Sunday, October 21, 2018

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment, Part 8. Dirty air.

This 21-part retrospective series I'd promised will run with daily updates, ending prior to the Nov. 6 election. This is Part 8.

Much of the series has dealt with various water issues, but in this installment, I want to focus on policies Walker and his agencies have instituted that leave plenty of Wisconsin residents with unhealthy air to breathe. 


And knowing that what goes up - - air pollution emissions - - comes back down to earth and often in the water - - there's another scientific fact which Walker and the pollution party he represents have dismissed.
Smoke stacks from a factory.
And, as I pointed out with Walker's multiple attacks on clean water and particularly wetlands - - those natural water filters which minimize flooding, something Wisconsin has repeatedly suffered in the last few years - - his anti-science, pro-air-polluter policies began early in his tenure.

After Walker installed 
atop the air management section at his 'chamber of commerce mentality' DNR a top official representing industries which had long campaigned for relaxed air pollution standards, the DNR eliminated a [ubliv health service it had been offering: early notifications about deteriorating air quality that could help seniors, children, people with heart and lung problems and even people planning strenuous outdoor activities avoid potentially-harmful  exposure to particulates that are not always visible.

But industry's attitude towards air pollution can be, 'let's not draw attention to about it especially if you can't always see it,' and the action set the stage for further dismissive actions about air pollution, including exemptions for SE air quality management to suit Foxconn, litigation against Obama air quality initiatives and penalty-free 'enforcement' for pollution violations by the huge multinational corporation 3M.  


More about that later.


Two months after Walker was sworn in, I wrote this:

Walker administration will stop publishing some air quality information
Remember that Pat Stevens, a lawyer who worked for the road-builders, home-builders and the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, is now managing the agency's air quality section.

This is the email text...
As of March 15, 2011, the Wisconsin DNR will no longer issue Air Quality Watches for ozone and particle pollution due to limited staff resources and the potential increase in the number of air quality notices under proposed revisions to federal air standards.

In the past, an air quality watch was issued when conditions were favorable for pollutants to reach unhealthy levels. 
Watches are also being eliminated due to their confusion with Air Quality Advisories which are issued when pollution concentrations actually reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups.

Air quality notices are issued as a public service by the DNR in partnership with the National Weather Service. They are not mandated by rule or law.


The DNR will continue to issue Air Quality Advisories when ozone and particle pollution levels are over or expected to reach the federal air quality standard.
That's what you get when the state's major public resource management agency becomes a defacto Department of Commerce. 

Here is Part 7 of this series, published October 20, 2018.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Scott Walker, weird jersey boy

So which is odder:

Walker with his own name on a Brewers T-shirt with Chacin's number 45 (yeah, I know, Walker's the 45th Governor of Wisconsin), or wearing the T-shirt in Green Bay, where another sports franchise is rather well known.

Actually, he should, out of loyalty, always wear Cubs gear, given the $5 million Cubs owner Joe Ricketts gave Walker in 2015.

Just a thought, since he put these images on Twitter.

My other thought is that he's going to have so stay on his bus if he's coming back to Madison this evening because I don't think the state's small planes are ideal when we've got an all-daytime wind advisory.

Might he be made Scotthole aware today?
 
14 minutes ago


Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment, parts 1-7

I'd promised to publish on this blog a 21-part series on Walker's attack on the environment, with daily updates, prior to the Nov. 6 election.
Dead brookie in the dried up Little Plover River. Photo by River Alliance of Wisconsin,

Here is a post with links to the first 7 installments. Click on any title for that item.
---------------------
Walker's 8-year-war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 1, wetlands.

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 2, Walker & Stepp.
Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 3, mining, big business and $.

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 4. More wetlands, big business, $.


Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 5, wolves, blood & dogs.
Walker's 8-year-war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 6: Waters harmed, 2013-'13.
Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 7. UW, DNR sciebceslashed




Walker's 8-year attack on Wisconsin's environment: Part 7. UW, DNR slashed

Walker has never been the science Governor. Ask any road engineer, teacher, clean water specialist, hunter nervous about chronic wasting disease, wind farm investor, solar panel producer, or data collector tracking the rankings' fall at UW-Madison.

So getting ready to run (and fall flat on his face) for President meant proposing a budget that obliterated many UW and DNR environmental programs, which of course, were based on science and research.

Walker's budget also would have sold off UW-Milwaukee's Downer Woods- -  which doubles as an outdoors science lab and urban park in a blue neighborhood - - to the highest bidder.

The Legislature balked at the UW programmatic slash-and=burn, but in the end the UW system took the first of two, $250 million budget reductions - - see second to last bulleted item, here - - and the DNR would lose scores of educator and science positions that continued to weaken its fundamental conservation mission.

* February 27, 2015:
Walker budget would cut numerous UW environmental programs, DNR jobs
As if Walker's across-the-board staff and program cuts to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (66 science positions, for example), his removal of policy-making authority from the citizen-attentive Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, an exemption for the huge UW system statewide from energy saving goals, his removal of state financing from recycling programs and his 13-year suspension of the popular Knowles-Nelson land purchase and stewardship program weren't enough slams at public access and public policy-making, science and resources, his proposal to restructure the UW system and slash its budget would have also mandated many deep cuts in UW managed and offered environmental activities, said the budget document.
This is a link to Part 6 from October 19, 2018. 

 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Walker's 8-year-war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 6: Waters harmed, 2011-13.

This 21-part retrospective series I'd promised will run with daily updates, ending prior to the Nov. 6 election. This is Part 6; a link to the previous day's posting is at the bottom of each installment. 

This installment includes a summary of Walker's special-interest water-carrying through 2013, focusing on damage done to wetlands, shorelines, the state constitution's now-weakened Public Trust Doctrine, sustainable groundwater pumping, the popular Knowles-Nelson public lands stewardship fund, and many others.
* December 20, 2013:
Wisconsin's Water Crisis
In the name of job-creation, Walker pushed the Legislature to adopt a bill short-circuiting the formal, routine review of a wetland filling permit application from a Green Bay-area developer (and Walker campaign contributor) to facilitate the construction of a national fishing equipment mega-store. 

Not even a subsequent 2011 letter from federal officials citing a jaw-dropping 75 "omissions and deviations" in Wisconsin's management of the US Clean Water Act has slowed the flow of proposals or actions by the Governor, state agencies and the Legislature to:

* End some environmental reviews for some major development projects.

* Change laws to ease building in wetlands, including waterways protected for their scientifically significant status. The bill was drafted with active input from Wisconsin building interests; Walker signed it to a standing ovation at a convention of Realtors.

* Allow mega-dairies to expand without serious regard for the watertable, and exempt some new high-capacity wells (100,000 gallons+ daily) applicants from assessing those wells' cumulative water draw effects. Imagine the authorities saying developers could add as many 10-story parking ramps as they wanted without studying the impact on traffic. 

* End the ability of municipalities to establish construction site runoff regulations stronger than state standards, and overall enforcement transferred to the DNR - -  an agency now run with a "chamber-of-commerce mentality" intentionally installed there by Gov. Walker.

Deeply cut funding for a long-standing and bi-partisan open space acquisiton program - - the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund - - and require the DNR to sell 10,000 acres of land - - land that retains moisture, prevents flooding, filters water, and sustains fish and wildlife.

* Despite the need for erosion controls, open shoreland to greater development.  

* Enable unprecedented mountain-top removal in the pristine, northern Penokee Hills for a very deep, very wide open-pit iron ore mine that could run for 4.5-to-22 miles near the headwaters of the Bad River, streams and lakes near Lake Superior. (Some subsequent information, here.) 

The mine would be upriver from public drinking water supplies and close to wild rice producing estuaries central to the survival of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe (Chippewa), and would produce, despite scientific testimony and other warnings, millions of tons of acid-yielding waste rock set to be dumped with state approval directly into streams and wetlands.

Is this rush to make water law and policy changes rooted in good science? Common sense?

*  When asked why the Ojibwe were not provided a seat at the table when the mining bill was drafted behind closed doors with company participation, two key Assembly members said the tribe's input wasn't feasible or required.

When a fifth-generation Mellen farm family living near the mine's proposed blasting and open-pit excavation area expressed to visiting State Sen. Glenn Grothman, (R-West Bend), its concern that mine operations would cause their well to drain away, Grothman said they should trust the mine operators to caulk for that.

Worse, these legal and policy changes to water policy and law are taking place against a backdrop of other troubling, visible water emergencies and risks being ignored:

*  Lake Michigan is plagued by destructive invasive species and remains at persistent low water levels that negatively impacting commercial shipping and recreational boating.

*  Wisconsin surface waters are vulnerable to reduced volumes from warming temperatures that accelerate evaporation. 

*  The Little Plover River - - once a reliable angling gem in Central Wisconsin - - has run dry. It is affected by the rapid increase in high-capacity agricultural wells sited nearby, and is listed nationally as a most-endangered waterway.
The Little Plover River often runs dry. Large farms nearby pump groundwater which supplies the river. (River Alliance of Wisconsin photo)
*  Three separate and substantial 2012 fuel spills from pipeline breaks have fouled land and water near Grand Marsh, in Adams County, in and around Jackson and its wildlife marsh in Washington County, and the edge of Mitchell Airport and a creek close to Lake Michigan.

Where in this roiled political and natural environment is the respect for the Public Trust Doctrine, and for the State Supreme Court's water warning nearly a half-century ago:
A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body of water may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage; once gone, they disappear forever.
Here is a link to Part 5 updated from October 18, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 5, wolves, blood & dogs.

This 21-part retrospective series I'd promised will run with daily updates, ending prior to the Nov. 6 election. This is Part 5. There is also a link at the bottom of each installment to the previous day's post.
------------------------------------------------ 
Between 2012-2014, the DNR implemented a wolf hunting season enthusiastically promoted by legislators like Republican State Rep. Joel Kleefisch who are in thrall to various well-heeled and politically-active so-called 'sportsmen' lobbies.

Like the deer herd and other Wisconsin wildlife, these animals belong to no person or group, but are part of the state's trust that the DNR is supposed to approach scientifically as stewards for all the people of the state. 

But Kleefisch and his allies got their way, and the result was a slaughter so ugly - - most wolves were killed with single shots to the head while snared in leg traps - - that a federal judge after the 2014 season re-listed the grey wolf as a protected species' to rein in poorly-'managed' wolf hunts like Wisconsin's.


Perhaps the DNR's allowing the killing to exceed its own so-called 'quotas' played a role in the federal court's finally saying, 'enough.'
Wisconsin is killing its wolves 
There remain lingering, bloody legacies in the form of only-in-Wisconsin $2,500 per-hound payments from the DNR to bear hunters who let their dogs run off-leash into fatal encounters with the larger, very territorial wolves.

Repeat payment collectors can continue to make new claims, as can documented scofflaws.

And there is continuing pressure to reinstate the wolf hunt, even without limits, so boosting the madness into poaching status.

Other cruel 'training' practices remain legal in WI, too.

As to Walker:


He's on the record wanting what he called a successful 'harvest' brought back, hiding the brutal realities of leg traps and head shots behind sanitized language.

But let's also remember that Walker was so eager to please this particular part of the hunting bloc that he suggested lowering the already-meager wolf killing permit from $100 to a mere $50 before the shameful business was again outlawed.
* December 20, 2013:
Wisconsin DNR says 15 of 234 kills were aided by dogs
Those numbers - - 234 total, of which 15 were aided by dogs - - represent wolves registered with the DNR in the current hunting season as of Dec. 19th, the agency said today in response to my email inquiry.
Wisconsin is the only US state to sanction the use of dogs in wolf hunting; a challenge to that part of state law by humane societies is pending in state appellate court.
The current wolf hunting season is ongoing in one NW Wisconsin zone. Dogs were first allowed on Dec. 2.
The allowable kill this season statewide is 251, up from 117 last year. 
This was Part 4, updated on Wednesday, October 18, 2018.



Denied climate science by Walker, WI longs to be progressive N. Carolina

I guess the flooding in Wisconsin these last few months and years

- - a couple of deaths here, a couple of hundred million dollars in wrecked homes and roads there - - hasn't been destructive enough to move climate change-denier Scott Walker to the more progressive North Carolina position.
In North Carolina, hurricanes did what scientists could not: Convince Republicans that climate change is real
Actually, don't worry, Wisconsin. Walker's focused like a laser on what's important.

20 hours agoMoreNice win!  
So, basically, it would be faster and less costly in Wisconsin lives and property to elect a new Governor on November 6th than wait for Walker to get his mind off sports and into the real world. 

Walker pushed dairy growth, now there's too little dairy income

Walker is always ready to Tweet-show you his fondness


for Wisconsin dairy products, but that's about as far as his expertise goes.

While he's been busy funding dairy growth in Wisconsin,

File:Confined-animal-feeding-operation.jpg
you won't find him showcasing or tweeting about that expansion's multiple negative consequencesincluding:

* Small producers being driven out of business.

* Greater insider-control of groundwater and repetitive manure overflows from increasingly-less-regulated Wisconsin operations.


*  Depressed farm income traced to "the overwhelming supply of milk being witnessed across the upper Midwest and outlying areas," 
according to a recent industry report with a Wisconsin focus.

No one is winning here except Big Dairy, a Walker booster.

4th ex-Walker official bolts, highlighting 5 Walker self-inflicted wounds

[Oct. 18 update - - Jadin spills more beans about Walker defaming development. Strong stuff.]

Look who also has Walker fatigue.

Former WEDC CEO Paul Jadin becomes the 4th top Walker official to jump ship.

There of the four signed a join letter released today that is pretty damaging: 

"Governor Walker has consistently eschewed sound management practices in favor of schemes or coverup and has routinely put his future ahead of the state." the letter states. "The result is micromanagement, manipulation and mischief. We have all been witness to more than our share of this."
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, it's fair to say that five of Walker's self-defeating behaviors, statements and tendencies are catching up to him:

* His failed 250,000 jobs promise.


* Which led directly to his unpopular, excrescently-expensive Foxconn Hail Mary.


* His failed, wasteful run for President, highlighting his disinterest in serving the people while underscoring a fundamental absence of preparation that threw into doubt his qualifications to lead any large enterprise.


* And he launched that campaign despite a late 2014 campaign statement about his intending to serve out a second term, thus underscoring established questions about his truthfulness. 


As PolitiFact put it, He stayed, but only after trying to leave.

*  And which served to reinforce or presage his multiple evasions or flat-out lies, ranging from having turned the Milwaukee County Executive's office into an arm of his 2012 campaign to having received secret donations he directed to a group supporting his 2012 recall campaign to finally admitting to having rewriting the Wisconsin Idea in the budget - - despite denials. 


For context and connections, I would cite this February 26, 2011 blog entry:

Among Walker's deficits: Moral Authority
And this October 7th, 2018 blog entry:
Evers offers depth, trust. Walker does not. 
 

Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 4. More wetlands, big business, $.

[Uodated] This 21-part retrospective series I'd promised will run with daily updates, ending prior to the Nov. 6 election. This is Part 4.
a wetland in May
Part 1 dealt with wetlands - - as did Walker for special interests and a campaign donor in his first hours as Governor.

Then came the wider consequences which would include a willingness to clear-cut the Penokee Hills regardless of decades of projected wetlands and other water resource losses there as I documented in Part 3 of this series yesterday, for what would have been one the continent's largest open-pit iron mines.

And as we'll learn throughout this series, Walker and the wetland-fillers weren't done privatizing and manipulating surface and ground water for insiders - - even campaign contributors - - "Walker carves out wetland exemption for donor" - -  and other private interests. More about that in upcoming installments.

* January 9, 2012: 
Builders group crows about insiders' influence
The Wisconsin Builders Association offers itself a pat on the back and a lesson in State Capitol Politics 101 when telling its members how wetlands' deregulation legislation got drafted.
And don't forget that three top [Walker appointed] DNR officials - - Secretary Cathy Stepp, Air and Waste Division director Pat Stevens, and Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney  credited below for his leadership, all worked with or for the Wisconsin Builders Association or an affiliate.
Here's some key language from the WBA newsletter and its six months of behind-the-scenes work to get the bill - - "at long last" - - its leadership wanted...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
After several months of speculation and a lot of effort, a wetlands bill draft was sent out to legislators asking for them to sign on as co-authors. The draft is co-authored by Senator Neil Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) and Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz). 

WBA worked with key members and local staff on the draft to provide input on the finished proposal... 

The key to this bill passing is to get some minor technical changes in committee and make sure the bill is not “watered down” (no pun intended!) during the process.  

WBA staff professionals will continue working with members, local staff members and the legislature to pass a strong wetlands bill before the end of the legislative session.
Walker subsequently signed the bill in front of a cheering audience at a real estate brokers convention.  

Here is Part 3 of this series from Wednesday, October 17. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Streetcar already boosting Milwaukee economy, despite obstructionist hypocrisies

The Milwaukee streetcar project, just weeks from launching regular service, is already spurring business development along its initial corridor.
Downtown Milwaukee office building along streetcar line to be converted to 73 apartments 
And:
Property values increase nearly 28% along the Milwaukee streetcar route, Mayor Barrett says.
That's in spite of right wing schemers who will always prefer a struggling, resource-challenged big city that fits their perverse, inward-looking suburbs'-first narrative even if it contradicts other so-called conservative principles, like local control and economic growth.

More about that, below.


Former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist had hit right a guest blog post he sent me some weeks ago:
Kansas City, a city with less population density than Milwaukee, recently built a streetcar line which has become quite popular and successful. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/04/travel/the-perfect-way-to-explore-modern-kansas-city-a-streetcar-believe-it-or-not.html
I support the Milwaukee Streetcar. It begins the restoration of a system that served Milwaukee’s people and property during the period of the city’s greatest prosperity and growth. 
The HOP MKE Streetcar.jpg
I would also support expansion of passenger train service (the Milwaukee-Mad City High Speed Train was a great idea). I would also support Light Rail (same as streetcar only on its own right of way), electric bus or BRT. They would all add value to Milwaukee unlike the freeways which damaged the city badly and unnecessarily.
And I stand by what I wrote about this in 2014:
Far right's double-standard power play aimed at Milwaukee's streetcar
Before Obamacare, before Amtrak and Benghazi, right-wing radio talkers around here and the elected officials they control had light rail to weaponize - - and now they've got The Streetcar.

Though Milwaukee is continuing to its plan a downtown streetcar and build it with accessible, available local and federal funds, Gov. Walker, out-state legislators and ideological allies linked to the Bradley Foundation are determined to derail it by applying legal, regulatory and financing restrictions not used in other transportation programs statewide.

They want one set of rules covering projects they like, such as highway expansion that keeps road-builder and other lobbies satisfied, but they are manipulating the process to apply more selective rules tag-teamed from the Governor's office to his appointees on the Public Service Commission to define what shall be allowed with their blessing to run on local Milwaukee streets.

The lever they have conjured for this iteration of killing the project and over-turning local control: the cost of moving some utilities' property so trolley tracks and electrical connections can be installed.

The Journal Sentinel puts it this way in a Friday editorial in its support for the streetcar and Mayor Barrett's leadership to build it:
Barrett is right to do what he's doing. Rarely have we seen such a blatant challenge to local control as the Legislature's politically charged bill. Gov. Scott Walker should never have signed it... 
Streetcar opponents in the Legislature passed a measure last year that would bar utility ratepayers from bearing any costs for the streetcar project — even though this is standard procedure for other projects, including many road projects that these same legislators likely would lobby for if the projects were in their own districts. Their bill was all about killing a Milwaukee project.
So why is Team Walker meddling in this one Milwaukee project?

Let's be honest:

The Milwaukee streetcar and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as was former Mayor John Norquist, are being beaten up for political and punitive purposes by conservative, anti-urban interests.

They've been whipped into a perpetual frenzy since the 1990's when right radio fear-mongers discovered that yelling about light rail boosted ratings in the suburbs and drove Republican voters to the polls.

Conservative Republican politicians in Waukesha County and then-Gov. Tommy Thompson continued to block light rail even after Milwaukee officials to whom earmarked federal funds had been assigned agreed that light rail would not touch sovereign Waukesha County soil.

The talkers and their beneficiaries killed Milwaukee light rail - - and are out to do the same for the Milwaukee streetcar even though it would be a boon to the downtown and thus the statewide economy - - as billions of dollars in freeway expansion continue to be spent across the region serving exurban malls and subdivisions with Milwaukee tax and utility ratepayers kicking in mandatory shares.

Here is some 2008 history about how Republicans sand-bagged Milwaukee urban rail a decade earlier, thus part of the reason urban rail for Milwaukee in the form of a streetcar has taken so long to launch.
A starter light rail system was recommended for Milwaukee County in a major state-funded regional transportation study in the 1990s that had considerable public and private sector support. 
But conservative AM talk radio and opposition in Waukesha County blocked further study of light rail for Milwaukee, even though $241 million in federal funds was set aside specifically for transit improvements in Milwaukee County. 
Had plans unfolded on schedule, the starter light rail, with an estimated 21,000 riders on weekdays, would have opened in 2006 and run about 10 miles from the Third Ward to Summerfest, downtown, Miller Park, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the County Grounds.



Walker's 8-year war on Wisconsin's environment: Part 3; mining, big business and $.

This 21-part retrospective series I'd promised will run with daily updates, ending prior to the Nov. 6 election. This is Part 3.

It's important to note the disgraceful process which led to the passage of a sweetheart iron mining bill which Walker pushed

He ignored the damage it would have done to the Bad River watershed, tribal wild ricing estuaries and fresh water supplies in northwest Wisconsin. 

The project's special-interest focus and favors for out-of-state corporations at the expense of local residents and the Wisconsin environment certainly presaged the Foxconn deal.

And while the mine was never built because even the company understood the area was too saturated to excavate - - and the Bad River band's treaty protections were likely insurmountable - - the bill that enabled the project right up to core drilling and nearby forest closings remains on the books.

And speaking of what was presaged - - it was later disclosed that the always well-heeled Walker had quietly helped company interests route more than $700,000 to his recall election campaign.
* December 14, 2011:
Mining hearing a public policy low water mark 
I have attended public meetings for roughly 40 years - - often as a journalist or public official - -  and I have never seen a hearing as flagrantly disrespectful to citizens and policy-making, and to the entire notion of The Wisconsin Idea - - broadly defined as Wisconsin government existing to serve the people  - -  as the State Assembly committee session held at State Fair Park Wednesday on the fast-tracked mining bill. 
This was the series' Part 2, October 16, installment. 
 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Walker tweet papers over his years of environmental damage

[4:35 p.m. update: The well water contaminated cited below is updated at this site.] 

[5:15 p.m. update - - and speaking, below, of Kewaukee County, consider as I wrote last year:

As you read this post about groundwater pollution in Wisconsin's Northeastern Kewaunee County, where there are many large-scale animal feeding operations - - including one with a dairy cow barn the length of six football fields that was the subject of high-profile capacity litigation - - it's important to grasp that:
A recent state audit of the WI DNR shows that it failed to follow its own water pollution inspection and enforcement rules more than 94% of the time.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Walker's again treating the Wisconsin environment as a photo op instead of valuable resources he's failing to protect.

I've already posted the first two installments - - here and here - - of what will be a 21-day series ending just before the Nov. 6th election to explain how and where and why Walker has damaged environmental protections in Wisconsin.

Here is a fresh example, as he's retweeted 
with a nice picture on his official Twitter account an invitation to explore the Driftless Area.
  Retweeted
Verified account 19 hours ago
Take a trip this fall to the gorgeous Driftless area. Explore the winding Kickapoo River by canoe, car, or even bicycle, and enjoy apple orchards, beautiful fall leaves and more along the way! Visit today:
But here's the other side of the story.
Local Governments In The Driftless Region Exploring Ways To Protect Groundwater
Wisconsin counties and municipalities are exploring ways to be proactive in protecting groundwater resources despite state regulations that seem to restrict them from doing so...
With the Driftless Region’s underlying, sensitive karst geology, many feel that the area cannot afford to wait. In this region, because the aquifers are located very deep in the bedrock, correction of contamination might take hundreds of years...
In Kewaunee County, where there is a large concentration of dairy Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), 30 percent of private wells are contaminated with coliform and other toxins. That well water is undrinkable.
Closer to home, residents of Holmen and Onalaska townships have learned about the high levels of nitrates in monitoring wells surrounding Babcock Genetics that have existed for over 10 years.
This information only came out after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intervened in 2016, questioning the State of Wisconsin’s ability to administer provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA)...
And now there is the proposed construction by Premium Iowa Pork (PIP) of a large hog slaughtering facility just north of Viroqua. Its construction is predicted to attract hog CAFOs to the area.