Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Infant's death, contaminated water, eligible for WI legacy scorecards

Walker has been framing his legacy: any room for this?

From the Minnesota Star Tribune comes this heartbreaking, infuriating story about the all-too-familiar water quality issues in rural Wisconsin's Central Sands:
WATER PRESSURE second in a three-part series
Wis. residents take on state and powerful ag industry
In central Wisconsin, the conflict is driven largely by the proliferation of giant irrigation rigs that arc over mile after mile of flat farm fields. They make this one of the nation’s most productive farm states, with $88 billion a year in sales from food and food processing.
To many neighbors, however, they create an untenable drain on water that is tearing communities apart.
People in the Village of Plover, Wis., saw their favorite trout stream dry up, leaving thousands of dead fish for the raccoons. Nearby, recreational lakes ringed with summer homes have periodically shriveled into wetlands over the past 15 years, depressing property values and pitting lakeshore owners against the state government in a lawsuit over the meaning of public trust.
And Celina Stewart, a young mother in the tiny town of Nekoosa, lost an infant daughter to a fatal brain malformation that has been associated with high levels of nitrate, a fertilizer byproduct found in the community’s drinking water. Her tragedy led to a community well testing program this year, which found that 40 percent of the homes had nitrate concentrations that, like hers, were far above the legal limit. 
(Note that the story above is part 2 of a three-part series. Here is Part 1 with a Minnesota dateline, so clearly the focus is regional.)

Tragic, unacceptable connections to this Wisconsin investigative disclosure dating to 2015:
Born a month early in the spring of 1999, Case 8 had been thriving on formula. But at three weeks old, when her family ran out of bottled water and started using boiled water from the household well at the dairy farm where they lived, she got sick. 
She was just 4 pounds, 10 ounces, when her parents brought her to a Grant County emergency room. Cold, pale and “extremely blue,” she was rushed by helicopter to a regional intensive care unit.
Nearly all of her red blood cells had lost the ability to carry oxygen, according to medical records Wisconsin public health officials summarized in the Wisconsin Medical Journal.
Two days after she fell ill with methaemoglobinaemia, or “blue baby syndrome,” water tests turned up the most likely culprit — high levels of nitrate.
I've been following these intolerable health risks and realities in rural Wisconsin for years - - with information plucked as recently as three days ago off a DNR news release:
WI rings out the year in a brownish sort of way

Another brown water event. Yes, in Brown County:
DNR confirms manure spill in Brown County 
- - and summarized, in part, a few weeks ago, here:
A collection of blog posts about Kewaunee, Central Sands CAFOs
Beginning with this May 5 item:
Contaminated Central Sands waters echo Kewaunee County concerns
Also including this July 30 posting,
WI Central Sands the next Flint? Kewaunee County already soaks up that honor.
And this July 24 posting about CAFO contamination in the Central Sands area:
Central Sands residents: call legislators, agencies about the water. Now.
And this July 19 posting: 
Where you can't drink the WI water. Or step in it.
And this recent installment about CAFOs in a series just concluded about Walker's 8-year war on the Wisconsin environment:
Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment. Part 9. CAFOs 
Echoed here:

Another day, another WI groundwater crisis story

This time we have fresh data that Big Ag is helping deplete the Little Plover River, a Class I trout stream. Which is not news.

Wisconsin's Little Plover River Running Low. Again.

Big agriculture and a DNR that lets corporations have their way with Wisconsin waters that belong to everyone are again enabling the same trout stream in Portage County to fall to worrisome levels:
The Little Plover runs about 6 miles before it empties into the Wisconsin River. It attracted national attention when parts of the river ran dry in 2005. American Rivers named the Little Plover one of the nation's 10 most endangered in an annual assessment in 2013.
It's a discouraging, infuriating, repetitive story.

The River Alliance of Wisconsin cites the River's situation as a warning about the consequences of state water misuse; I posted last year some of the Alliance' Little Plover photos, below, and mentioned the river's problems in a summary blog post from last May that included more than a dozen links cataloguing the many threats to public waters in Wisconsin.

Scott Walker and his party's obeisance to businesses which think the state's groundwater and surface water are theirs to deplete, pollute and otherwise expropriate have only intensified the state's water crisis.

River Alliance of Wisconsin photos

Dead Brookie


Jake formerly of the LP said...

But until rural Wisconsin continues to vote on guns, religion, and resentment over health, schools and clean water, much of this will continue.

An Evers DNR that believes in science will help, but better voting by people who are damaged by GOP negligence and corruption will do more.

Anonymous said...

People in those rural areas get nothing but pro-Walker propaganda on the radio, newspapers, and tee-vee. People in the Madison-Milwaukee corridor forget or do not appreciate the decades and decades of right-wing trash that is in the rural media 24/7.

It matters, because propaganda works.

Anonymous said...

Rural residents are not all the same and none of them deserve to be ignored the way the GOP has ignored them these past 8 years. There is no rural development plan. There are no laws insuring clean drinking water. Medical care is hours away. They have no internet. Their schools are closing. Their roads are crumbling and their towns are shrinking. Their way of life is disappearing. Instead of making sure that their fear further divides us, we need to figure out how to meet them half-way.

Anonymous said...

Anon - I can't help people that vote against their basic needs and interests. These areas elected Scott Walker and Donald Trump. The numbers are clear. Maybe the minority of rural people that support progressive and family-supporting policies can somehow reach their neighbors.

I cannot as there is too much hate and ignorance. I cannot and will not meet racists half-way.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

I'm there with you, and Dems have run on those things. Too many rural voters didn't choose the party that cares about solving their very real problems.

At some point, the people need to also step up to meet the politicians half-way. Some get that, but not enough these days.

Maybe we need a gonzo billboard campaign in the Northeoods that says things such as "Like this scenery? Then STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN!"