thrall it is to Walker's donors and corporate supporters..

As I noted recently, the DNR was planning, and indeed held today - -  five hearings assembly-line style on CAFO expansion and continuation in CAFO-saturated, manure-soaked, well water-contaminated Kewaunee County.

Five hearings - - on the same day - - 

- - and, I am told by an attendee, five hearings-in-one where the DNR gave people who took time away from their jobs and families a whole five minutes to speak their piece - - one minute per CAFO.

As I wrote and documented a few months ago:

Such is life in Wisconsin - - whether it's to save the Bad River watershed in the Northwest from open-pit mining, destructive golf course construction along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Sheboygan, or drinking water supplies long-contaminated by feedlot runoff in Kewaunee County in the Northeast - - because right-wing GOP Gov. and corporate servant Scott Walker has installed "a chamber of commerce mentality" atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 
Here's the bigger picture.
This time the familiar pattern repeats itself because the DNR hurriedly approved a big sand mine where there are wetlands and rare stands of timber, and environmental groups are going to court to force the DNR to do its job on behalf of taxpayers and the environment spelled out here by the DNR itself.

The so-called CAFO 'hearings' represent precisely the kind of institutional arrogance, thoughtlessness and favoritism cited repeatedly in a recent analysis of the DNR and Walker administration environmental oversight.

As veteran activist Laurie Longtime wrote:
We were used to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation process that ignored public comments and dismissed legitimate concerns, but we expected better treatment and fair hearings at the Wisconsin DNR, where public input was sometimes actually heard and acted on. We expected to have continued citizen input on significant legislation. 
We were wrong.
Here's a media account of this intentional procedural disaster.
It was the first time the DNR held public hearings for multiple applicants at the same time, which drew anger from some of the anti-CAFO faction.
“I’m completely opposed to the idea we’re doing five CAFO hearings all at one time,” said Nancy Utesch, of the Kewaunee CARES activist group. “I’m glad it’s convenient for the DNR.”
And, yes, comments can be mailed. And, yes, there is a deadline, but the message sent by today's hearing process suggests that comments are just another Kabuki formality. (In another context years ago, a public employee who read comments filed with another agency said he gave them the "R and R." Read and reject.)
The DNR will accept written public comments through the end of the day Dec. 5. Comments can be submitted to Casey Jones, Oshkosh Service Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI, 54901, or Casey.Jones@wi.gov


Anonymous said...

Thanks for reporting on this. It underscores how voters are being shut out of the process.

Betty Polster said...

Not only that, it underscores how little regard they have for Wisconsin residents;in other words, they don't give a rip about us.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Come to Wisconsin! Just don't expect clean drinking water.

I'm sure THAT will get all the educated Milennials lining up to come here.