Sunday, January 13, 2019

Nancy Utesch guest post: Kewaunee, others long overdue for clean water

Data show what people in Kewaunee County and the Central Sands region who live near the industrial-scale Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, already know:

Their drinking water is contaminated:
WI Central Sands the next Flint? Kewaunee County already soaks up that honor.
And, yes, new litigation has been filed by dozens of residents in Juneau County - - but did you know that a delayed and diverted 2012 case brought against a Kewaunee County CAFO was successfully re-routed by former Attorney General Brad Schimel through the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to Waukesha County?

Where Scott Walker sent him through a post-defeat, 11th hour judicial appointee!

And if those politics saturating this public health crisis in Wisconsin were not deep and blatant enough, GOP Assembly Leader Robin Vos thinks now is the time for a task force

Where was his concern in, say, 2015:

One-third of wells in Kewaunee County unsafe for drinking water
Nancy Utesch, a long-time Kewaunee County clean water activist, sent along some comments and an update:
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We in Kewaunee County share a commonality with Juneau County residents who are being poisoned through agricultural practices. 

We asked the US Environmental Protection Agency for an investigation into the cause and source of well water contamination in our 2014 Safe Drinking Water Act petition, but the EPA has yet to address it. 

Central Sands has the Wysocki CAFO. We have 16 CAFOs. Wisconsin should long ago have stopped acting confused as to the cause and source of known, widespread contamination and moved instead to protect Kewaunee County residents and water resources of people statewide. 
Manure flowing from a Kewaunee CAFO.
While we are elated over the attention being focused by the grassroots work of our Central Sands comrades, we are baffled by the lack of response to two infant hospitalizations in 2004 and 2014, respectively, and to persistent water borne illnesses regularly documented at our local health department. 

The EPA’s Region 5 in Chicago said on September 19, 2018 that Kewaunee’s 16 CAFOs, porous karst topography and costs were all factors delaying its response to our 2014 petition, but those are not valid reasons to delay an investigation and solutions for years.

Instead, the EPA’s grotesque neglect is failing to protect the health of Wisconsin citizens from known pollution threats posed by a growing industry which the EPA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources should be credibly regulating.

When will the US EPA region 5 and our Wisconsin DNR do real investigations into the causes and sources of Kewaunee’s water contamination? And enforce solutions in the public interest?

What will it take? 

Without real investigations, will we ever know the full extent and costs from the illness and suffering resulting from agribusiness here? 

Why has it taken this long?

We have waited long enough.

1 comment:

Curt Peterson said...

The anti-environmental President of the United States and the incompetent leadership he has put into cabinet positions connected with environmental policy have undermined the system which should have responded to the water crises in the State of Wisconsin. Walker and his administrative cronies are now out of their do nothing positions. Now we will probably need to wait for this buffoon in Washington to leave office in disgrace. The EPA should be sued for its neglect of the CAFO problems.