Disputed Expansion of Dairy Watched for Statewide Impact

Disputed Expansion of Dairy Watched for Statewide Impact

“In a Green Bay hearing beginning Tuesday, a controversial attempt to expand a dairy farm set to become the fifth largest in Wisconsin will be challenged in a case that could have a far-reaching impact on how Wisconsin regulates industrial-size livestock farms.”

An Open Letter to DATCP and the Wisconsin DNR

On (5/25/2012), the Larson Acre’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation of Magnolia Township spread hundreds of thousands of gallons of liquid manure tainted with harmful chemicals and hormones on to fields 1 mile from our family and our home.  The liquid manure was leaking and pooling around their hoses in various places.  The spraying was taking place near a small subdivision where children live.

We are concerned that the well and ground water in our community and on the nearby farms where many of us buy our organically raised food, could become seriously contaminated.

Not 2 hours after Larson Acres CAFO finished, it began to rain and continued to rain or 12 hours straight.  Below that depleted soil is sand.   There is nothing to keep the nitrate, manure and harmful chemicals from seeping directing into our ground water and wells.  This sort of excess nitrate and raw sewage in our water can easily cause miscarriage, illness among children and even kill people.

During the spraying, the air was making our eyes and lungs burn in our own back yard.  This begs the question, what is happening to the water?   Please test the well water and ground water at our home, at Larson Acres CAFO, at the farms and homes around them and at the nearby development which has many children playing not yards from the leaky sewage hoses.   I am very concerned for my family and other families’ and farmers’ safety and we don’t have the resources to determine whether or not we are safe.  This should be your top priority.  You cannot say trade, ag, or consumers are safe unless you test the water and air yourself.

Above all else, we and the caring, sustainable farmers from whom we buy our food need clean air and water.  Do not leave it up to the Larson Acres CAFO, please.  They are not in business to keep other agriculture, trade and consumers protected.  That is not what CAFO stands for.

Sincerely,

Amelia and Nathan Royko Maurer

608-332-5042

WI Supreme Court, here we come!

Two days ago, The Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water in Wisconsin urged State Senator Jon Erpenbach to demand the Governor declare a State of Emergency over Wisconsin’s water contamination issue.  1 in 4 wells in America’s Dairyland is contaminated with nitrate from agricultural runoff.  The people in my community who have had their wells tested are unable to drink their own water due to neighboring CAFOs and Conventional Farms.  Those of us east of the Mississippi live on a layer of fractured carbonate bedrock as part of a Karst landscape system, in other words, we live on a layer of rock that dissolves easily and allows water to percolate to the aquifer very quickly and very easily.

When CAFOs, mega-dairies, conventional and factory farm operators spread large quantities of liquid manure, chemicals or composted human manure – especially when they spread it on corn fields – nitrates and other contaminants can easily seep directly into the aquifers.  Nitrate is linked to several types of cancer, fetal death, blue-baby syndrome, reproductive dysfunction and stillbirth.    Nitrate is but one carcinogen in agricultural runoff that can be lethal and is costly to test for.  Ag runoff not only ruins local ecosystems, families and communities, it is also contributing to the destruction the Mississippi Delta and the creation of a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.   Since 2004, the rights of townships and counties to place conditions on the permits of large scale agricultural operations have diminished, starting with the Livestock Facility Citing Law that was authored by megadairy owners and wannabes, and passed by a Democratic majority and Governor Jim Doyle.  Since then, the water in a township near my home as well as others across Wisconsin, has been declared unsafe.  The Department of Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is doing nothing but handing out more permits and refusing to even research the problem.  Don’t we fight other countries for abusing their people in such a tyrannical manner?  This is bioterrorism.  It’s conscious polluting.

People of Magnolia Township, WI, USA cannot drink their own water and have been fighting for clean water for 10 years.  They paid thousands of dollars for water testing.

The Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water are fighting in the WI Supreme Court Wednesday Sept. 7th, 2011 to reverse the 2004 Livestock Facility Citing Law that allows farms to operate and expand without any say from the surrounding communities at greatest risk for suffering the consequences posed by their agricultural runoff.  The purpose of this hearing is to challenge the constitutionality of the 2004 law and to win back the rights of Wisconsin’s townships and counties to place conditions on permits given to farms, factory farms and Confined Animal Feed Operations.

The hearing will be at the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, Capitol Building, 2nd Floor, East Wing at 1:15pm on Wednesday Sept 7th.

This hearing is not just for the concerned members of the Green Rock Citizen for Clean Water, but for all citizens.  Everyone eats and drinks food grown in the Heartland and Dairyland, and cows raised in and around CAFOs, megadairies and factory farms are drinking contaminated water.  We need you to be there!

The hearing # and name is 09AP608, John Adams VS Wisconsin.

See you there!

Wisco Water Bowl-a-Rama Success!

Dear  Friends, Family, and Supporters,

The Green Rock Audubon Society and the Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water wish to thank each and every one of you for your generous support of our Wisco Water Bowl-a-Rama.

To the bowlers, individual donors and fundraisers, we couldn’t have had a Bowl-a-Rama without your enthusiastic turnout.  It was so much fun!   You came through and we love you for it. The dollars you raised will help the Green Rock Audubon Society continue its mission to buy and preserve land for conservation and sustainable farming practices.  It will assist the Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water in challenging laws that currently prevent counties and townships from having a say in the placement of factory farms in their midst.  Every penny in this fight is precious.

To the many restaurants, farmers, and other small businesses that donated money, gift certificates, craft spirits, organic meats, massages, sailing trips, getaway packages and more; you guys really helped get the donations flowing.  The Wisco Water Prize Drawing was a huge hit and so many went away flush with their awesome winnings.  Having so much local support really highlights the power of community when you’re fighting the good fight.  We want to give a big shout out to you all:

Thank You Farms!

Scotch Hill Farm (Brodhead)

Kinoona Farm and the Baa Baa Shop (Brodhead)

Chickabee Farm (Evansville)

Garden to Be (Mt. Horeb)

 

Thank You Businesses!

Capital Endodontics (Madison)

Dream Catcher Sailing (Bayfield)

Bellisle Inn (Algoma)

Alicia Wright and Mound Street Yoga (Madison)

Lisa Hajek and Yoga Coop (Madison)

I’m Organic (Evansville/Madison)

Linda Alanen, Handeled With Care (Madison)

True Endeavors (Madison)

Shitty Barn Sessions (Spring Green)

Strictly Discs (Madison)

Josh Harty Band (Madison)

Free Market Organics (Evansville)

 

Thank You Restaurants, Food and Spirits Producers!

The Village Lanes (Monona)

Nessalla Kombucha (Madison)

Nattspil (Madison)

The Weary Traveler and Joey Dunscomb (Madison)

The Carver’s Shop (soon to be, Madison)

Furthermore Brewing Company (Spring Green)

Motherfools Coffeehouse (Madison)

The Harmony Bar (Madison)

Death’s Door Spirits (Madison)

Roman Candle Pizzeria (Madison)

Albericis Delicatezza (Evansville)

The Green Owl (Madison)

The Willy Street Co-op  (Madison, Middleton)

Real Coffee (Evansville)

Merchant (Madison)

Crema (Madison)

The Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery (Madison)

Brasserie 5 (Madison)

43 North (Madison)

The Great Dane (Madison)

Food Fight (Madison, Middleton)

 

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to everyone who showed up, knocked down some pins, drank some brew, had a good time, and supported a good cause.  You will continue to be an inspiration to us all!

 

Sincerely;

The Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water and The Green Rock Audubon Society.

Water needs our help. Pure, clean, safe water needs our protection.

CAFOs are coming into Wisconsin.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are threatening our water.

We need your help. We need you to come together for a protest against CAFOs
early Monday evening, May 9, at the Craig Center of the Rock County
Fairgrounds in Janesville.

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources is holding a hearing, starting
at 4 p.m., on a waste pollution elimination discharge permit to a CAFO owner
from Nebraska. The Tuls dairy with more than 5,000 cows will be its third.

The public hearing on the permit is a cruel hoax. The industrial dairy is so
assured of getting its permit from the state that it is already beginning to
build this massive industrial operation.

State agencies aren’t listening to us. Politicians aren’t listening to us.
Lawmakers and governors aren’t listening to us. Trade groups and lobbies
have their ear. Only money talks in ways that make them listen.

Power is in the pocketbook. Power is in protest. We’re calling for a boycott
against CAFO milk and CAFO milk products.

Help us draw a line in the fertile Rock Prairie soil at the state line. Help
us take the message for water protections to the people, to consumers, to
the streets. We need our cities to help save our countryside.

If CAFOs begin to proliferate in Wisconsin, we won’t be the dairy state.
We’ll be the manure state. We won’t be the pristine, scenic playground of
water parks and lakes. We’ll be the land of 10,000 manure lagoons.

Wisconsin’s highest nitrate pollution ever recorded – more than 20 times a
level EPA calls dangerous and unfit to drink – was tested at Norwegian Creek
in Rock County.

Scientists took these tests from the water just after the creek crossed
farmland where a CAFO was spreading millions of gallons of liquid manure.
The field tiles were polluted. Area wells were polluted.

Don’t let this happen again. Help us send a message to the people, a message
to consumers. Help us boycott CAFO milk. Help us keep CAFOs out of
Wisconsin.

— Nitrate pollution for Nebraska! Water protections for Wisconsin!

— Tell Tuls’ CAFO no!

Support the more than 12,000 Wisconsin dairy farms whose average herd size
is still about 100 cows. Stop the CAFOs with thousands of cows from flooding
markets with milk and depressing prices.

In the human bloodstream, nitrate can do to our brains and vital organs what
it does to aquatic and marine life in water. It starves the body of oxygen
and damages or impairs health. It can kill.

High nitrate levels in water and feed lead to reduced vitality and increased
stillbirth, low birth weight, and slow weight gain in livestock. Nitrate
water pollution has been linked to types of cancer. Nitrate concentration is
monitored in municipal water supplies worldwide, and in foodstuffs, to
prevent exposure of populations to harmful or toxic levels.

Yet in our countryside, in our well waters, in our creeks, streams and
rivers, nitrate levels are rising. For children, for health and safety, we
must protect our water. No substance is as vitally important as clean water.

On the evening of Monday, May, 9, come stand with us at the old fairgrounds
near Janesville’s downtown. Stand with us to protect Wisconsin’s water.

Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water and Green Rock Audubon Society

Wisco Water Bowl-A-Rama!

Wisco Water Bowl-A-Rama!

If you like your water and air clean and your local, healthy food to be just that, local and healthy, then this fundraiser is for YOU!

By taking part in this event, you raise money to help Green Rock Audubon Society and Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water promote citizen water monitoring, nitrate contamination testing and protections for wells and waterways from pollution. Our ultimate goal is to legally protect the clean water rights of more than 1200 rural townships in Wisconsin.

Clean water means clean air, clean soil and clean food. By raising money for this cause and bowling your best, you help rural families, small farms and conservationists protect what’s vital to all of us. You contribute to safe, local food production and sustainability, too.

Help make clean water as important as milk to the dairy state! Help secure the watersheds, pristine lakes and drinking water supplies on which all Wisconsin cities depend! Help strengthen the rights of local communities to protect what’s vital to all of us – clean water!

WHEN:
Monday, June 27th
Starts @ 6pm

WHERE:
VIllage Lanes in Monona

THE PLAN:
Raise $25,000
24 Lanes
48 teams – 5 players each
Players are encouraged to raise $100 minimum
8 pin tap game (8 pins is a strike)

CASH AND OTHER PRIZES:
1) team highest score and most $ raised
2) team most $ raised
3) team most $ raised

If you are unable to bowl, please consider donating to the prizes and raffles.

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING
Every penny is needed to do more water and soil testing, and for legal fees. You can give via the Cause page here: http://www.causes.com/causes/598337-help-wisconsin-farmers-win-the-clean-water-protection-suit , via the blog associated with the cause at http://grccw.wordpress.com/, or by check.

If you write a check, please make it out to the ‘Green Rock Audubon Society’ and in the memo field, please note that the donation is for the ‘Magnolia Clean Water Landmark Case’.

Mail checks to:
Magnolia Clean Water Landmark Case
C/O A. Royko Maurer
342 S. Madison St.
Evansville, WI
53536

To participate, RSVP and we will contact you with the details!

TO FORM A TEAM PLEASE CONTACT US DIRECTLY: Amelia 608-332-5042

Green Rock Citizens for Clean Water Thank You!

Broad support needed to defend clean water ruling

Our wells were polluted. Our creek – a state designated Exceptional Water Resource. – was polluted. Local ordinances that protected us were stripped away by a measure rushed into state law. At one point, everyone else had given up and gone home to a very unhealthy future.

We held our little group of neighbors together for 7 years. We held chili suppers, bake sales, raffles and passed the hat over and over. Elected and appointed town officials stood by us. A great law firm fought long and hard for our rights to protect the most valuable, most vital resource on Earth – clean water.

Finally, in December 2008, justice prevailed. A Rock County Circuit Court judge affirmed a rural township’s rights in Wisconsin to:

  • Condition a permit for a huge confined animal feeding operation,
  • Require farming practices, such as rotations of hay, that curtail pollution,
  • Protect well and surface water from nitrate damage,
  • Protect vital soils and farmland from phosphorus loading,
  • Enforce provisions grounded in scientific evidence and state and federal protections.

Our ruling is the first court challenge of Wisconsin’s infamous Livestock Facility Siting Law passed in just 6 weeks with only one public hearing in 2004. Our ruling establishes a tremendously important precedent for every town, city and county in the state, forbidden by that law from imposing conditions on permits for huge confined animal feeding operations. Our ruling provides local jurisdictions with a tool they can use to protect a natural resource without which no one in this state can live – clean water.

We are appealing now for public help to defend this ruling against appeal. Among our handful of rural citizens are elderly and retired farmers on fixed incomes, small-scale farmers, working families impacted by local factory closings in Wisconsin’s highest unemployment area. Our attorneys, Peter McKeever and Christa Westerberg of Garvey McNeil & McGillivray of Madison, have expended every effort in defense of our health and safety, fought tirelessly in behalf of our rural community and sacrificed much in the finest tradition of public service – for years.

What the Town of Magnolia and our Green-Rock Citizens for Clean Water have done will help everyone in this state protect their water from harmful industrial-scale livestock practices. This case serves notice that contaminating creeks, rivers and streams with nitrate; polluting drinking water in wells; saturating vital soils with phosphorus from year-round spreading of millions of gallons of liquid waste – none of this will be tolerated – unless we let it. This decision affirms rights of communities to condition permits for livestock facilities to help stop them from degrading our fragile natural resources.

Please help us mount a strong legal defense of this court ruling. We’ve been facing one of the largest law firms in the state and lobbyists for big-scale, industrial agricultural practices. We need financial support and help to defend this ruling against legal challenges.

Send donations to Green-Rock Audubon Society, c/o Nancy Bennett, President, 915 N. Garfield, Janesville, WI, 53545. Note on the check that it is for Green-Rock Citizens for Clean Water’s legal defense, or simply for Garvey McNeil & McGillivray.

  • More than 30 ppm nitrate in a well on the industrial-scale livestock property in question.
  • Only 4 ppm nitrate upstream, but 250 ppm nitrate in Norwegian Creek – a state designated Exceptional Water Resource – as it crosses the industrial scale livestock property in question.
  • Field samples showing phosphorus levels 5 times what they should be – levels that could easily take 15 to 20 years without any fertilizer application to return to normal – in thousands of acres receiving millions of gallons of liquid manure, year-round.
  • More than 2,500 pages of scientific findings, testimony and analysis; field reports, soil and water samples; all completely ignored by the state panel appointed to review the town’s permit, conditions and industrial operation’s appeal.
  • The rights of a rural neighborhood and their appointed and elected town officials to protect the health and safety of people, livestock, aquatic life from excessive nitrate in water and phosphorus loading in soil from millions of gallons of liquid manure.

This is what we are living with. Yet this could all very well be what your families, your rural communities, your water, your soil, your health find jeopardized without the protections of this court ruling. This case sets a precedent for interpreting state law and administrative rules.

It will be there for you when you have to defend your own health and safety in court against the large-scale livestock operations that are moving into our state with the help of this livestock facilities siting law. It will be there for you when high-paid attorneys and officials try to intimidate you, threaten you and tell you otherwise.

Please stand with us. We need your help to defend this ruling. For more information, contact Tony Ends, 910 Scotch Hill Road, Brodhead, WI 53520 tony@scotchhillfarm.com 608 897-4288.

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