Letters to the Editor
Rural drinking water
TO THE EDITOR
Do rural families have a right to clean drinking water from their wells?
What we are learning across rural America is that many rural families cannot drink their well water due to contamination from e-coli, salmonella, nitrates, etc.
Rural St. Croix County also has a history of contaminated wells and manure spills. One example, according to DNR records, occurred in June 2017. A cluster of homes in Emerald Township found e-coli in their well waters. When visiting family members had a sudden unexplained illness, the homeowner tested their well water to rule out that cause. However, tests revealed e-coli contamination when previous regular testing over 20 years never revealed contaminated results. There had been no change in the water's color or odor. Fortunately they alerted neighbors, who also tested their water, most also finding e-coli contamination.
The DNR instructed families to bleach their wells, retest and call again if there's more problems.
These families then learned about the massive manure spill at Emerald Sky Dairy, unreported by the owners for several months, only discovered by anonymous tip. These families were downstream from that spill, but DNR refused to conduct advanced testing to pinpoint the cause because "it didn't fit their protocol." Thus, these families won't ever know for sure the reason for contamination.
The State's lack of oversight of industrial dairies and limited response to polluted groundwater is unacceptable. New State laws constrain local governments' response to such events.
With these new laws, unfortunately, clean drinking water has now become a political issue. Lack of public health protections due to insufficient funding or scientific staff, local democracy restraints, etc. is unacceptable.
Please vote in November for candidates who respect citizens' right to clean drinking water and respect our local official's duty to take action as deemed appropriate by their constituents.
Formerly of Emerald
Marine on St. Croix, Minn.
Mother Nature and the election
TO THE EDITOR
A second 500-year rain event within three years in Ashland and Bayfield counties; record rainfalls and flooding in southern Wisconsin; unprecedented wildfires in California and British
Columbia; extreme drought and wildfires in northern Europe; record temperatures in many parts
of the world; unprecedented rainfall and flooding in the Carolinas; and all of this within the past
six months. Hmmm ... is Mother Nature trying to tell us something?
According to recent polling by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications, a substantial majority of Americans think so. Over 60 percent of U.S. adults have concluded that climate change is affecting our weather, are worried about it, and want Congress to take effective action to address it. So why isn't Congress doing so?
Certainly, part of the problem is that addressing climate change has become a victim of political
tribalism, but recent polling also indicates that substantial majorities of Republicans, Democrats
and independents all favor congressional action. Perhaps a better explanation is that all of us have not given high enough priority to the issue to insist that our congressional representatives
address it without further delay. Climate change has routinely ranked well down the list of issues of importance to voters.
But now Mother Nature has slapped us in the face. In light of the suffering that has resulted, "Thanks, we needed that," is probably not an appropriate response, but we do need to urgently
wake up and demand that those seeking to represent us in Congress commit to addressing this
increasingly severe threat before it's too late. Business as usual is no longer an option.
Climate change has no business being a partisan issue. It impacts all of us regardless of party affiliation. And there are bipartisan proposals for effectively addressing it. At this critical time, we need political leaders with the courage to rise above tribal politics and embrace such bipartisan solutions.
Fortunately, this election season provides us with a timely opportunity to impress upon our prospective representatives the critical importance of addressing climate change in the next
Congress. We need to raise the issue whenever possible, ask candidates what actions they're
prepared to take, and let them know that in this election, Mother Nature's warnings will not be
ignored. Then, for the sake of the one big tribe that we all belong to, we need to vote accordingly.