Saturday, February 20, 2016

WisGOP reps show incompetence on CAFO, high-cap well bill

Among many other absurdities and bad bills passed in Thursday night's bum rush to adjourn the WisGOP-run State Assembly involved a bill that would loosen regulations for high-capacity wells that are often associated with large-scale animal farms. Bad enough on its face, but the actions of a rep whose district is set to be the home of one of the state’s largest CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) made it much worse with his foolish actions last night.

Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) was the author of an amendment that made it into the final high-capacity well legislation, then took the ridiculous step of voting against his own bill. I’ll let explain it from there.
Rep. Scott Krug, after being called out by Dems after the 57-35 vote in favor of the bill, said he wanted to add more to the sub to Rep. Lee Nerison's legislation. Krug, R-Nekoosa, said he spent three years working on a high-capacity well bill. His more sweeping legislation recently died, so he tried to boost Nerison's narrower bill.

AB 874 deals with permitting for the wells, which can pump 100,000 gallons of water per day. Under the bill, for instance, no new permit would be required for well maintenance or when ownership is transferred. The Westby Republican’s legislation also would allow for the drilling of a new well using the same specs as the old as long as the new one is within 75 feet.

In response to Dems on the floor, Krug said he thought the bill "fell a little short." Later, he was more specific, saying his primary problem with the bill was the ownership transfer provision.

"That's just too big of a hurdle to jump for my constituents," Krug said.
Yes, that’s it. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Krug won his 2012 election by a total of 109 votes in a time when Wisconsinites didn’t hate the GOP Legislature as much they do today. Riiight.

In fact, Krug was the ONLY Republican to vote against this high-capacity well bill Thursday night, making his decision seem all the more absurd and cynical.

The top two Democrats in the Assembly quickly pounced, asking “How Low Will Scott Krug Go?”, and asked if he thought the people of Rapids and Adams County were so stupid that they couldn’t see through this.
“In all my years, I have never, ever, seen someone write their own amendment, vote for it in committee, and then vote against it on the Assembly floor. These are the kinds of twisted, political games that people are just fed up with,” commented Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). “Does he really think he can have a vote in both pockets, mislead his constituents, and get away with it?”

When asked on the Assembly floor why he voted against his own proposal, which he claimed to have worked on for three and a half years and previously voted for, Rep. Krug said the proposal “fell a little bit short.”

“The only person that can be blamed for this proposal falling short is Scott Krug. He wrote the proposal that he voted against. Is this really the best he could do for his constituents?” said Assistant Democratic Leader Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point). “In a desperate attempt to protect himself and save face in an election year, he is willing to intentionally mislead our Central Sands community.”
For more on this, read MAL Contends’ excellent history of Krug's work with the CAFO industry.

Another GOP representative who might need to answer some questions on his vote on the high-capacity well bill is State Rep. Travis Tranel, who “represents” Grant County in the Legislature. I note where Tranel is from become there is a bit of a mess going on back in his district right now.
State and local authorities were overseeing cleanup of manure that spilled from a dairy farm near Fennimore in Grant County and flowed 2 miles to a trout stream on Thursday.

It wasn’t clear how much manure was released or if there was serious damage to wildlife, but neighbors said they were advised to drink bottled water and test their wells.

The farm, Misty Morning Dairy, 3679 Wood Road, obtained a state permit to expand as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation with more than 1,700 animals in 2014, just a year after the state was forced to hire a hauler to empty the farm’s 1-million-gallon manure pit to avoid a spill.

Around 7 a.m. Thursday, the owner notified the state Department of Natural Resources that a hose coupling had failed sometime during the night, agency spokesman George Althoff said.
This information was likely available to Travis Tranel when he was faced with the CAFO high-capacity well bill late Thursday night, but he still went ahead like a good little GOP sheep and voted for the bill. Wonder how the people in Grant County that are now drinking bottled water and dealing with a 2-mile long river of crap might think about that. You know, if someone would let them know about it.

These are the consequences of voting Republican, and it’s sad that it has to take politicians voting against their own bill and miles of manure being spilled to happen for some of these people to catch on to that fact…if they ever will.


  1. Don't forget to mention Rep Joel Kitchens 1st District with 4000 citizens of Kewaunee County having no well water coming from their taps fit for anything other than flushing their toilets. He or Krug could have left AB874 in committee on Wednesday's 7-6 Environment and Forestry Committee decision to forward the bill.

    1. Good catch, NQ. Kitchens should indeed be added to that list ò people who dêserve to ănswer why they don't seem to cảe about the drinking water disasters in their districts

  2. Update- 50 trout are now dead in that creek as a result of the manure spill.

    Proving yet again that a "Sportsman for Walker" is no sportsman at all- just a gun nut.