Sep 19, 2014

Wisconsin Dairy Business Association Is the Scourge of the Environment

U.S. Homeland Security Acclaims
the value of our water; why can't
politicians and Big Ag?
I've said this before, but I have to say it again. The Dairy Business Association (DBA) is driving a wedge between dairy farmers and non-farming citizens.

Where we previously enjoyed beautiful family farms run by caring multi-generational stewards of the land, we now deal with the stink of industrialized farming factories polluting our lakes, streams and groundwater while sucking up the subsidies initially intended for family farms.

The DBA is a tool of these industrial farmers, spending $200,000 annually buying influence in Madison. They care nothing for the environment, ignore the science, and instead generate gobs of hyperbole to deflect and defer.

Unfortunately, they have a number of our representatives and administration people in their back pocket. Coming from a farming family, it saddens me to see public attitudes towards farmers worsening so quickly.

Like the dirty, polluting factories of the early 1900s, these large agribusinesses are becoming the scourge of the environment. They'll make a mess of our environment, then take their money and run to the next opportunity, while we clean up their mess.

Manure-laden in Kewaunee County,
Wisconsin. Don't drink the water!
In it's haste to reclaim the title of "America's Dairyland", this [Scott Walker] administration is blindly ignoring the effect on our groundwater and surface water. It's a short-sighted objective sure to result in long term problems, many of them irreversible. Remember that when you vote.

Don Ystad
Rome, WI
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There They Go Again
The dairy industry defends the indefensible

By the River Alliance of Wisconsin

We've almost gotten inured to the dairy industry's rationalizations, denials, obfuscations, deflections and excuses for not changing its polluting ways. For decades, dairy farmers blamed sea gulls for algae pollution in Lake Michigan. They used to blame algae blooms in the Madison lakes on dogs and geese, until they finally succumbed to the decades of research conducted by world-class UW-Madison scientists and hundreds of graduate students which have proven that the Madison lakes' algae blooms are caused largely by farm runoff.

When they don't have a handy scapegoat for the problems they cause and need to buy time, farmers and their groups invariably call for "more research," even if extant research is unambiguous in defining a problem.

And there they go again, this time in Kewaunee County. That county is saturated in cow manure, and the already-huge farms keep expanding. The groundwater there is very vulnerable to contamination as the county sits on "karst" geology -- shallow topsoil underlain by porous and cracked rock.

Manure-laced water can run through these cracks and straight to the aquifer. About a third of 550+ wells tested recently in the county had some form of contamination.

The county is bravely attempting to regulate this problem by limiting how much manure can be applied in vulnerable places at certain times of the year. It's a common-sense and long-overdue partial solution to a looming public health crisis.

Enter the Dairy Business Association (DBA), a trade group. It has innuendo and fear-mongering down to a science (maybe the only science they understand), and, true to form they're pushing back at the proposed Kewaunee ordinance.

It calls provisions of the ordinance "vague" and likely to "confuse" farmers. The ordinance is actually quite specific in its prescriptions for manure spreading on vulnerable lands. DBA insults its own brethren by saying they will be confused by the ordinance. These are sophisticated people running complex businesses.

DBA contends the ordinance was provoked by "a couple of studies." To the contrary, the problem the ordinance is trying to solve has been well understood for years, by several studies and analyses, including the testing of thousands of wells.

Given that 10% of wells "throughout Wisconsin" have nitrates, observes DBA, what's the big deal? Imagine if we knew that 10% of car accidents in the state had one cause. You think we'd want it shrugged off like DBA wants well contamination shrugged off? And by citing only the nitrate number, they conveniently ignore coliform bacteria, even salmonella, in well water there. And even if the water you see in this sink were pure, would you want to brush your teeth with it?

There's more but it's almost too frustrating to read. But we're not too frustrated with talking about it -- certainly nowhere near the frustration of hundreds of Kewaunee County residents having to live with what one observer called "Third World conditions" for drinking water.

We will have more to say in the coming weeks about this issue. Meanwhile, reading the excellent Restore Kewaunee website will give you a taste (we use that word advisedly) of what's going on Kewaunee County, and the brave fight underway.

Sep 18, 2014

Wisconsin Town to Encircle Proposed Factory Farm Site with 10 Monitoring Water Wells

Updated - The Town of Saratoga in Wood County in central Wisconsin is a sand-laden recreational area that features tourist attractions located right in the middle of the Wisconsin Central Plain or Golden Sands.

Saratoga residents are revolted by the effort of the Wysocki Family of Companies to stick a massive Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Saratoga that would directly affect five neighboring counties and fear the CAFO will bleed pathogens in liquid cow manure into water aquifers, trout streams and area lakes.

Protect Wood County and Its Neighbors and Rome and Saratoga Friendly are leading the fight, and the Town of Saratoga stands together with these citizens groups as citizens watch property values in neighboring Adams County plummet 20 percent and property values in Wood County remain stagnant.

Wysocki's sock puppet, State Rep. Scot Krug (R-Nekoosa), came under such political heat running for reelection that he had to flip/flop and express opposition to the CAFO (73 days before Election Day) though reportedly Krug was told by Assembly Speaker Robin Voss that James Wysocki, owner and chief financial officer of the Wysocki Family of Companies, said that while Krug's statement of opposition went too far for Wysocki's taste, Wysocki was assured by Voss Krug's wink-wink statement would not present a problem while the Republicans controlled the state assembly and the governor's office.

Voss' office refused to confirm or deny the report.

Saratoga resident, Bruce E. Dimick, reports the Saratoga Town Board "unanimously voted to contract for the placement of 10 groundwater monitoring wells that will encircle the proposed Wysocki CAFO in the Town of Saratoga."

By Bruce E. Dimick

At a well-attended Saratoga Town Board Meeting, the Town Board unanimously voted to contract for the placement of 10 groundwater monitoring wells that will encircle the proposed Wysocki CAFO in the Town of Saratoga. All the citizens that spoke, spoke in favor of the proposal with great passion. No citizen or elected official opposed. The citizens emphasized the need to get the well network in this fall so that baseline data can be gathered prior to any activity by the Wysocki organization. This will provide the town and its citizens with solid data for further legal action in the event that the Wysocki organization moves ahead with its plans and the aquifer that all the citizens of Saratoga depend upon is degraded.

This proposal will be put out to bid, but it is expected to cost something in the neighborhood of $60,000 the first year, and considerably less in subsequent years.   The key parameters that will be monitored will include:

  • Determine the soil type and any impervious layers that may or may not exist in the borehole.  This is key data for any mathematical models used to simulate the effect of the CAFO on our aquifer.
  • The shallow wells will vary from 20 to 50 feet depending on location and there will be two deeper wells at 50 - 70 feet.
  • All water samples will be tested for pesticides, herbicides, coliform bacteria, total dissolved solids, total organic nitrogen and ammonia.
  • In addition all samples will be tested for oxygen demand, nitrate nitrogen, chloride and phosphorus.
  • Water depth will be measured every 4 hours automatically.
  • Other tests may be added after an examination of the initial proposal by a committee of knowledgeably citizens and professionals.
It cannot be overly emphasized how significant this action by our town board is. They are definitely looking out for their residents. Wouldn't it be nice if we had this kind of support at the county, state, and national level as well?

Court Gives Scott Walker until Sept. 23 to Decide to Contest Emergency Petition on Voter ID Law

Scott Walker has until September 23 to decide to contest the Emergency Petition filed by civil rights groups to protect Wisconsin voters' right to vote.

A Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit's panel released yesterday its Scheduling Order to decide whether to grant an en banc (full court) hearing.

Scott Walker gets to decide if he should block non-Republican voters from voting or do the right thing and throw in with voting rights groups.

Wonder what Walker will do.

Scott Walker and the Republicans passed Act 23, Wisconsin's Photo Voter ID law, to disenfranchise as many non-Republican voters as possible.

A federal trial found as fact that minorities, college students and other legal voters would be disenfranchised.

An array of civil rights groups filed an Emergency Petition to vacate the appellate court's stay issued last Friday of the injunction on Act 23.

The Court of Appeals order was issued just 53 days before Election Day, and before administrative rules implementing Act 23 were even published in an astonishing order that threatens to throw the Wisconsin election to Scott Walker.

This election result would appear to be on the minds of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh District judges: Frank Easterbrook, Diane Sykes and John Tinder, appointed by Republicans and at least two of whom, now three have shown more allegiance to Party than to law.

The 11th-hour order was released as the Wisconsin election was already underway, causing massive confusion and likely blocking 1,000s of citizens from voting, on top of the 10,000s the Voter ID law already is almost certain to stop from voting.

Solastalgia—Sickness That the Place One Resides and Loves Is Under Immediate Assault

Clean Water Is Under Attack in Wisconsin; EPA Finds CAFO in Violation of Clean Water Act

Water is the lifeblood of the human body. (Mayo Clinic)

Water's vitality and beauty on Earth are equally clear; and water is so obviously interconnected with Earth that this reality is known or felt by most Americans—except politicians and industry.

In Wisconsin, where fresh water is abundant, the attack is getting worse and residents are both angry and uneasy.

Glenn Albrecht coined a term to describe (a sickness inflicted): 'solastalgia,' a combination of the Latin word solacium (comfort) and the Greek root –algia (pain), which he defined as 'the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at ‘home.’' (Daniel B. Smith, New York Times (January 27, 2010))

We have been running posts here from citizens in Wisconsin whose wisdom clearly exceeds the policymakers—the Scott Walkers, the Scott Krugs, the Stephen Nass types—and the new pollution-friendly Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Waterdog - Tuesday at 5:30 PM in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"If regulatory agencies never go after the non-point sources that are adding 80-90% of the phosphorus to our waterways, our water quality will never improve. They know where the problem is, they just refuse to address it. Until that changes we just have to live with algae blooms on many of our lakes."
Below is a reply to Wisconsin State Assembly Representative Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater), contacted by Wisconsin citizen, Greg Farnham.
---
Thank you for your reply, Representative Nass.

I respectfully disagree with your conclusions, however, based on my 15 years of experience as a lake management district commissioner for Lake Sinissippi and the Rock River.

(1) I'm afraid that reality does not comport that DNR is constantly working to address agriculture's impact on water quality and the environment.

DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney spoke at a gathering of agricultural producers in February 2013 and is on record as stating that DNR is no longer a strong advocate on environmental issues.  This regressive policy is reflected in the permissive issuance of wastewater discharge permits to CAFOs without adequate oversight to ensure compliance and an unwillingness to take effective action to enforce laws designed to protect water quality -- witness the egregious discharge violation by farmers that caused one million gallons of liquid manure to pollute the Little Eau Pleine River in Marathon County and which resulted in a trifling fine by DNR of $464!

After the failure of DNR to investigate and deal with manure runoff to the East Twin River in Kewaunee County, concerned citizens requested the US Environmental Protection Agency-Region 7 in Chicago to investigate the matter.  The EPA inspector found the livestock CAFO was in violation of three provisions of the federal Clean Water Act.

(2) Nor do I find that DATCP is constantly working to address agriculture's impact on our water resources.  

Last October I appeared before the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Board and requested the board to investigate failure of the Dodge County Land Conservation Committee to implement its approved land and water conservation plan regarding winter spreading of livestock manure.  DATCP denied the board authority to make such an investigation and took no action on its own to deal with inadequate implementation of the conservation plan by the county.

Section ATCP 50.04(3) requires all agricultural producers to have and follow a nutrient management plan to reduce runoff of nutrients to surface and ground water; however, there is no enforcement.   Most cropland in Dodge County is operated without a nutrient management plan -- only 33 % of county cropland is under a NMP [Nutrient Management Plan].  Neither DATCP nor our county LCC [Land Conservation Committee] enforce the provision.  Jefferson County is the bright spot in the Rock River Valley with 73 % of cropland in a NMP.  Dane and Rock counties have even less NMP participation than Dodge County -- Rock is 27 % and Dane is 26 %.

This coming Thursday is a meeting of the DATCP livestock siting technical expert committee.  Although a publicly noticed meeting and although there is considerable controversy regarding livestock siting and preemption of local zoning control over CAFO operations by DATCP, no public involvement or comment will be permitted at the meeting.  In my experience, DATCP is managed by and on behalf of agricultural producers and as a result public stakeholders are marginalized and their concerns minimized.

(3) The harmful effects of industrial agriculture to our environment, natural resources and public health have been with us since the end of World War II and those effects have been studied in a scientific manner for the past seven decades.  I believe there is nothing complex about the required conservation and management practices and governmental regulations and enforcement necessary to protect our land, water and air resources and safeguard public health.

The missing link, in my view, is the political will to take action.

We know the problem and we know what is needed to deal with it -- lack of compliance is the problem and regulation and enforcement are needed.   Point-source polluters such as municipal wastewater treatment facilities, factories and industrial operations, etc are required under the federal Clean Water Act to comply with CWA provisions.   Non-point polluters such as agriculture, on the other hand, are not required to comply - compliance by the farmer is strictly voluntary - and the job is not getting done.

The TMDL for the Rock River Basin indicates that the two largest contributors of phosphorus and suspended solids to the basin are agriculture and wastewater treatment facilities.  Wastewater facilities contribute 26% of the phosphorus and 3% of the suspended solids, while agriculture is the source of 64% of the phosphorus and 89% of the suspended solids (sediment).  The state is tightening the screws on our municipal treatment facilities to reduce phosphorus discharges through enforceable mandates, while essentially ignoring the biggest contributor of phosphorus - agriculture.
The US Government Accountability Office issued a report in January 2014 (attached) regarding achievement of objectives of the Clean Water Act.  The conclusion is sobering for those of us concerned with water quality:

Because the Clean Water Act addresses nonpoint source pollution largely through voluntary means, EPA does not have direct authority to compel landowners to take prescribed actions to reduce such pollution. In GAO's survey, state officials knowledgeable about TMDLs reported that 83 percent of TMDLs have achieved their targets for point source pollution (e.g., factories) through permits but that 20 percent achieved their targets for nonpoint source pollution.

Without changes to the act's approach to nonpoint source pollution, the act's goals are likely to remain unfulfilled.

(4) My experience tells me that industrial agriculture is not a good steward of our natural resources nor a good neighbor.  Good stewards don't pollute their neighbor's well with cow manure, spray liquid manure into the air where the hydrogen sulfide and ammonia drift cause asthma attacks in neighborhood children and elderly, improperly fertilize corn fields to the extent that nitrate levels in drinking water of private wells exceed state health limits, plow next to rivers and streams causing sediment runoff that chokes our waterways, or allow manure spills and nutrient runoff that pollute our lakes, rivers and streams killing fish, closing swimming beaches and causing harmful algae blooms.

I learned that just today a large manure spill (640,000 gallons) occurred in Door County.

(5) Our farming community has demonstrated that it is unwilling to voluntarily adopt conservation practices that would significantly lessen the resource impact and moderate the public health effects of current agricultural operations.   In Dodge County alone the USDA NRCS (United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Services) district conservationist has for the past three years sent back to Washington, DC funds budgeted for EQIP (Environmental Quality Implementation Program) conservation practices since there was no demand by county farmers for the program.  Everyone is planting ditch to ditch and expanded sizes of dairy herds.

So unless you and our other legislators take the time to truly understand that lack of compliance is the problem and engender political will across the aisle to take corrective action, then I fear your view of a "long term focus" will be reality.  

We will continue to kick the proverbial can down the road for the next generation and praise our farmers for being good stewards and complement leaders of DNR, DATCP and DHS on the great job they're doing, while our rural residents drink contaminated water, breathe polluted air and our lakes, rivers and streams turn green and brown.

I very much regret that I have yet to see anyone in Madison willing to help turn this ship around before it goes aground.  Perhaps you might be willing to take the lead in developing a political consensus for corrective action.  If we can assist in that regard, please let me know.
Sincerely,

Greg Farnham, Coordinator
Rock River Trail Initiative
Hustisford, Wisconsin (Dodge County)
(920) 296-8771
www.rockrivertrail.com

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Changes Needed If Key EPA Program Is to Help Fulfill the Nation's Water Quality Goals 

GAO-14-80: Published: Dec 5, 2013. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 2014. 

What GAO Found 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states each have responsibilities for developing and implementing pollution targets, known as total maximum daily loads (TMDL). EPA oversees states' TMDL efforts by establishing in regulations minimum requirements TMDLs need for approval, providing funding, and furnishing technical assistance. States develop TMDLs and generally take the lead in implementing them by identifying pollutants that impair water quality and taking actions to reduce them. 

Of about 50,000 TMDLs developed and approved, nearly 35,000 were approved more than 5 years ago, long enough for GAO to consider them long established. State officials GAO surveyed in its representative sample of 191 TMDLs reported that pollutants had been reduced in many waters, but few impaired water bodies have fully attained water quality standards. 

The sample of 25 TMDLs reviewed by water resource experts GAO contacted seldom contained all features key to attaining water quality standards. According to the National Research Council and EPA, these features--some that are beyond the scope of EPA's existing regulations--include identifying pollution causing stressors and showing how addressing them would help attain such standards; specifying how and by whom TMDLs will be implemented; and ensuring periodic revisions as needed. The experts found, however, that 17 of 25 long-established TMDLs they reviewed did not show that addressing identified stressors would help attain water quality standards; 12 contained vague or no information on actions that need to be taken, or by whom, for implementation; and 15 did not contain features to help ensure that TMDLs are revised if need be.  GAO's review showed that EPA's existing regulations do not explicitly require TMDLs to include these key features, and without such features in TMDLs--or in addition to TMDLs--impaired water bodies are unlikely to attain standards. 

In response to GAO's survey, state officials reported that long-established TMDLs generally do not exhibit factors most helpful for attaining water quality standards, particularly for nonpoint source pollution (e.g., farms and storm water runoff). The officials reported that landowner participation and adequate funding--factors they viewed as among the most helpful in implementing TMDLs--were not present in the implementation activities of at least two-thirds of long-established TMDLs, particularly those of nonpoint source TMDLs.  Because the Clean Water Act addresses nonpoint source pollution largely through voluntary means, EPA does not have direct authority to compel landowners to take prescribed actions to reduce such pollution. In GAO's survey, state officials knowledgeable about TMDLs reported that 83 percent of TMDLs have achieved their targets for point source pollution (e.g., factories) through permits but that 20 percent achieved their targets for nonpoint source pollution. In 1987, when the act was amended to cover such pollution, some Members of Congress indicated that this provision was a starting point, to be changed if reliance on voluntary approaches did not significantly improve water quality. More than 40 years after Congress  
passed the Clean Water Act, however, EPA reported that many of the nation's waters are still impaired, and the goals of the act are not being met.  Without changes to the act's approach to nonpoint source pollution, the act's goals are likely to remain unfulfilled.
 
Why GAO Did This Study 

The 1972 Clean Water Act aimed to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters." Under the act, states must establish water quality standards; for waters that do not meet these standards, states must develop TMDLs, which EPA approves. TMDLs set targeted limits for pollutants but are not self-implementing; EPA and states help reduce pollutants by issuing permits for point sources, whereas they provide voluntary incentives to reduce nonpoint source pollution. 

GAO was asked to examine the TMDL program, specifically (1) EPA's and states' responsibilities in developing and implementing TMDLs, (2) what is known about the status of long established TMDLs, (3) the extent to which such TMDLs contain features key to attaining water quality standards, and (4) the extent to which TMDLs exhibit factors that facilitate effective implementation. GAO asked water resource experts to review a random sample of 25 long-established TMDLs and surveyed state officials who are responsible for implementing a representative sample of 191 long established TMDLs. 

What GAO Recommends 

GAO recommends that EPA issue new regulations for TMDL development, adding key features. Further, Congress should consider revising the Clean Water Act's approach to addressing nonpoint source pollution. EPA did not comment on the matter for Congress. The agency agreed with the need to add key features to TMDLs but did not agree to issue new regulations. GAO believes new regulations are needed. 

For more information, contact J. Alfredo Gómez at (202) 512-3841 or gomezj@gao.gov
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-80 

Sep 17, 2014

Citizen Farnham Lied to by Wisconsin State Senate Office of Scott Fitzgerald on Safe Water

Home of Greg Farnham in Juneau, Wisconsin
As many Wisconsin politicians remain nothing less than hostile to protecting the environment, an incredible and short-sighted political position, perhaps there is nothing more hostile to citizens working to protect the environment than being told by a politician that they'll at least follow up and get back to the citizen, only to ignore the man.

Greg Farnham is waiting to hear from State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Clyman), and waiting. Perhaps Mr. Farnham should give Fitzgerald's campaign committee some money, this seems to work with Fitzgerald.

Greg Farnham 
Waterdown Farms
N5036 St. Helena Road                         
Juneau, WI  53039-9636

Dear Senator Fitzgerald
April 15th I met with Dan Romportl and Tad Ottman (legislative aides) to discuss concerns regarding human health risks from using aerial spray irrigation to dispose of manure at intensive livestock operations, a practice that is promoted by dairy and livestock producers and the departments of natural resources and agriculture, trade and consumer protection.  I provided them with technical documents regarding public health risks of manure irrigation as well as copies of ordinances of Wisconsin counties and townships that have taken their own actions to restrict manure spray irrigation in an effort to protect the health of their residents. 
I asked Messrs. Romportl and Ottman to review the information with you and convey that I find state action in this matter to be irresponsible.  I shared with them my belief that the health and well being of our rural residents in CAFO counties have been marginalized by agency leadership at DNR and DATCP.  I also find that DHS Secretary Rhoades has demonstrated she is uninterested in the serious public health consequences from manure irrigation and the need to find safer methods to dispose of rapidly growing quantities of livestock manure.  
It was my understanding that Messrs. Romportl and Ottman were going to review the information and discuss it with you, and then let me know their recommendations; however, I've not heard from them.   
As part of constructive dialogue I'd like to share additional technical information with you that I believe casts an even greater sense of urgency on the need for our state agencies to recognize the serious human health risks inherent in aerial spray irrigation of animal manure and to act responsibly. 
Nancy Khardori, M.D., Ph.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, is author of "Overview of Potential Agents of Biological Terrorism" available on the university website (http://www.siumed.edu/medicine/id/bioterrorism.htm#a).  Dr. Khardori reports that spray aerosols are the most effective means of dispersion of biological weapon systems, with secondary or tertiary transmission of pathogens and toxins person-to-person and via vectors. 
Even more chilling is the fact that a number of bacterial agents of bioterrorism are pathogenic microorganisms found in livestock manure (US Environmental Protection Agency).   These include: 
 
  • •Bacillus anthracis   Category A bacterial agent of highest priority.  Anthrax can be easily disseminated or transmitted person to person with high mortality.  B. anthracis was weaponized by the US in 1954. 
  • Category B bioterrorism agents of second highest priority include Salmonella species, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Cryptosporidium parvum and Cloxiella burnetti. 
  • Brucella species  Category B bioterrorism bacterial agent causing brucellosis.  Easily transmitted, stable to environmental conditions and long persistence in wet ground.  Infection by skin contact, ingestion and inhalation of contaminated aerosols.  Highly infectious with only 10 - 100 viable cells required. 
  •  Clostridium tetani  Category B tetanus biological toxin 
  • Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B  Category B biological toxin from Staphylococcus aureus.  This toxin was one of seven agents in the US biological warfare arsenal in the 1960s. 
This is what leadership of DNR, DATCP (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection) and DHS (Wisconsin Department of Health Services) plan for our rural communities -- to expand the use by livestock operations of aerosolizing liquid manure and dispersion of pathogens and toxins identified as agents of biological warfare and bioterrorism to ourselves, our neighbors and our animals! 
DNR Deputy Secretary (Matt) Moroney spoke at a gathering of agricultural producers in February 2013.  He is on record as claiming collaboration between DNR and producers is to facilitate dairy industry expansion.  His message at the seminar included statements that DNR is no longer a strong advocate on environmental issues and further that DNR is supportive of manure spray irrigation.  These words are from leadership of the agency providing over $300,000 of public money to fund supposedly objective research on manure irrigation by agricultural scientists. 
Further, I understand that DNR has arranged for the quantitative microbial risk assessment for human health risk determination to be conducted by a forage research scientist with the US Department of Agriculture, not by medical officials and experts in public health. 
Given the overlapping interests in this arrangement, there appears to be significant prejudice in the research plan and health risk assessment and I see little reason to trust the outcome of the DNR project. 
I believe there is sufficient concern regarding human health risks to request a moratorium on the manure irrigation project until a more complete scope of work is defined and further that an agency with public health responsibilities and accountability is designated to conduct human health risk assessment. 
I'm not anti-farming nor a tree hugger.   I believe you know that my wife and I own 400 acres of farmland on Lake Sinissippi.  My grandfather was a dairy field man for Nestle creamery in Waterford, Wisconsin, and I have fond memories of riding with him to his farm patrons in the early 1950s.  My father was a dairy chemist in the industry.  My business career was in international marketing in the dairy and food industries, and in the 1980s I served as a US representative to the International Dairy Federation in Brussels, Belgium. 
I don't believe the livestock CAFO concept is sustainable.  The costs to our rural communities and residents, our environment, human health, the workers on the farms and the animals themselves are too high -- witness the tragic drowning of 2,000 pigs in a manure pit at a swine CAFO in Guelph, Ontario a month ago. 
And I envision serious, long-term problems for our state with the current administration policy of unfettered expansion of dairy and livestock CAFOs.  Aggressive promotion of manure spray irrigation by DNR and DATCP is an ill-advised consequence of that policy.  We're buried in manure, farm fields are saturated with waste and nutrients, and additional land for spreading is unavailable in many areas. 
I believe we can evolve a more balanced approach to farming in this state that places a limit on expansion of CAFOs and instead encourages and supports economic development of farms with sustainable land-use practices and opportunities for our rural young people.  I hope you are willing to explore more sensible options for our farm families and rural residents.  In the meantime I believe there is a clear need for you to demand responsible action by our state agencies to protect public health from the hazards of manure spray irrigation. 

Sincerely, 

Greg Farnham 

Calls for Fed DoJ Intervention in Wisconsin as an Election Is Rigged in Plain Sight

Black, brown, yellow and young need not vote here, says Republican Party, backed by Frank Easterbrook and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

The message could not be clearer as each new Republican Party election law this spring was pushed through with minimal public input, with a GOP machine demonization project of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, referring to the League as "Vultures."

Republican candidates refuse to participate in debates sponsored by the League for opposing a package of GOP bills designed to obstruct voters likely to vote non-Republican.

Now, the GOP is attempting to steal the election in plain sight, and disenfranchise 10,000s in a best-case scenario.

We need the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to intervene.

On Election Day from GOP-aligned "observers" newly empowered with the power to harass to a ridiculous order from three Republican judges changing the rules for voter ID on the eve of the election, federal help is needed.

It used to be considered in bad form to identify the party of the president who appointed a federal judge when discussing cases judges deliberate, but the federal judiciary has too often gone along with the Republican, quasi-fascist project that degrades the formal structures and foundations of our democracy.

Members of the federal judiciary ought to have no more credibility with the American public than any other politician.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judges are:

Wood - Clinton
Bauer - Ford (Senior status)
Cudahy - Carter (Senior status)
Posner - Reagan
Flaum - Reagan
Easterbrook - Nixon (learned a few tricks from the disgraced president about fixing elections and dirty tricks)
Ripple - Reagan (Senior status)
Manion - Reagan (Senior status)
Kanne - Reagan
Rovner - H.W. Bush
Williams - Clinton
Sykes - W. Bush
Tinder - W. Bush
Hamilton - Obama

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Q: What is a senior judge?
The "Rule of 80" is the commonly used shorthand for the age and service requirement for a judge to assume senior status, as set forth in Title 28 of the US. Code, Section 371(c). Beginning at age 65, a judge may retire at his or her current salary or take senior status after performing 15 years of active service as an Article III judge (65+15 = 80). A sliding scale of increasing age and decreasing service results in eligibility for retirement compensation at age 70 with a minimum of 10 years of service (70+10=80). Senior judges, who essentially provide volunteer service to the courts, typically handle about 15 percent of the federal courts' workload annually. (United States Courts)

ACLU Files Emergency Appeal to Vacate Stay of Appellate Panel, Protect the Vote

Update: Emergency petition can be found here.

The ACLU has filed an Emergency Petition for a Rehearing En Banc (before the full Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit) Tuesday in an effort to halt the Wisconsin Voter ID law and save the voting rights of 10,000s of Wisconsin citizens.

This legal case is a partisan issue. The Republican Party of Wisconsin remain hostile to voting rights of all eligible Wisconsin citizens while Democratic Party takes the position of defending the voting rights of all eligible Wisconsin citizens.

Make no mistake, Scott Walker and J.B. Van Hollen are attempting to steal this election by disenfranchising Wisconsin voters.

The Emergency Petition notes last Friday panel's order "involves a question of exceptional importance under Fed. R. App. P. 35(b)(1)(B) because it imposes a radical, last-minute change to procedures for conducting an election that is already underway. The risk of disenfranchisement from imposing such a last-minute disruption far outweighs the non-existent harm to the state of maintaining the status quo and not requiring photo ID for one more election. Supreme Court precedent and other Circuits uniformly caution against such eleventh-hour changes to the election laws, even where those courts have approved such changes for future elections. ..."

... It is not only unreasonable, but also mathematically, logically, and physically impossible that by November 4, hundreds of thousands of voters will learn about the need for ID, especially given the total Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 623  suspension of public information about the law for two and one-half years, collect multiple required documents, get to a DMV office, and obtain the ID suddenly required by staying the District Court‟s injunction last Friday afternoon. Doing so would require Wisconsin to issue some 6,000 photo IDs per day between now and the election. ..."

... The Petition notes that a "fundamental change in election procedures just before an election will sow confusion among voters and elections officials. ..."  

... The panel's decision to allow Act 23 to go into effect at this late date virtually guarantees substantial chaos in election administration and resulting voter confusion and disenfranchisement in the November elections. This will be contrary to the public interest, and will undermine voter confidence."

The EMERGENCY PETITION FOR REHEARING AND SUGGESTION FOR REHEARING EN BANC OF PANEL ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO STAY statement and argument are below [footnotes, citations and other characters such as page numbers are included):

STATEMENT REQUIRED BY FED R. APP. P. 35(b)(1) Pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 2, 35(b), 40 Plaintiffs-Appellees file this Emergency Petition for Rehearing En Banc, which should be granted for two reasons:
First, the panel decision involves a question of exceptional importance under Fed. R. App. P. 35(b)(1)(B) because it imposes a radical, last-minute change to procedures for conducting an election that is already underway. The risk of disenfranchisement from imposing such a last-minute disruption far outweighs the non-existent harm to the state of maintaining the status quo and not requiring photo ID for one more election. Supreme Court precedent and other Circuits uniformly caution against such eleventh-hour changes to the election laws, even where those courts have approved such changes for future elections. See Purcell v. Gonzalez, 549 U.S. 1 (2006).

Second, the panel‟s extraordinary decision to grant a stay pending appeal – which altered rather than maintained the status quo – ignored the four-factor test for such relief set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 434 (2009), and the Court‟s admonition against last-minute reversals of lower court election law rulings in Purcell v. Gonzalez, 549 U.S. 1, 4-5 (2006).

Specifically, the panel decision failed to consider that issuance of the stay and the consequent slapdash implementation of a complex law – which was designed to have a rollout period of 8 months before a primary and 16 months before a general election – “will substantially injure” the rights of voters without ID, and that “the Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 622  public interest lies” strongly against fundamentally changing the rules of an election on the eve of the election, particularly where absentee voting is already underway. In addition, the panel decision failed to consider seriously one of the “most critical” factors. Defendants will not be “irreparably injured absent a stay,” Nken, 556 U.S. at 434, if the election proceeds without a photo ID requirement, as has been the case in all but one election in Wisconsin‟s history.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Wisconsin adopted Act 23 in the spring of 2011 to require voters to present one of a limited number of forms of photo ID to vote in-person or, with very limited exceptions, by absentee ballot. Act 23 was in effect for only one low-turnout primary in February 2012, after which it was enjoined by state and federal courts. In light of the injunctions, Wisconsin suspended the photo ID requirement itself and all implementation of the Act, including training of the 1,852 municipal clerks who run Wisconsin elections and tens of thousands of poll workers, and all public information and educational outreach to voters for two and a half years. In this case, the district court found that approximately 300,000 voters do not have the most common form of ID that would now be needed to vote on November 4 (exactly 7 weeks from today), which is an unexpired driver‟s license or state-issued photo ID. See Frank v. Walker, No. 11–CV–01128, 12–CV–00185, 2014 WL 1775432, at *11 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 29, 2014). It is not only unreasonable, but also mathematically, logically, and physically impossible that by November 4, hundreds of thousands of voters will learn about the need for ID, especially given the total Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 623  suspension of public information about the law for two and one-half years, collect multiple required documents, get to a DMV office, and obtain the ID suddenly required by staying the District Court‟s injunction last Friday afternoon. Doing so would require Wisconsin to issue some 6,000 photo IDs per day between now and the election.  Nevertheless, on September 12, 2014, a panel of this Court granted Defendants‟ motion for a stay of the district court‟s injunction forbidding implementation of the photo ID requirement. By granting a stay on the eve of this year‟s elections, with thousands of absentee ballots already in the mail, the panel decision forces a radical change in election procedures with no time for preparation, training, or outreach. Such a radical change is improper when a state‟s “election machinery is already in progress.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 585 (1964).  Moreover, the panel‟s decision referenced submissions by Defendants tendered several hours after oral argument, see ECF 61, concerning the state‟s new policies (apparently adopted a day earlier) responding to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court‟s decision in Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker, 2014 WI 98, ¶¶ 62-63 (July 31, 2014) (NAACP). That case, recognizing the “severe burdens” imposed by Act 23, required the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to make free IDs available to those who would otherwise have to pay for documents like birth certificates to get ID. 2014 WI 98, ¶ 70. After six weeks, with no official action, counsel for Defendants announced for the first time during oral argument on September 12, 2014, that DMV had issued new emergency rules that purport to Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 624  address the identified deficiencies. Before and during argument, Plaintiffs had no opportunity to view these rules, much less question or dispute them. Defendants filed them after oral argument concluded. ECF 61. Soon thereafter, and without affording Plaintiffs any opportunity to respond, the panel issued the stay, reasoning that NAACP and the state‟s new policies “reduce[] the likelihood of irreparable injury” to plaintiffs and “change the balance of equities.” ECF 64 at 2.  The panel‟s decision to allow immediate implementation of Act 23 this close to an election will sow chaos at the polls and undermine election integrity and public confidence in the November 4 election. The decision raises questions of voting rights and election administration that are of exceptional public importance.  Fed. R. App. P. 35(a)(2). The risk of disenfranchisement and electoral chaos from granting a stay far outweighs the abstract harm to the state in delaying photo ID for one more election. Plaintiffs therefore request that this Court reconsider the panel‟s decision or review the panel‟s decision en banc on an expedited basis and vacate the stay order, which will simply preserve the status quo while the panel reviews the merits of the appeal.1 See Fed. R. App. P. 35(a) (providing for en banc review of an appeal “or other proceeding”); Flower Cab Co. v. Petitte, 685 F.2d 192, 195 (7th Cir. 1982) (Court of Appeals has power to grant rehearing or rehearing en                                                  1 Plaintiffs request that consideration of this petition be expedited pursuant Fed. R. App. P. 2. Time is of the essence to avoid a rush to implement Act 23 without adequate training or preparation, which is already causing confusion among voters, elections officials, clerks and poll workers that will inevitably interfere with election administration and lead to the unnecessary and unlawful disfranchisement of many voters. See 16A Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice & Procedure: Jurisdiction 3d § 3948, at 25 (1999); 1967 Advisory Committee Note to Fed. R. App. P. 2; Groendyke Transport, Inc. v. Davis, 406 F.2d 1158, 1162 (5th Cir. 1969).  Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 625  banc of a stay granted by a panel of the Court).

ARGUMENT

As the Supreme Court explained in Nken, courts must consider four factors when deciding whether a stay is warranted: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies.  556 U.S. at 434 (citations omitted). “The first two factors of the traditional standard are the most critical.”  Id. The “party requesting a stay bears the burden of showing that the circumstances justify” a stay. Id. Here, by failing to balance the dramatic harm to the public and to voters who currently lack ID in changing the rules of an election at the eleventh-hour against the lack of any irreparable harm to the state in waiting to implement photo ID for one election, the panel‟s decision fails to heed the proper standard articulated in Nken, and should be overturned.

I.  FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGING THE RULES JUST BEFORE AN ELECTION WILL SUBSTANTIALLY HARM THIRD PARTIES AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST WITH NO APPRECIABLE BENEFIT TO THE STATE  In issuing the stay, the panel made no finding as to the effect of its decision on other parties and the public interest. This omission is particularly glaring because this factor points decisively against a stay.  A. No court has permitted a voter ID law to go into effect this close to an election based on last-minute changes to the law.  Last-minute orders changing election procedures – particularly from an Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 626  appellate court reversing a district court – are strongly disfavored, because “[c]ourt orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase.”  Purcell, 549 U.S. at 4-5. No court has permitted a voter ID law to take effect based on purported ameliorative changes adopted this close to an election. For examplehttp://www.jsonline.com/news/appeals-panel- questions-why-voter-id-shouldnt-be-in-place-nov-4-b99350157z1-274904111.html, The record was clear before the stay that this was likely to be the case. See ECF 53 (Plaintiffs-Appellees‟ Opposition to Defendants-Appellants' Expedited Motion to Stay Permanent Injunction Pending Appeal and ECF 56-2 at 3 (Declaration of Kevin J. Kennedy).  4 See Dee J. Hall, Absentee ballots already cast will need photo ID, elections official says, NEWS REPUBLIC (Sept. 16, 2014), http://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepublic/news/state-and- regional/article_3de3068c-18f3-5887-bb10-3648b28d6eab.html; Patrick Marley, Voters who returned absentee ballots must send ID copies, J. SENTINEL (Sept. 16, 2014), http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/ballot-fight-is-brewing-as-state- scrambled-on-voter-id-b99352576z1-275311521.html.  Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 629  way, printing the ballots. Absentee ballots have indeed already been sent . . . .”); Fishman v. Schaeffer, 429 U.S. 1325, 1330 (1976) (Marshall, Circuit Justice) (denying “extraordinary relief” where absentee ballots were being printed and distributed).5 Even Defendants‟ trial witness municipal clerk Diane Hermann-Brown admitted the stay “complicates the election for clerks because it comes as voters are already requesting and in some cases receiving absentee ballots.”6  C. Voters without ID will be substantially harmed by a stay, given their lack of information and inability to rapidly obtain ID.    On the eve of an election, “the Court of Appeals was required to weigh  . . . considerations specific to election cases,” and to “give deference to the discretion of the District Court.” Purcell, 549 US at 4. Failure to do so constitutes error. Id. Yet the panel failed to consider the “substantial harm” to 300,000 registered voters that the district court found lack ID,7 many of whom do not use ID in their daily lives or who have a form of ID, like Veterans‟ Administration ID, that is not acceptable for voting.8 Frank 2014 WL 1775432, at 2. These voters have no reason to know they 5 See also Nader v. Blackwell, 230 F.3d 833, 834-35 (6th Cir. 2000) (inappropriate to change party-identification procedures after absentee ballots already printed and mailed); Perry v. Judd, 471 Fed. Appx. 219, 2012 WL 120076, at *8 (4th Cir. Jan. 17, 2012) (change in rules after absentee ballots already printed would be improper); cf., Williams, 393 U.S. at 35 (last minute ballot change could interfere with rights of absentee voters). 6 Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, Absentee ballot mailings halted in push to restart voter ID law, J. SENTINEL, http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/clerks- elections-officials-scramble-to-reinstate-voter-id-law-b99351689z1-275146501.html 7 Many voters who have obtained ID since 2011 were not new voters without ID, but voters renewing ID or replacing lost or stolen ID cards. Frank v. Walker, 11-CV- 01128, 2014 WL 1775432 at 38 (E.D. Wis. Apr. 29, 2014). 8 The stay will also impose substantial harm on student voters. Regular student ID Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 6210  would even need ID to vote less than two months from now, because the Government Accountability Board (GAB), which administers elections, suspended all public information and outreach about the law in March 2012. NAACP, 2014 WI 98 at ¶¶ 15-16. Cf. South Carolina, 898 F. Supp. 2d at 49-50 (insufficient time for voters to learn requirements and obtain ID); U.S. Student Ass'n v. Land, 546 F.3d 373, 387-8 (6th Cir. 2008) (voter confusion that would result from stay constitutes harm to others and to public interest). But Act 23 will offer no fail-safe affidavit option for voters without ID, rendering this law materially different from Indiana‟s. Contrast, Crawford v. Marion Cnty. Elections Bd., 553 U.S. 181, 185-6 (2008). Although Act 23 required public information and voter assistance, id. at §§ 95, 144(1), GAB had no intention of even developing a new plan for public information and outreach until 2015, much less a plan that can be implemented to reach voters in less than two months to ensure that these voters understand Act 23, how to get ID, and the new procedures for obtaining it.9  Defendants‟ emergency rules will not even be published until September 17.10  Other than press releases,                                                                                                                                                              cards are not acceptable for voting in Wisconsin and colleges‟ plans to produce alternative voting IDs that expired no more than two years after issuance were reportedly put on hold after the injunctions. Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, Absentee ballot mailings halted in push to restart voter ID law, J. SENTINEL, http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/clerks-elections-officials-scramble-to- reinstate-voter-id-law-b99351689z1-275146501.html  9 See, http://gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/event/74/09_04_14_gab_complete_open_session_a genda_material_20954.pdf (at 76; p. 79 of PDF) (stating that GAB will be in a better position to develop plan for effective use of state funds to meet voter ID law objectives after Jan. 1, 2015).  10 ECF 61-1, third link at p. 3 (Letter to Legislative Reference Bureau.) Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 6211  there has been no apparent public information or outreach, and the state “has no money available” for further public outreach.11  Furthermore, it does not appear that DMV staff have been fully and uniformly trained to implement the new procedures.12 DMV has only 92 offices statewide, (Frank, 2014 WL 1775432 at 15); and in 48 counties representing over a quarter of the state‟s population, those offices are open only two days a week for a total of ten hours.13 DMV is simply incapable of processing a substantial number of applications from the 300,000 registered voters without ID. Nor are the new rules a panacea. All voters still have to obtain and produce proof of identity and residency and travel to DMV.14 Voters who do not have birth certificates in their possession must complete a petition form with information relevant to the date and circumstances of birth. This initiates a two-step verification procedure. First, the DMV shall provide the birth information to the department of health services and attempt to obtain verification of the                                                  11 See Marley, supra note 4. 12 A “DMV hotline worker told us they're still getting up to speed with the new procedure and that it just came down yesterday, so clearly, the agency is still working through this.”  “New voter ID law rules cause confusion,” CBS58 News (Sept. 13, 2014, updated  Sept. 14, 2014), viewed 9/14/14 at http://www.cbs58.com/news/local-news/New-voter-ID-law.html ) 13 Todd Milewski, Clock is ticking to get a Wisconsin voter ID before November election, faster in some areas, THE CAP TIMES, http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/todd-milewski/clock-is-ticking-to-get-a- wisconsin-voter-id-before/article_d1346760-3cf1-11e4-9560-df1946b2278e.html  14 See, e.g., Ann-Elise Henzl, Agencies, Advocates Await Word on How to Help Wisconsin Voters Obtain Photo IDs, MILWAUKEE PUBLIC RADIO, http://wuwm.com/post/agencies-advocates-await-word-how-help-wisconsin-voters- obtain-photo-ids. Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 6212  information. ECF 61-2 at 8 (Sec. 11 (creating Wis. Adm. Code Trans. 102.15(5m)(2)1.) DMV warns Wisconsin-born voters that the process may take seven business days to complete. Attachment A. In addition, efforts to implement matching procedures involving different database formats routinely experience severe and unexpected problems and delays.15 If that does not verify required information, then DMV must notify the applicant that the applicant needs to provide other documents, and a DMV administrator or his delegate then has discretion to accept alternatives such as hospital records, baptismal certificates, or other such records. Id. at 8-9 (creating Wis. Adm. Code Trans. 102.15(5m)(2)2.)  ECF 61-2 at 8 (Sec. 11 (creating Wis. Adm. Code Trans. 102.15(5m)(2)1.) Moreover, DMV currently has an agreement to verify birth information only with Wisconsin’s vital records office.16 Even though Election Day is now only seven weeks away, GAB has indicated that the verification process could take eight weeks for voters born in other states.17  Indeed, no formal verification system has been set up for these voters. The state represented at oral argument that this process is ongoing, but the state has reportedly done no more than notify other states of its rules.18 DMV itself is telling voters that “for voters born in another                                                  15 See, e.g, Coverage in jeopardy for 40% of HealthCare.gov enrollees, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/06/40-percent-of-healthcare-gov- accounts-in-jeopardy/index.htm (describing database matching problems in implementation of HealthCare.gov). 16 (WI Dept. of Trans. http://www.dot.state.wi.us/news/releases/031- nr20140910.html) 17 See Hall, supra note 4. 18 Ann-Elise Henzl, Voter ID: No Birth Certificate Needed to Apply for Wisconsin ID Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 6213  state or country, the length of the process will depend upon how long it takes the other government agency to respond to Wisconsin‟s request for information.” Attachment A.  Thus, thousands of Wisconsin voters – especially those born elsewhere – are unlikely to benefit from the new procedures in time to vote. Almost 47% of eligible Milwaukee voters without ID were born outside Wisconsin. (A.187.)  This population is disproportionately comprised of Blacks and Latinos, who are more likely than whites to lack both ID and a document needed to get ID, such as birth certificates, Frank 2014 WL 1775432 at 29-30.19  The fate of voters whose birth records are not verified through this matching process will rest in the hands of front-line DMV employees, who will be charged with deciding when and whether alternative documents are acceptable, a situation that has led to arbitrary and disparate treatment in the past and has not gotten ID to voters. See Frank, 2014 WL 1775432 at 16 n. 18 and n. 20.ECF 61-2 at 8-9 (Wis. Adm. Code Trans. 102.15(5m)(2)2). Cf. Louisiana v. United States, 380 U.S. 145, 153 (1965).  D.  A fundamental change in election procedures just before an election will sow confusion among voters and elections officials.   The panel‟s decision to allow Act 23 to go into effect at this late date virtually
                                                                                                                                                             at DMV Office, http://wuwm.com/post/voter-id-no-birth-certificate-needed-apply- wisconsin-id-dmv-office. 19 See also, Frank 11-CV-01128, 2014 WL 1775432 at 30 n. 37 (“Many Latino voters who were born in Puerto Rico will have trouble obtaining their birth certificates because the Puerto Rican government annulled all birth certificates of individuals born there prior to 2010. . . . 16.7% of eligible Latino[ voters] in Milwaukee County were born in Puerto Rico and 38.4% of those born in Puerto Rico ha[ve] yet to obtain a new birth certificate.”) Case: 14-2058      Document: 65-1            Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 6214  guarantees substantial chaos in election administration and resulting voter confusion and disenfranchisement in the November elections. This will be contrary to the public interest, and will undermine voter confidence. The necessary steps to implement Act 23 – which originally contemplated an eight-month implementation period – cannot be completed in time for this fall‟s election cycle.20 See Fr. Ex. 635 at 74 (deposition testimony of former GAB Elections Division head Robinson) (“This is a new sweeping law with a lot of nuances, and for poll workers who do not do this as a matter of their daily jobs . . . the facts that should be known, the basic facts, in fact, are many times not known.”). The GAB will have to figure out how to retrain the 1,852 municipal clerks who run elections in Wisconsin, roughly one-fifth of all the clerks in charge of elections in the nation,21 as well as ensuring immediate retraining of tens of thousands of poll workers. This process is neither easy nor straightforward, see, e.g., Doc. 53-1 at 15, as Act 23 is extremely complex. Clerks and poll workers must learn exactly what forms of ID are acceptable (e.g., only some specialized college IDs, not regular student IDs) and what IDs are not (e.g., Veterans‟ Administration ID), which IDs are valid despite varying permissible expiration dates, and whether and to what extent the name, 20 Act 23‟s photo ID provisions were scheduled to have a “soft implementation” beginning on July 1, 2011, and to not take mandatory effect until the February 2012 low turnout primary. Id., § 144 (2); http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/acts/23 ; Tr. 908. 21  See, e.g., Jason Stein and Larry Sandler, 1850 municipal clerks another complication, J. SENTINEL, http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/119373789.html  These clerks also have a 20-25% annual turnover rate, Tr. 889-90, and thus many were never trained on voter ID. Case: 14-2058& Document: 65-1 Filed: 09/16/2014      Pages: 6215  photograph, signature, or address on the ID has to match voter registration data.22

II. ALLOWING THE SAME ELECTION PROCEDURES TO REMAIN IN PLACE FOR ONE MORE ELECTION DOES NOT RESULT IN IRREPARABLE HARM TO THE STATE 

When weighed against such a substantial risk of election official confusion and disenfranchisement, the error of the panel‟s decision is all the more important because of its failure to consider “whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay.” Nken, 556 U.S. at 434. Other circuits have rejected stay motions when the government has not sustained its burden on this factor. See, e.g., Ohio State Conf. NAACP v. Husted, 2014 WL 4494938, (6th Cir. Sept. 12, 2014) (denying stay where “Defendants did not carry their burden to demonstrate that they will suffer more than a mere „possibility‟ of irreparable harm.”) Id. 

CONCLUSION

It is not too late to avert this impending disaster. GAB Executive Director Kevin Kennedy has stated publicly that his agency would cease efforts to implement this law “if ordered to stop by a court order.”23 For the reasons set forth herein, this Court should so order. Plaintiffs request that this Court reconsider or reconsider en banc its Sept. 12, 2014 ruling and vacate the stay that was issued.

Sep 16, 2014

Crisis Management Requires Straight Talk

Thousands of voters in Wisconsin are divided into discrete classes by the rules implementing the Seventh Circuit's ruling last week, and the classes are treated radically differently by sworn election officials. In a different context the disparity of treatment would constitute electioneering.

The cases are Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker (14-2058), and Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker.

Will Kevin Kennedy, top election bureaucrat, instruct municipal clerks to contact local media and let voters know that their "local Department of Motor Vehicles service centers are open only two days each week, generally for 10 hours?" (Milekski, the Capital Times) Will Kennedy speak to lack of wisdom and questionable ethics of lifting Judge Ademan's injunction last Friday?

That the question Todd D. Milekski's reporting raises in this reader of The Capital Times today:

For residents in 48 of Wisconsin's 72 counties, there are only 14 or 15 days left to secure a photo ID, needed to vote in the general election on Nov. 4.

In those 48 counties, the local Department of Motor Vehicles service centers are open only two days each week, generally for 10 hours, on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday.

With seven weeks left until the general election and the state's voter ID law back in place thanks to a ruling Friday by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the clock is ticking for anyone who needs identification that will allow them to vote on Nov. 4.

No, these residents in the 48 counties referenced won't be given any phone calls from local election officials because the Seventh Circuit just changed the rules of the game, and the GAB is making no moves to help these people with little opportunity to get an ID, not even in rhetoric.

Other voters will be personally contacted and advised of the rule changes, per the GAB.

"For those ballots that have already gone out, clerks will have to contact voters and inform them they need to submit a copy of their photo ID before their vote will be counted. The G.A.B. has developed a communication for clerks to use," the Government Accountability Board's Kennedy said today in prepared remarks.

Elsewhere, Jessica VanEgeren in the Cap Times notes today that almost 12,000 absentee ballots have already been sent out, and to "give an idea of how many residents vote absentee, there were 230,744 absentee ballots cast in 2012 and 664,597 ballot cast in 2012, according to the GAB."

The point here is that the ad hoc scheme the GAB is devising will have major consequences on the election, beyond the fact that voters are treated differently by election officials with the costs potentially being the loss of the franchise.

The costs are high.

Kennedy and others at the GAB should quit playing the 'crats-afraid-for-their-jobs game, stow the boilerplate rhetoric, state how important elections are and that they are imperiled, and how irregular the Court's ruling is on the eve of Election Day.

That the facts of the panel's ruling have not penetrated the Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit is beyond dispute.

Here's a suggested statement for Kennedy for tomorrow:

What we have done is treat voters differently under the laws and regulations of Wisconsin. Yes, there are Equal Protection violations, I mean you cannot have election official favor one class of voters. At fault is U.S. Court of Appeal for the Seventh Circuit' three judge panel and its imbecilic ruling in Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker (14-2058), and Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker.

Don't hold your breath for that ruling; Kennedy is not exactly known for moral courage.

That Equal Protection Thing

I don't think the four Republicans on Wisconsin Supreme Court and the three Republicans on the panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit adjudicating Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker (14-2058), and Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker like their branch of government anymore.

They prefer to morph into a mega entity that makes and carries out laws as well, unequal law at that.

The four Republicans ignored Article Three of the Wisconsin Constitution in the cases shredding any illusion the Wisconsin Supreme Court Republicans are independent, impartial and fair-minded interpreters of the law and the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitution, ignored in its tortured opinion.

As for the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit panel, last Friday it stayed a U.S. District Court's injunction without an opinion, now 21 legal days out from Election Day, in its order in Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker (14-2058), and Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker.

Now, because of the Court panel's order the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board has issued ad hoc rules in effect implementing the panel's order by creating different classes of citizens, presenting obvious 14th Amendment Equal Protection Problems.

Some voters can submit copies of ID by mail (or become disenfranchised), some voters have to show their ID (not copies) when they vote (or become disenfranchised); 100s of voters are being contacted by municipal clerks and staff informing them of the status of election law and rules, if they can be reached.

Other voters get no calls from election officials informing them of the status of election rules.

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The above is what geniuses in American jurisprudence such as Judge Frank Easterbrook refer to as a biggie.

Man, did these guys on the Seventh CircuitEasterbrook, Diane Sykes and John Tinderblow this one.

Wisconsin Chaos—Elections Board: Unequal Protection to Carry out Appellate Court Order

Wisconsin Governmental Accountability Board (GAB) on complying with Seventh Circuit panel's September 12 order: Some voters need copies of photo voter ID; some need photo voter ID and some don't need voter photo ID at all.

The cases are Ruthelle Frank v. Scott Walker (14-2058), and Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker.

One wonders if the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has the faintest clue about what is going on in Wisconsin: Chaos and a state elections board (GAB) ordering unequal treatment for different classes of voters in ad hoc rules changing almost daily.

This is what happens when a clueless appellate court changes the rules on the eve of the election.

Amid confusing and variant rules for one class of citizens who are more equal under the Court-ordered voting regime than others, we note we have all heard of Get Out the Vote (GOTV) projects employed by political campaigns.

Now we have Get Out the ID (GOID), and it is employed by municipal clerks, per the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), amid the confusing Appellate Court-ordered voting regime. Nice work, Easterbrook, Sykes and Tinder.

Although the clown car quality of the panel-imposed voter ID regime is funny in one sense, Wisconsin Act 23 as applied in this ad hoc system presents very unfunny Equal Protection problems.

Wonder if Judge Frank Easterbrook has the integrity to stay his panel's ludicrous order and conclusion (put on the court's docket at 3:54 p.m. last Friday) 53 days out from Election Day, and made before Easterbrook and his colleagues researched the law and facts of this case and before the panel wrote an opinion.

Maybe Easterbrook is thinking about something else.

Thanks to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit panel's order, chaos is the order of the rest of the Wisconsin election.

One class of voter, those 100s who been mailed absentee ballots and sent the ballot back, will now have to present copies of acceptable IDs, whereas the rest of Wisconsin citizens [excepting military and overseas voters who won't need IDs] will have to present real IDs vis a vis copies when they vote in person.

This class of voters followed the rules, and the federal appellate court changed the rules, to the approval of the Republican Party.

Wisconsin Act 23 says nothing about copies of IDs being acceptable.

However, clerks are being urged to actively contact voters and inform them of the new voting rules, rules with which they must comply or be disenfranchised because the rules were changed so late.

"The law is clear that most absentee ballots must be accompanied by a copy of the voter’s ID," said Kevin Kennedy, whose position is not identified on the GAB's Kevin Kennedy's Prepared Remarks on Voter ID for 9-16-2014 News Conference page, so we'll call Kennedy, Executive Director of GOID.

By the way, according to the DMV (implementing Act 23), it may take 14 days for free photo voter ID to be mailed to voters from California, a position Kennedy contradicts when he says, "Voters who do need to can get an ID get a free ID at the Wisconsin DMV office, even if they do not have a birth certificate." Whose right, Kennedy or the DMV?

The DMV phone message advises voters that IDs are not available at the DMV, just the okay for the IDs to mailed from California which may or may not take longer than 14 days. Dial (608) 266-2353 of the Wisconsin DMV, press 3; then navigate the long phone-answering tree, then press one, then listen to this recording: "If you are waiting for a driver license or identification card to arrive through the mail and it has been at least 14 days since you applied, press one now." Not sure what happens then.

Here are Kennedy's remarks:

Let me reiterate what I said on Friday after the court decision came down: We are taking every step to fully implement the voter ID law for the November General Election.

Implementing voter photo ID this close to an election will not be easy, but the G.A.B. and Wisconsin’s clerks are up to the challenge.

This is not the first time local election officials have been called upon to step up and serve the voters in a pinch.  We ask a lot of our local election officials – many of whom are part time—and we appreciate their efforts.

Local election officials and our office will be making extraordinary efforts to ensure that all eligible voters are able to participate in the process and have their ballots counted.

Here is what we’ve done and what we will be doing:

We are training clerks and election workers. 

We have an excellent training staff, and we are leveraging the power of the Internet with webinars and online training videos. 

Clerks and election workers were well trained for 2012, but there has been turnover since then.

We have developed extensive materials for clerks and the public about voter ID which will be posted to our website.

The most pressing problem now is absentee ballots.

The law is clear that most absentee ballots must be accompanied by a copy of the voter’s ID.

We believe several thousand absentee ballots have already been mailed to voters without notification that they must provide a copy of their ID, but we do not have an exact number. 

A few hundred absentee ballots have already been voted and returned to clerks.

On Friday we ordered clerks to stop sending out ballots until we could determine procedures for contacting voters about the need to provide a copy of photo ID.

Today we are providing guidance to clerks about how to deal with these absentee ballots as well as current requests for ballots that have not been mailed.

For those ballots that have already gone out, clerks will have to contact voters and inform them they need to submit a copy of their photo ID before their vote will be counted. The G.A.B. has developed a communication for clerks to use.

For current absentee ballot requests that have been received, clerks will have to contact voters and inform them they need to submit a copy of their photo ID before the clerk will mail their ballot.
Going forward, all absentee ballot requests will have to include a copy of the voter’s photo ID, if required. If it is not included, clerks will follow up and inform them they need to submit a copy of their photo ID before the clerk will mail their absentee ballot.

Clerks will have to send voter ID instructions along with absentee ballots. 

The G.A.B. has developed instructions for clerks to use.

Some absentee voters do not need photo IDs.  These include military and overseas voters. 

In Wisconsin, voters who are indefinitely confined due to illness, age, or infirmity do not need to provide a photo ID with their absentee ballot.

These are the challenges we’re facing: Voters need to be reminded of the basics.

Most voters already have the ID they need to vote. 

These include a Wisconsin driver license, state ID, temporary driver license or state ID receipt from the DMV, U.S. passport, military service ID, tribal ID or certificate of naturalization. Most people do not need to get a separate ID card to vote.

Voters who do need to can get an ID get a free ID at the Wisconsin DMV office, even if they do not have a birth certificate.

The address on your ID does not have to match the address on the poll list.

Your name on your ID does not have to match the poll list exactly.  For example, James works for Jim, Katherine for Katie, etc.  If one has your middle name and the other has your middle initial, that’s OK too.

After Fourteen Days by Mail, Complain When You Cannot Vote in Wisconsin

Update: ACLU-Wisconsin and The Advancement Project announce filing for an en banc (full court) appellate hearing to "protect the voting rights of Wisconsin citizens" amid massive confusion.
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Dial (608) 266-2353 of the Wisconsin DMV, press 3; then long phone-answering tree, then this recording: "If you are waiting for a driver license or identification card to arrive through the mail and it has been at least 14 days since you applied, press one now."

Fourteen days.

That means you have 21 legal days (assuming Jewish Holidays and Halloween are not legal holidays, fair assumption) left before Election Day to get a free a Wisconsin Photo Voter ID mailed to you from California.

Twenty-one days for some 300,000 residents.

Sounds like an undue burden when only one DMV office is open on weekends, and most DMV centers are part-time. According to an amicus brief filed by One Wisconsin Now (in a state case):
41 [DMVs] are open just two days each week, seven are open just a few hours for one day each month, and three are open just one day every quarter.… Only one DMV service center in the entire state of Wisconsin is open on a Saturday. No other DMV in the entire state operates in the evenings or on weekends ...

 If the 330,000 electors [without ID] attempted to obtain their ID during the one-month period preceding the election, the DMV would need to process on average 37 eligible electors each hour, every day of operation for the entire month. (cited by Berman)
Today, Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB) will meet with reporters discuss how they will implement the state's voter I.D. law.

Don't look for a GAB statement saying this is an undue burden and that eligible voters will be disenfranchised. Attorney Mike Haas may be a nice guy but he suffers from spaghetti spine, not a great condition for the Elections Division Administrator of the GAB.

We need an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court from lawyers with a belly, and a spine.

You see if I were in Mr. Haas' position I would issue a public statement that Scott Walker and the Republican Party are trying to stop eligible Wisconsin citizens from voting aided by an oppressive Republican-appointed federal judges who (still seems incredible) order Voter ID reinstated with just 23 legal days to go, 21 now and counting down.

Dream or Nightmare in Central Wisconsin

Glacial Lake Wisconsin -
17,000 years ago
The Central Plain or Golden Sands of Wisconsin is a geological region of some 13,000 square miles of sandstone.

Some 17,000 years ago, the Golden Sands region housed a mammoth ancient lake, the Ancient Glacial Lake Wisconsin.

Today, stunning natural beauty at the site of the Lake makes central Wisconsin a tourism and recreation destination.

The array of natural resources whom the likes of Aldo Leopold and John Muir vowed to protect are threatened today by Big Ag, and the politicians and bureaucrats who do their bidding as Big Ag literally dumps liquid shite into their neighbors' environment.

The Golden Sands region is set to house a world-class golf resort, Sand Valley (Melanie Lawder, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune) that will be sited along the bottom of Glacial Lake Wisconsin, a can't miss recreational and tourism project.

Golf resort designer Mike Keiser says the project that has recently begun construction, a "lovefest" judged by the reception from residents of central Wisconsin.

Keiser better use protection.

The Wysocki Family of Companies is no lover, it's a Big Ag outfit that does NOT seek permission or a show of hands about what to inflict onto a region, doesn't care about natural resources and even less about Keiser's proposed golf resort as Wysocki moves forward on its own "Golden Sands" project almost touching the Sand Valley site.

Sand at the bottom of this ancient glacial lake will make for the innovative design of world-class courses, but sand is susceptible to carrying toxins down to the groundwater, and the problems presented by runoff of liquid cow manure from a proposed Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operation (CAFO) could easily kill this project just as CAFOs are creating Dead Zones in Wisconsin lakes.

The last thing golfers enjoying themselves need to consider are the soil properties of Plainfield Sand, nitrate and E-coli levels.

Bet you Tiger Woods never worries about the stench and health effects of particulate contamination and inhaling ammonia.

This is because no public official in her right mind sites a CAFO next to a golf resort.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources under Scott Walker does, and the degradation of tourism, recreation and natural resources is just another act of corruption as Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans take in a big haul from Big Ag.

"WE DO NOT WANT KEISER TO RETHINK HIS PROJECT!" writes a Town of Rome resident working to stop the proposed Wysocki Golden Sands CAFO that would comprise 7,838 total acres, according to the DNR.

In fact, Mike Keiser's project is presented as exactly the development a region dependent on recreational and development wants, pro-water advocates say, just as CAFOs are precisely the water-polluting, water aquifer-sucking corporate actor the region does not want or need.

Wysocki doesn't care about ancient glacial lakes, dream golf resorts and the legacy of men like Aldo Leopold and John Muir.

Wysocki already has a massive CAFO, the Central Sands Dairy, in the Town of Armenia in Juneau County within miles of the Sand Valley resort and the results have been tragic. ["It was an ammonia smell. It hurt so bad even to breathe. ... Critics also question the ability of the DNR, relying mostly on citizen complaints and self-reporting by the huge dairies, to adequately regulate a practice that has already been shown to pollute waters and drive people from their homes," notes Ron Seely]

Water samples taken around the Central Sands Dairy reveal "(e)vidence ... of substantial contamination in both ground and surface waters." (Kenneth S. Wade Report)

In the shot below taken in a private airplane, the beginning of construction of the Sand Valley Resort is seen in the center-right, with Lake Petenwell/Wisconsin River in the background, a body of water described by one resident as "stench is putrid" due to runoff.

We should be doing everything to attract projects like Mike Keiser's golf resort, and everything to protect our state from Big Ag.

Instead, Scott Walker and the Republicans like Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) are selling us out for political expedience.

Construction just begun at the Sand Valley Resort at center-right
Shot is taken from a plane at 2,000 feet by Adams County residents
worried that Sand Valley and their homes and lakes are threatened
by an environmental predator: The Wysocki Family