Nov 20, 2016

Wisconsin Towns Fight Big Ag, Republicans and a Few Dems

Town of Saratoga, Wisconsin fights proposed massive
factory farm or CAFO, (Saratoga, Wisconsin, established 1857)
Saratoga, Wisconsin — In decades past, tourism and recreational enterprise in partnership with multi-generational Wisconsin families and communities working for economic prosperity would draw many Republicans to the project team.

Restaurants, parks, hotels, inns, boutiques, vineyards, the limits are the imagination.

No more.

Wisconsin Republicans are now an anti-social racket, cultivating a parasitic relationship with the very communities whose interests the people pay them to represent in the capitol.

Republicans protect corporate Bi Ag polluters destroying rustic Wisconsin communities and regional economies.

Corporate officers and members live 10s of miles away from the damage they inflict by the 'modern' model of agriculture: The CAFO, or Confined Agricultural (Animal) Feeding Operation, (Yelle).

Corporate polluters pay Republicans to stave off anti-pollution laws and local-control ordinances, funding the Republican Party's work against public-interest electoral candidates campaigning on clean water policy.

School privatization and rightwing dark-money groups funded by billionaires pump in $100,000s in each campaign cycle for Republicans, helped by rural state legislative districts heavily gerrymandered and drawn by Republicans to fend off electoral threats.

Dim Dems

A few Democrats feed at the corporate polluters' trough such as Wisconsin State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee), (Dairy Business Association, (DBA)), though Zamarripa lives in one of the safest blue districts in the state, frequently running unopposed and winning the 2016 cycle with 98 percent of the vote in the near-south side of Milwaukee, (Milwaukee County 2016 Unofficial Results).

Consider as well former Wisconsin Gov. James Doyle, (2003-2011). As noted in these pages, Doyle carried out Big Ag's poisoned-water agenda leading to his seven-point reelection in 2006.

Doyle took in a hefty sum from Big Ag, even a contribution from the infamous polluter James Wysocki now wreaking havoc in central Wisconsin. Wysocki, also a financier of the National Potato Council has been upping his contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee the last few years as the GOP may attempt to legislatively kill the federal EPA under president-elect Donald Trump, as Scott Walker has done to the Wisconsin DNR.

The Wisconsin Livestock Facility Siting law that CAFOs sometimes use in litigation is pure political payoff to the Dairy Business Association, (DBA), signed into law by Doyle, which became effective in May 2006.

Wonder what Doyle has to say about getting the monstrous CAFO-industry juggernaut moving and polluting Wisconsin waters. Heck of a job, Jim.

Central Wisconsin

In the town of Saratoga, Wisconsin, (population some 5,100), in southern Wood County an entire municipal government is mobilized for survival, as a proposed 5,300-cow factory or CAFO in Saratoga would "likely contaminate residents’ drinking wells and pump out more groundwater than some cities," (Anderson, USA Today Network-Wisconsin).

Big Ag is betting the 5,300 cows, or "units" in the lexicon of Big Ag, are more important than the some 5,100 human beings in Saratoga, and 1,000s more people just south in the town of Rome in Adams County.

Town mothers and fathers fear an economic moonscape in this central Wisconsin region bouncing back from the decline of the paper industry.

Clean water advocates who double as economic protectors of their communities look to what they have: A beautiful region, the central sands, and abundant waters brimming with a nucleus of natural attractions.

The world-class Sand Valley golf resort, under construction in northern Adams County, is sited just south of the proposed Wysocki CAFO and already has spawned spin-off development.

Yet for reasons surpassing understanding Sand Valley officers remain publicly silent about the threat the Wysocki CAFO present to its own investors.

If Sand Valley is launched as scheduled for 2017, and the Wysocki CAFO subsequently begins operations, golfers, if not the investors, will understand why a north wind laden with tons of liquid cow manure is not fit for golf enthusiasts relaxing at a resort. But Sand Valley remains silent on the proposed Wysocki CAFO.

The proposed CAFO in Saratoga is owned by self-conscious polluters at the Wysocki Family of Companies, that proposes to vector millions of gallons of untreated cow waste—with nitrates, phosphorous and pathogens—into the environment every year.

Consider the pathology of people like the Wysocki corporate officers who would also poison children, a predictable consequence of directing this scale of pollution into communities.

Last week at Saratoga townhall, some 300 residents met to hear updates on the legal and regulatory states of affairs in their four-year effort to stop the operation of the Wysocki's proposed Golden Sands CAFO, a comprehensive project to save the town from the nitrates, phosphorous and pathogens, as well as the surrounding region, including the Tri-Lakes community in northern Adams County, (Wisconsin DNR), .

As Jonathan Anderson, who is covering the Wysocki CAFO controversy, reports this week with respect to nitrates:

An excessive amount of nitrates in water can restrict the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream, which is especially dangerous to infants who can develop a condition called blue baby syndrome, [notes Saratoga attorney, environmental law expert [Paul Kent]

Monitoring wells at Wysocki’s 3,800-cow Central Sands Dairy, in the town of Armenia in [neighboring] Juneau County, showed nitrate levels substantially higher than state drinking water standards last year. Tests in one well showed nitrate levels at 77 parts per million in July 2015. The state considers nitrate levels above 10 parts per million unsafe, [Hribar, CDC]. 

What does Wysocki have to say? No comment.

The situation in central Wisconsin sees entire communities and scientists screaming warnings and the polluters' response is to give money to corrupt politicians, attorneys, and refuse comment to the press.

Said Dr. John Ikerd, professor emeritus in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri, who spoke on CAFOs in Wisconsin: "What can be more important to our right to life than our right to clean water, clean air, and safe food? More than fifty years of research and real world experience clearly link factory farms to major public health risks associated with polluted water, polluted air, and chemically and biologically contaminated food. It’s time to hold our government accountable for failing in its most fundamental responsibility: to secure our God-given, unalienable, constitutional rights to clean water, clean air, and safe food."

If you are a Big Ag polluter, what is more important than communities, families and children is money.

Saratoga Fights

Last week, a scientist and an environmental attorney spoke at the Saratoga townhall to set the record straight on where the region stands in the fight against the Wysocki CAFO.

Stay tuned this week for an extended update on the legal and regulatory states of affairs in this four-year effort to stop the operation of the proposed Wysocki Golden Sands CAFO.

The Future

If central Wisconsin does not halt the Wysocki poisoners, northeastern Wisconsin offers a cautionary tale for what in store, specifically Kewaunee and Door counties.

Ever been to Door County? It's stunning, some call it the Martha's Vineyard of the Midwest.

So who would possible want to pollute this region?

Big Ag and Republicans.

From an email sent after the election by clean water advocates from northeastern Wisconsin:

Always waiting for the other shoe to drop, we dreaded what could surpass the newly permitted "spray irrigation of manure"--shit aerosolized into our ambient air-- permit language stating that drift would be assessed as "droplets felt on skin" or as "seen on the windshield of your car." Both Door and Kewaunee County currently receive "F"'s for air quality from the American Lung Association.

Well, here's the latest push from the industrial agricultural agency--a biogas plant for Kewaunee County!  This is falsely being touted as the 'help' we need to clean up our water--many of the mega farms already have digesters, and it has not stemmed the amount of ongoing contamination occurring in Kewaunee!

Remember that digesters and a biogas plant would use literal tons of "industrial wastes" to 'stoke' their systems--resulting in EVEN MORE INDUSTRIAL WASTES INFILTRATING our community! Wastes from meatpacking, rendering, cheese factories, mink ranches, and other industries which are already taken here-- farms/landowners receive a "tipping fee" for the taking of these wastes--which are ultimately land spread.

This is about big business, $$$ profits for the few, and further externalization of the costs of this bloated, polluting entity--a continued poisoning of the land, air, water and people where we live-- and the resulting health threats, plunging property values, and considerable diminished quality of life in our already greatly compromised county.


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