Another step forward in the constant back-and-forth surrounding the placement of a 4,300 daily operation in Adams County, and smelling distance of Coloma, Wisconsin.
As I have stated over and over, the people of this area vote Republican and then complain that stronger environmental laws are not on the books, or ones that would allow for local units of government to have stronger levers to use when a mega-farm wants to set up shop. This area has demonstrated with the candidates they vote for that they do not like ‘big government’. They are now seeing the short-sightedness of their votes, and I must say it is amusing to watch.
Is it good policy to have mega-farms? That is a separate question. The one thing that is clear is the lastest court ruling is a favorable one for Milk Source.
Family Farm Defenders, Friends of Central Sands, Pleasant Lake Management District and some private landowners filed lawsuits against the DNR after it issued permits to Milk Source for the construction of two high-capacity wells on the Richfield property and a Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. The groups consist of property owners from a nearby lake, as well as citizen groups that object to the project.
In a decision issued July 20, Dane County Circuit Judge John Markson ruled the DNR failed to sufficiently evaluate the environmental effects of pumping 131.2 million gallons of water per year. He sent the issue back to the DNR so that officials could provide a “factual investigation of sufficient depth to allow a reasonably informed preliminary judgment and the opportunity for public comment about the environmental and cumulative effects of the high capacity wells operating at 131.2 million gallons per year.”
The DNR analyzed the impact of pumping 52 million gallons of water per year, Harke said. The company plans to submit a request to modify its high-capacity well permit to include an annual cap on the amount of water.
Markson rejected a request to deny the DNR the ability to change the requirements for the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. He also denied a request for a contested case hearing, stating it was a moot issue.
Harke said the judge’s decisions were a good step forward for the process.