Jul 23, 2014

Central Wisconsin Assembly Dem Primary Race Centers Around CAFOs

Democratic Party primary for District 72 in central Wisconsin.
Primary election is on August 12
Several citizens' groups in central Wisconsin are working to stop a proposed massive concentrated agricultural feeding operation (CAFO) Factory Farm that would border four Wisconsin counties in the Golden Sands region that is a heavy tourism and recreational destination.

Protect Wood County and Its Neighbors: Rome, Grand Rapids, Port Edwards, Nekoosa, Saratoga, Wisconsin Rapids have drafted and received responses to its candidate questionnaire of the two candidates vying for the nomination of the Democratic Party in the 72nd assembly district—Dana Duncan, a seventh-generation Wisconsinite from Port Edwards, and Tom Rayome, a city council member from Wisconsin Rapids.

The winner of the primary will face State Rep Scott Krug (R-Wisconsin Rapids and ALEC), a Scott Walker ally and member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that determines how Krug votes on major bills of interest to ALEC.

Rome and Saratoga-Friendly
Krug has been a cheerleader for the transformation of the Department of Natural Resources in the Scott Walker administration.

"[U]der the direction of Secretary Cathy Stepp, a homebuilder and politician, the DNR’s role in protecting natural resources has been turned inside out ... [into an agency] ... streamlining regulations to make it easier for companies – a.k.a. polluters - to do business." (Kimble, The Progressive)

Both Democratic Party candidates blasted the proposed CAFO, and called for a new DNR that is independent from the Scott Walker administration.

From Protect Wood County and Its Neighbors:

Dear Friends,

As I reported in my last email update the dreaded WI political season is upon us. Round 1 of information gathering focuses directly on our Democratic candidates as they first are facing a primary run-off on Aug 12th.  Once the primary is over the same type of questioning will occur between our Republican and Democratic candidates vying for the 72nd Assembly seat.

Below you will find the questions posed to the candidates with responses copied exactly as written.

Question 1 - What is your stance on the increased number of high capacity wells to the Central Sands area? 

Dana Duncan -  I would oppose any future legislation that will limit, interfere with, or compromise the DNR's authority to regulate high capacity wells and make the best possible decisions on a total environmental impact basis. I would also oppose any law that places time limits on impact studies to be completed by the DNR. Furthermore, I would support the repeal of Motion 375 which prohibits citizens from challenging high capacity well permits based on cumulative impact. Moreover, I would support allowing the DNR to practice adaptive management, increasing stream protections, or expanding Groundwater Management Areas.

Tom Rayome - I am against the increased number of high capacity wells proposed in the Central Sands area.  I am concerned about the affect that will have on surrounding wells, ground, and air pollution from the proposed CAFO.

Question 2 - With tourism being a large part of the Wisconsin economy, how big a factor is it to your campaign?

Dana Duncan - Tourism is the largest industry in Wisconsin and is our potential future. Everything should be done to promote and protect that portion of our economy. A priority should be set that all other businesses should be considered as far as an impact on tourism.

Tom Rayome - It is a very big part of my campaign.  Tourism has already become and is getting bigger in Central Wisconsin.  We have to protect our water and air for this to continue.  Regulations have been relaxed too much for the sake of high water useage businesses while hurting the environment, surrounding properties, and people.  This goes for mining as well.

Question 3 - What are your thoughts regarding the appointed position of the Department of Natural Resources?

Dana Duncan -  I believe the DNR should be a wholly independent agency separated from the partisan politics of the legislature and the Governor's office. I believe we should amend the Wisconsin Constitution and have the DNR commissioner become and elected position like that of the State Superintendent of Schools.

Tom Rayome -  I believe the DNR Secretary should be appointed by the NRB.  They would be less likely to be influenced by politics in the management and protection of the states natural resources.  I also believe a DNR Secretary appointed by the governor would not be held as accountable.  The Secretary of the DNR should not be a cabinet position.  The DNR must be an independent agency.

Question 4 - What is your vision for economic growth of Wisconsin?

Dana Duncan - Wisconsin's economic growth will continue to be based around and involve tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture. However, the key to our future is water. It's the 21st Century's version of oil in that it is our most precious and treasured resource. As California, Arizona, and other such states continue to have trouble meeting their fresh water demands of their citizenry. This holds the key for all three areas of growth. Therefore, water must be actually managed and protected to ensure this future.

Tom Rayome - To bring together people and businesses from all walks to see how we can live in harmony with recreation, industry, etc. without harm to the environment.  This can be accomplished with the right regulations in place.

Question 5 - What environmental bills do you plan to present if elected?

Dana Duncan - I would like to present an adaptation of the Minnesota law which has set a CAFO-specific ambient air quality standard for hydrogen sulfide and establish a program for monitoring compliance. I would also include legislation ending "open-air lagoons", standards for holding facilities, and standards for the treatment of manure. Moreover, as I indicated before, I would present legislation to separate the DNR from the control of the Governor's office.

Tom Rayome -  For sure it is to make sure we have the right regulations in place when environmental issues come up.

If we destroy our land and resources what kind of tourist area will we have?

Question 6 - What are your thoughts regarding the proposed establishment of a CAFO to a highly recreational and residential area in your potential district?

Dana Duncan - It could cause detrimental harm to the area and destroy economic growth. As I stated in my open letter in the Daily Tribune in June. I do not believe CAFOs have any value to our communities or our state as they are the equivalent to agriculture as "sweatshops" and child labor are to manufacturing and have no business being in Wisconsin and I would act to remove them all if possible. I fully support the efforts of Protect Wood County and the Rome and Saratoga Friendly business initiative as well as the Saratoga Town Board in fighting this incoming threat.

Tom Rayome -  A recreational and residential area is much more preferred by me compared to a huge CAFO coming in and buying thousands of acres of land.  It's bad for the environment, the residents don't want it and it would hurt the tourism in the area.

Question 7 - You will most likely be facing a Republican run Senate and Assembly. What current contacts do you have in Madison or within the political environment that will assist you in being a successful representative? 

Dana Duncan -  I expect to receive the endorsement of Clean Wisconsin within the week. I will be using them as a resource for information, legislative language and to join with other endorsed Assemblyman to fight for our environment. Furthermore, I would be a member of the legislature, (even with not being in the majority or possibly having an opposing party Governor) both the rest of the legislature and Governor's office would be areas that I would have access to.

Tom Rayome -  Some of the contacts and people I have worked with over the years include: Sen. Julie Lassa, Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink, Rep. Katrina Shankland, Rep. Peter Barca, Rep. Chris Taylor,
Rep. Evan Goyke, Ed Garvey, Marlin Schneider, Dave Obey and Russ Feingold.
[Note: No endorsements of the candidates by the above people or Protect Wood County have been made.]

Don't forget to vote in the primary August 12th.  Once our Republican and Democratic candidates are determined we will again question each potential representative in a variety of important areas such as the environment, education, and much more.

Stay tuned for Round 2!
Below are two maps; one of the proposed Wysocki CAFO operation abutting four counties (Wood, Portage, Juneau and Adams counties) at left, and the map of the proposed Sand Valley golf resort in northern Adams county, at right. Note the proximity (some three miles) between the two planned developments where they abut on the Wood and Adams county border, a short distance from the Town of Rome (a vacation home region with several small lakes).

Wysocki Proposed CAFO

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