Kewaunee County Residents’ Concerns about Water Pollution Linked to Industrial Dairy Operations Will Get a Hearing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2013
CONTACT: Sarah Williams, Staff Attorney, (608) 251-5047 x 5
Stacy Harbaugh, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
MADISON, WI – On Thursday, April 18, concerns of Kewaunee County residents over a proposed expansion of a concentrated animal feeding operation will take another step toward being heard. At issue is the expansion of a large dairy operation and the ability of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ensure adequate protections for surface and ground water. Area residents contacted Midwest Environmental Advocates last year when they needed help to challenge the approval of the Kinnard Farms water pollution permit.
Thursday, an administrative law judge will work with Kinnard Farms, represented by the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, and Midwest Environmental Advocates, representing the group of Kewaunee County petitioners, to schedule a contested case hearing. The hearing will give concerned citizens an opportunity to have a judge review how the farm’s rushed water pollution permit approval didn’t provide for an adequate DNR review to ensure compliance with state and federal water pollution regulations.
“Local citizens are rightfully concerned,” said Midwest Environmental Advocates staff attorney Sarah Williams. “The DNR’s permit does not require Kinnard Farms to conduct any surface water or groundwater monitoring to evaluate the impact of 76 million gallons of liquid manure – which contains bacteria, hormones, antibiotics and other pollutants. It also fails to require that all discharges of contaminated water comply with surface water and groundwater quality standards, and lacks a limit on the number of cows that Kinnard Farms can have.”
A contested case hearing allows those who stand to be impacted by the expansion of one of the largest dairy operations in the state to challenge whether the DNR’s water pollution permit adequately protects surface water and groundwater. Without requiring dairy farms of the size and scale of Kinnard Farms to monitor its impact on area water quality, residents’ drinking water becomes the “canary in the coal mine” in the form of people becoming ill or tap water turning brown.
“In the Town of Lincoln, a lot of families who have had their wells tested have found coliform bacteria and nitrates above the safe drinking water standard,” said Williams. “Our clients aren’t asking the DNR to shut down Kinnard Farms. They just need the dairy operation to be a good neighbor and ensure that drinking water is safe and the manure runoff from area fields won’t harm their environment or their health.”
Midwest Environmental Advocates is a public interest organization that uses the power of the law to support communities fighting for environmental accountability. Learn more about the Midwest Environmental Advocates on the web at midwestadvocates.org, like MEA on Facebook or follow @MidwestAdvocate on Twitter.