Water protection needs to be revisited
TO THE EDITOR
There have been excellent articles recently in our local newspapers about industrial dairies and their effect on our rural landscape.
For those who think the DNR is fully capable to protect our clean drinking water, a recent study in Kewaunee County revealed 60 percent of tested wells were contaminated with bovine and human bacteria. La Crosse County recently discovered contamination in private wells near an industrial hog facility. The DNR said they did not notify the residents or the county because they didn't have a policy to do so. An audit report last year found the DNR failed to issue citations for violations by industrial producers 94 percent of the time!
In March, a massive manure spill that had gone unreported by the owners and undetected by authorities for at least three months was discovered at Emerald Sky Dairy in St. Croix County. The DNR is still conducting its investigation nearly five months later. In the meantime, some area residents have discovered ecoli in their well water. Is it related to the spill or its cleanup? We don't know.
And now, the Dairy Business Association has filed a lawsuit against the DNR seeking to remove all State oversight of industrial dairies' handling of manure. Unconscionable!
Enough is enough. Until such time as legislators in Madison get serious about protecting our clean drinking water, we should pause on the rapid-fire approval of industrial dairies. Current protections for groundwater need to be revisited (since they aren't working) and deeper dives into problems need to be done! Citizens have a human right to clean drinking water.
Please do your part to maintain clean drinking water. Visit www.SustainRuralWisconsin.org and sign the petition for a state-wide moratorium on new or expanding industrial dairies until the DNR can get control of the situation. Better yet, take the resolution to your township, city council, or county board and ask for their support.
Industrial dairies are not your family operated farm. Farming has changed of late....but our need for clean drinking water will not ever change!
Foxconn fiscally irresponsible
TO THE EDITOR
Could you give me $519? I've got big, elaborate plans for it.
Assuming everything goes perfectly I'll pay you back in 2043. Without any interest. Maybe later, depending how things work out.
That's the deal Scott Walker signed us all up for. In order to build its factory Foxconn wants $3 billion from the state treasury — $519 for every man, woman and child in Wisconsin. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says if all 13,000 jobs are created as promised, it will be 25 years before taxpayers break even, without accounting for inflation.
We all want to see new factories open up and lots of new jobs get filled, but this project is not even close to being worth $3 billion.
If we go out of our way to factor in the promised "indirect" activity and assume we'll ultimately net 35,000 new jobs, taxpayers are still paying over $85,000 per job. That's almost three times the average award-per-promised-job that other businesses have received from Walker's economic development outfit (WEDC).
Another way to look at it: Since 2011 WEDC has awarded a total of $1.4 billion for projects promising to create 46,372 jobs. If we're going to bet this huge sum all on one company, why on earth would we expect less bang-for-our-buck than our usual job incentives? Shouldn't we get a volume discount?
If we can get the price tag under $1 billion, this project might be worth talking about. As it stands, this is an obscenely over-priced new spending program that will hamper our ability to budget and invest in other priorities for the next quarter century.
Don't let a politician who votes for this deal claim to be "conservative" or "fiscally responsible" ever again.