Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Walker's 'legacy' further stained by more brown in the drinking water

Set aside the b.s. that Walker is pushing as his 'legacy' and focus on the actual b.s. people in Wisconsin are drinking:
Hazardous drinking water found in 42% of southwest Wisconsin wells
This is on Walker, and for that matter, his devoted water carriers - - whether those already polluted or at risk - - named Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald - - who were given their marching orders and aligned the Legislature with corporate water hogs statewide.

As the Wisconsin State Journal discloses:
Some 42 percent of 301 randomly selected wells tested in Iowa, Grant and Lafayette counties exceed federal health standards for bacteria that can come from animal or human waste, or for a toxic fertilizer residue...
“Walker’s DNR declined to participate in the three-county study, said Scott Laeser, water program director for the nonprofit Clean Wisconsin, which helped coordinate funding. A DNR spokesman declined to comment.
More on what Walker is omitting from his post-defeat legacy overreaches, here.

We have known about, and I have reported on, similar groundwater and public health failures in Eastern Wisconsin counties and the Central Sands which Walker allowed to fester while he turned more of state policy-making to the big operators who served his personal and partisan agendas. 
It would 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.
And a more recent one
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
And this item sums up Walker's sacrifice of the small Wisconsin dairy operation to serve the larger and more polluting, and politically-active industrial-scale

More Walker legacy material surfaces in national media 
The Dairy State gets highlighted, though I don't see the subject in Walker's Legacy File, while this Washington Post story with a Wisconsin dateline encapsulates it in a strong news feature: 
After 40 years of dairy farming, I sold my herd of cows this summer. The herd had been in my family since 1904; I know all 45 cows by name. I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to take over our farm — who would? Dairy farming is little more than hard work and possible economic suicide. 
The Journal Sentinel has a related Saturday story, and I'd been writing about it for a while, including this September post: 
Small dairies in Wisconsin remain under pressure, as trade negotiations with Canada approach a critical deadline later this month, reports the industry publication Dairy Herd: 

Wisconsin has lost another 47 dairy farms in August, with the total number of licensed farms standing now at just 8,372. The loss of 47 farms is just slightly lower than the 54 farms lost in July. The state has lost 429 farms since the beginning of the year, a decrease of 4.9%, and 588 the past year, a decrease of 6.6%.
Of course, Walker's priority is serving the big dairy operators' agendas, including environmental deregulation, that would help them increase their market share:
State records show that one day before Walker’s October speech in Trego, in northwestern Wisconsin, the governor’s office received detailed plans from the Dairy Business Association on legal requirements and strategic options to move the program. 
I'd noted those depressing, going-out-of-business trends in Wisconsin, here and also here
Walker no friend to Wisconsin family farmers. Or their water.
So here's the state of the Dairy State in one new headline:
More than 4% of Wisconsin Dairy Farms Call It Quits in 2018—So Far
Meaning that almost two WI dairy farms are closing every day this year - - 382 through July 31. 
A final thought: I hope there are no comments here or where I post this on social media about 'those rural counties voted for Walker, so they get what they deserve,'

No one knows who voted for whom, but I can tell you that none of the children there had any say over these matters. 

And nothing is gained if we imitate the worst behaviors of our failed 'compassionate conservatives' policy-makers with insensitive words and deeds of our own. Rural drinking water pollution is a statewide problem which, like lead abatement and waterway phosphorous contamination, needs statewide, judgement-free analyses and solution.


Anonymous said...

People talk about this as if it is only an economic issue. This is a huge, huge public health issue. Republicans and Democrats should be meeting every day to figure out how to solve this problem. Scientists have been documenting this in Wisconsin for decades. Rules have been written without even looking at the data because industrial Ag has a stranglehold on Wisconsin.

Will the new DNR Secretary try to solve this issue so we can have clean groundwater or will he be another rubber stamp for big dairy? I truly hope I am wrong but I doubt he will do anything meaningful. He has been on the DNR board for over 10 years and I don't ever remember hearing about anyone on the board talking about protecting groundwater.

People will say, "hold him accountable" but unless he asserts his support of protecting and enhancing groundwater immediately, by writing rules controlling manure and commercial fertilizer application, I see him as another corporate shill for the dairy industry.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see Voss is "acting quickly," after eight years, to convene a task force likely made up of Ag friendly legislators with an agenda approved by DBA and WMC. Sorry rural Wisconsinites. Don't drink the water.

Anonymous said...

CODE BROWN 24-7-365!