Monday, April 9, 2018

Walker spurs big dairy operations, family farms keep suffering

I wrote here a year ago Saturday a detailed account of the negative consequences of Walker's now-six-year-old plan to expand big-dairy operations
and milk production in Wisconsin at the expense of smaller family-scale farms, and state water quality, to boot.
WI boosts big dairies & supply; smaller farms threatened anew
This Journal Sentinel story today shows that the madness continues.
Cheese-maker stepping up to help save 4 family farms as dairy crisis deepens
Note also that key Walker GOP ally Attorney Brad Schimel recently appointed a former dairy lobbyist to run the environmental unit at the Department of Justice, and environmentalists are challenging Schimel's fast-settlement of a case involving big dairies and DNR enforcement - - 
[Midwest Environmental Advocates] Executive Director Kim Wright said the quick, out of court settlement allowed the DNR and the Dairy Business Association (DBA) to "skirt the legal process" and "diminished the right for meaningful participation by those most at risk", according to a news release posted on the group's website.
“They had to go to court to do it, but today a diverse group of citizens dedicated to Wisconsin’s clean water future preserved the public’s right to have a say in whether or not the DNR can make drastic changes in water regulations without following the legal rulemaking process,” Wright said ...
- - that the dairy industry hailed as a win.

And you wonder why groundwater near these big dairy operations is unfit to drink?
Complete DNR fail; Massive fecal pollution in Kewaunee County wells
And why the phrase "brown water event" is now heard more frequently in rural Wisconsin:
MADISON, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is taking steps to provide emergency drinking water to rural Wisconsin residents with drinking water wells that are contaminated with livestock manure. After several years of petitions, meetings and citizen pressure, the state agency has agreed to use an existing part of our state’s administrative code – Chapter NR 738 – to initiate procedures to provide drinking water to qualifying residents.
“Brown water events” are not new to rural Wisconsinites who live near fields where livestock manure is spread for both fertilizer and for disposal. But the uptick over the last decade in the number of our state’s largest livestock operations and their tens of millions of gallons of liquid waste has created a public health threat when manure is spread on land, soaks into ground, enters the groundwater and families’ drinking wells and the concentration of pathogens spikes.
I do not know how Walker and Schimel and the GOP legislators who do their bidding for big corporate farms can run for re-election in rural Wisconsin, or even show their faces there.

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