Opinions

Bravo | Dr. Norman Jensen

Leader letters to the editor
Bravo to the Burnett County CAFO committee for due diligence to protect the public health and property interests of county residents! The recent Leader report leaves me with appreciation for the committee’s work and major concerns from the DNR’s Jackson report.
First is the fact that there is one, only one DNR supervisor for eight counties and 25 CAFOs showing how the DNR’s budget has been cut in the last eight years. And then, I read the CAFO operators are largely responsible for “self-enforcement” of safety regulations and “self-reporting” of inspection results and violations to the DNR. How do you think that that’s going to go with the Iowa billion-dollar corporate CEO demanding cost constraints from the salaried CAFO managers?
Then I read the DNR must refer all violations not properly remedied to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for enforcement. The DOJ has to enforce the Wisconsin Right to Farm Legislation, Wis. Stat. § 823.08: Actions against agricultural uses, a law that, as I read it, is heavily biased in favor of farm operations. This likely makes it difficult or impossible to prosecute public safety violations especially with multiple “big pork” lawyers gumming up the legal processes. I encourage the committee to read Wis. Stat. § 823.08, have the district attorney interpret it and have Jackson testify on the history of self-reporting and enforcement in Wisconsin and Iowa. Wonder why the water in northeastern and southwestern Wisconsin and much of Iowa is undrinkable?
I wonder how much manure a 26,000-hog farm produces, how much leakage can be expected from the holding facility, how much overflow will result from the flooding rains we’ve had and will have, where that overflow will go, how much land will be needed to dispose of that manure, how much control land owners will have over manure distribution and how long that land can tolerate that much manure before crop production diminishes from hog manure toxicity and groundwater is polluted for generations. FYO, Google “hog CAFO manure management.”
The more I read about public safety and hog CAFOs the more I believe Burnett County should do literally everything it legally can to keep hog CAFOs from becoming established, because one is bad enough, but once you have one, you’ll have more since concentrations are much more profitable.
Dr. Norman Jensen
Siren and Madison


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