Dairy Farms

Dairy expansion concerns discussed

"Most of our elected officials will tell the voter that they believe in local control but actually vote to eliminate local control," Smith said. "Who knows better about the need for clean air, clean water, and quality of life than those who live next to these enlarging factory farms? It is important that we have representatives in government who represent the people and their needs rather than the good of corporations who are taking over our farming industry."

Jeff Smith, community organizer and former Assemblyman for the 93rd District, gave a presentation entitled “Expansion of Factory Farms” to a Community Conversations gathering at Menomonie Public Library on Saturday.

Jeff Smith, community organizer and former Assemblyman for the 93rd District, gave a presentation entitled “Expansion of Factory Farms” to a Community Conversations gathering at Menomonie Public Library on Saturday.

Tom Quinn, a Dunn County Board supervisor and chair of the Planning, Resources and Development Committee, pointed out that the only control over the permitting process that the counties have is the storage of manure.

Tom Quinn, a Dunn County Board supervisor and chair of the Planning, Resources and Development Committee, pointed out that the only control over the permitting process that the counties have is the storage of manure.


How Scott Walker Dismantled Wisconsin's Environmental Legacy

But since Gov. Walker took office, she says, “We have not been able to settle one permit—we’ve had to litigate every single challenge. We’re often told by [DNR] staff, ‘We know you’re right, but you’re going to have to sue us because the people above me won’t let me issue a technically sufficient permit.’ That’s a really big difference—the interference in science-based decision-making is pretty complete."

But since Gov. Walker took office, she says, “We have not been able to settle one permit—we’ve had to litigate every single challenge. We’re often told by [DNR] staff, ‘We know you’re right, but you’re going to have to sue us because the people above me won’t let me issue a technically sufficient permit.’ That’s a really big difference—the interference in science-based decision-making is pretty complete."

Kimberlee Wright, executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, an environmental law center, works closely with DNR engineers and scientists to review and comment on pollution permits for activities such as wastewater disposal and groundwater pumping under the Clean Water Act. In the past, Wright says, the process was typically straightforward, and she and colleagues were routinely able to hammer out permits that followed the technical requirements of the law.