Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wisconsin AG Schimel chooses Koch $ over safe drinking water

This story should shock and anger me, but it really doesn’t. Not these days in the Banana Republic known as Fitzwalkerstan, where the there is no such thing as a concept of working for the public good, and all duties of Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office are carried out solely for the benefit of the Republican Party and its donors.
A [GOP-headed] Assembly committee said a backlog of permit requests was created by a 2011 state Supreme Court decision. Republicans said the decision gave the DNR [Department of Natural Resources] too much power to consider wells' cumulative impact on state water quality.

The Supreme Court said Act 21 didn't affect its analysis of the Lake Beulah Management District versus DNR case.

The court ruled unanimously that the state constitution gives the DNR "the authority and a general duty ... to consider the impact of a proposed high-capacity well on waters of the state."

In a news release, Schimel highlighted a passage from the opinion:

"I have determined that the Supreme Court did not address the newly passed Act 21 in Lake Beulah Management District v. Department of Natural Resources. Lake Beulah, 335 Wis. 2d 47. I further conclude that neither Wis. Stat. § 281 nor the public trust doctrine give DNR the authority to impose any condition not explicitly allowed in state statute or rule. In addition, no other authority exists which permits DNR to impose the conditions enumerated by the Assembly." And since the State Legislature is run by Republicans beholden to the Koch/ALEC doctrine of “no restrictions on polluters unless restrictions might help our donors,” that means that Schimel’s edict claims that the DNR can do little to restrict any high-capacity wells, no matter how bad the effects are downstream or to an area’s drinking water.

I mean, why would we care about drinking water quality being fouled in Wisconsin? It’s not like any dangers have cropped up in recent weeks. Oh wait…
Eleven private wells in Kewaunee County that were being tested as part of a DNR-funded study showed the presence of salmonella and/or rotavirus, the Department of Natural Resources announced late Monday.

Property owners have been notified of the findings, which are typically associated with fecal contamination, said James Dick, spokesperson for the DNR. In addition, the Kewaunee County Health Department Tuesday was mailing letters to all property owners with private wells within a half-mile of each of the contaminated wells, according to Cynthia Kinnard, Kewaunee County public health nurse.

"The wells are all over the county – all the way from Lincoln to Kewaunee to Carlton," she said.

The samples were taken April 18, according to Mark Borchardt of the USDA Agricultural Service, who is conducting tests as part of a larger DNR study of the county's wells. The 11 wells were among 30 that were randomly selected from 110 wells that were found to be contaminated in samples taken last November, Borchardt said.
Sounds healthy. I’m sure that’ll help property values in the area.

This is where I mention that Kewaunee County voted 59% to elect Brad Schimel Attorney General in 2014, and voted (62%) for Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, who was endorsed by the Dairy Business Association to allow this type of pollution to continue unabated. You see the result. How’s that “voting GOP because of Jesus and rural resentment” working out for ya, Kewaunee.

Also note that Schimel’s “let em do what they want” response goes public less than a week after this article hit the newsstands relating to another pollution incident in Wisconsin.
A large dairy operation that spilled manure into Castle Rock Creek in February has also failed for an undetermined length of time to prevent rainwater and snow melt from carrying potentially harmful pollutants down steep hillsides toward the popular trout stream.

The owner of Misty Morning Dairy near Fennimore in southwestern Wisconsin has told state regulators that he has fixed most of the smaller problems they documented in a March 17 inspection, a Department of Natural Resources spokesman said Friday.

But the owner still has not built long-promised concrete structures to keep nutrient-laden stormwater from leaching out of feed stored on the Wood Road property for the more than 1,700 animals it was estimated to house, DNR wastewater engineer Mark Cain said Friday.

“He has told us he just can can’t afford to do it right now,” he said.
The DNR’s reaction to defying their request? They told him the owner they might need to fine him $10,000 and pay damages related to the hundreds of trout that were killed due to the 2-mile river of manure that came from the Misty Morning farm. MIGHT have to pay, because the “please do the right thing, Mr. Agribusiness” strategy was apparently worth another shot. How are these people not getting the book thrown at them?

As I stated yesterday, it’s amazing how the Fitzwalkerstanis can spend tons of time and energy suing the Feds on any kind of environmental regulation, and can make the poor and unemployed jump through numerous hoops to get benefits that allow them to stay afloat. But when other groups actually break environmental laws, cause real damage, and require large amounts of taxpayer dollars to be thrown away to fix the damage, then the Walker boys shrug and do as little as humanly possible. This is true whether it involves the WEDC slush fund, or in letting businesses like Misty Morning Dairy or Herr Environmental in Oconomowoc off the hook for their negligence.

It literally pays to be on the side of the Koch/ALEC agenda in Wisconsin these days, and it gives you a “get out of jail free” card. That message from WisGOP rings through loud and clear.

1 comment:

  1. “In the age of the DNR/Wisconsin Governor being pro-business, why is the DNR giving Herr 5 citations and why can’t 2 or 3 be taken away as a show of good faith?” Joel Kleefisch asked

    Such a creepy little worm of a human being.