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You can vote YES for clean water in Wisconsin

Apr 04, 2017

Midwest Environmental Advocates is proud to post this guest blog post on the important role that Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress plays in protection of our State’s water resources. Jim Swanson is a tireless water champion who was a Petitioner to the Petition for Corrective Action. He is also a member of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and a leading voice on why clean water matters to hunters and other members of the State’s conservation community. Denise Ciebien is a Bayfield-area resident who is among the leaders of her community’s response to a proposed industrial-scale hog operation that wants to locate near the precious shores of Lake Superior.

MEA urges our members and readers to respond to Jim and Denise’s call to action and to vote ‘yes’ on or before April 10th in support of clean water!


The annual Spring Conservation Congress is at 7:00 p.m., Monday, April 10th. Please attend (preferable) or vote absentee on a variety of important natural resources issues which deserve your attention. Of note, questions #66 & 67 address DNR deficiencies under the Clean Water Act.

Jim Swanson and other citizen promulgators of these questions originally drafted language which added that the DNR “incorporate by reference” the Clean Water Act, but DNR heavily edited their resolution to arrive at the current wording. Despite these “sanitizing” changes, #66 & 67 still warrant a YES vote.

Importantly, please vote YES on #69 which corrects the problem of “authority.” With Iowa’s Dale Reicks proposed 26,000 hog CAFO proposed for the shores of Lake Superior and his 10,000,000 gallons of hog manure (annually), the Mayor of Ashland asked DNR to suspend the application process to study manure threats to drinking water. DNR wrote back, “You must understand that if the owner of the facility meets all statutory and administrative code requirements, the Department cannot deny him a permit.”

Thus, we want to ensure DNR gets that needed authority from the legislature by voting YES on this particular question which reads as follows:

QUESTION 69: DNR authority to suspend application for the study of pollution impacts (040116) (requires legislation) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and other significant development requests may pose risks to the environment, and it takes time to fully research and understand the potential effects of proposed developments. Recently, it’s been requested that permitting be suspended when matters of environmental importance need to be studied. The DNR has stated that they can’t deny them a permit if they meet all statutory and code requirements. 69. Do you support the Legislature giving the DNR authority to suspend any application when pollution matters need to be studied by tribes?

Find out where the meeting in your County will be located and review the ballot questions in advance. Also, on or before April 10th, you can vote absentee by going into a local DNR service station and marking up a copy of the questionnaire to be sent to Scott Loomans; or if they’re not prepared at your local office as we recently discovered, tabulating your vote answers with the corresponding questionnaire numbers & emailing or mailing them to Scott.Loomans@wisconsin.gov Department of Natural Resources Scott Loomans, FH/4 101 South Webster Street Madison, WI 53707-7921

Denise Ciebien, Ashland

Jim Swanson, Menomonie

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/ tagged: drinking water, water