"With a plan to expand a concentrated animal feeding operation in the town of Rock Creek, a Dunn County committee believes it is time for it to determine what impacts such operations could have on the county. The Planning Resources and Development Committee on Tuesday decided to ask county staff to look into the issue of concentrated animal feeding operations and report back on their findings. Committee Chairman Tom Quinn said he has had numerous calls from citizens and other county supervisors about what the county’s role is — if it has one — in such operations....."
"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."
The Emerald Town Board denied a citizen-led resolution asking them to support a one-year moratorium and Environmental Impact Study prior to expanding Emerald Sky Dairy to over 6,000 cows. There are 90 families within a 2 mile radius of Emerald Sky Dairy concerned about this expansion because of the proposed 80 million gallons of sewage stored on-site, equal to a city of 1.4 million people according to EPA estimates.
Recent history in other parts of Wisconsin (Kewaunee County) reveal our State Government's inability to protect water quality when 1/3 of the tested private wells in the vicinity of these industrial dairies were contaminated with bacteria and nitrates. Our State Government gave itself an “F” for protecting our water quality in their Legislative Audit Bureau report last month. The DNR's Secretary agreed with the findings of the report.
These are significant facts – not to be ignored.
When some say, “I don't care what happened in Kewaunee County,” they miss the point how our State government failed to protect our water quality. When no one is “watching the store” businesses have opportunity and incentive to “cut corners” and others (we) pay the price. The cost of drilling a new well can exceed $20,000 for a homeowner, and is not covered by insurance.
This affects you because a compromised lagoon or over application of manure in fields can spread this contamination throughout the County quickly. Dry Run Creek runs behind Emerald Sky Dairy, into the Willow River through New Richmond, Willow River State Park, Lake Mallalieu, and into the St. Croix River.
Mike Koles, executive director of the Wisconsin Towns Association, said he wasn’t familiar with the case, but if Knutson’s tax assessment was indeed lowered because of the proximity to the hog facility, “it has the potential to open up a can of worms. “We’ve got to look into it a little more, but it has the potential to have broad implications across the state,” Koles said. “I’d be really concerned that we have all these people around farms who are going to make challenges to their assessments.”