Kewaunee County Petitioners File Appeal of DNR CAFO Decision
Oct 12, 2015
Today, five petitioners continued their effort to challenge the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ approval of a water pollution permit for an expanding livestock facility in Kewaunee County. Petitioners filed an appeal of the agency’s final decision to permit the company to operate without a limit on the number of animals in the facility or a requirement to monitor the conditions of groundwater where the company spreads manure offsite.
“Petitioners had to take this action today in order to save the drinking water in their community,” said Sarah Geers, staff attorney with Midwest Environmental Advocates.
On Friday, September 11, 2015, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a final decision on the challenged water pollution permit, circumventing the October 2014 Administrative Law Judge's decision and doing an about-face on the position the agency argued in the case. In October, the Judge found that the DNR does have the authority under state law to include an animal unit limit and off-site groundwater monitoring requirement in the industrial livestock operation's permit, and called the polluted groundwater in Kewaunee County evidence of a “massive regulatory failure.”
“The DNR’s decision to approve this permit disregards a court decision and dismisses reasonable measures that would help protect Kewaunee County groundwater from more bacteria and nitrate pollution,” said Geers. “It is yet another example of how the leadership of our natural resources protection agency says their hands are tied when it comes to acting on behalf of the public interest, but will act quickly when it is in the interests of industry.”
Midwest Environmental Advocates is working with Kewaunee County petitioners in this appeal by providing the citizens with legal and technical support. In a parallel action, Clean Wisconsin has also filed an appeal of the agency’s decision as it sets a precedent that will negatively impact groundwater protections throughout the state of Wisconsin.
For more about the case, legal documents and other links, visit the Kinnard Farms CAFO expansion water pollution permit challenge page on the Midwest Environmental Advocates website.