Big Farms and Groundwater

Kate Golden, reporting for WisconsinWatch:



Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp on Tuesday declined a large dairy farm’s request that she overturn an administrative law judge’s ruling on its water discharge permit.

Among those watching the case for potential statewide impact are rural residents, groundwater advocates and farmers — including Kinnard Farms co-owner Lee Kinnard, whose permit is at issue. “It doesn’t affect Kinnard Farms. This affects the dairy industry,” Kinnard said. “This is much bigger.” The Kewaunee County farm plans to expand by 55 percent to about 6,200 cattle. But neighbors challenged its permit. They wanted the DNR to impose groundwater monitoring and a cap on the number of cattle.

After a four-day hearing including testimony from both sides, Judge Jeffrey Boldt ordered those conditions. In his Oct. 29 ruling, Boldt blamed widespread well pollution in the area on what he called a “massive regulatory failure.”

When you fail to consider groundwater, careful you must be. For the loss of groundwater bites back.