Sunday, October 21, 2018

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment. Part 9. CAFOs

This is the 9th installment of a 21-part blog series I am posting until the weekend before the Nov. 6th election. Each installment also carries the previous day's link. Also, here is a link to the first seven.
ll be hard to do justice to the matter of the expansion of the industrial-scale dairy cattle and other other animal feeding operations known as CAFOs, as they impact neighboring and downstream groundwater, wells and streams, air quality, the credibility of government and regulation.

The consequences have been particularly severe where CAFOs are numerous, like Kewaunee County, where we have known since 2015 that about a third of wells there, and on other areas in NE Wisconsin, and the Central Sands to the west were contaminated.

One major fight over a CAFO expansion led to landmark litigation in 2014, and is continuing to this day, with Walker ally, Wisconsin GOP AG and friend to big water users Brad Schimel maneuvering the case to friendlier court confines in Waukesha County, a Republican hotbed far from NW Wisconsin and where he previously had served as DA. 

Here is one summary post:

WI Central Sands the next Flint? Kewaunee County already soaks up that honor.
You can see how and why the phrase "brown water event" has made into the mainstream vocabulary, given what's flowing downstream. 

Like this one moving off a Kewaunee County CAFO:

The DNR used to make it easy to see in a single chart how and where CAFOs were expanding, but that chart no longer exists.

Hey, if the DNR was willing to run five CAFO permit hearings past citizens in a single day, imagine how much staff time it would take to keep updating that chart.

It's also no surprise that the DNR would keep showing disinterest documented by state auditors in making sure rural well water wasn't also a repository for cattle waste.

Senior DNR officials did the same sort of thing when confronted with evidence that a septic tank waste hauler improperly spread his loads of human feces near rural homes. After all, a GOP campaign donor needed some consideration.

Speaking of which:

You may remember that I began this series focusing on moves Walker made in the first hours of his administration to ease wetland protections and even to suspend the rules so a campaign donor could quickly get a permit to fill and wetland and build a development.

Fast forward to this year, when Wisconsin Democracy Campaign discovered that major Walker donors were getting permits basically in perpetuity to acquire all the groundwater they wanted to fuel their CAFOs.

The bigger the CAFOs, the bigger the Walker-driven supply/over-supply of milk, driving out smaller farms and leaving the big operators more ready to weather that storm.

Talk about carrying water for those who could privatize it, abuse it and carry it away.

This is part 8 of the series, published October 21, 2018.

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