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It has been a busy year with more to come...

With several bad bills moving through the legislature at year’s end, 2016 promises to be a difficult one when it comes to protecting our waters.  We will post news and events such as public hearings on Facebook so stay tuned.

For now, these are the bills we are watching:

AB60 – Senator Frank Lasee and Rep. Jarchow

A direct threat to current Wisconsin water law that would shorten the list of waters protected by the Public Trust Doctrine and allows for significant development activities that impair our waters.

SB239 – Senator Gudex

Allows for existing wells to continue under its original permit forever without any review or regardless of changing conditions.

SB291 and AB477 – Senator Cowles and Rep. Krug

Creates a very selective and confusing process of protection for certain water bodies while ignoring others.  It is cumbersome at best and doesn’t make distinctions truly based on science or facts.

SB72 and AB105 – Senator Miller and Rep. Mason

The best of the bunch it takes a more appropriate approach to ground water management, but being a Democratic bill, doesn’t have a chance unfortunately.

With the exception of Miller / Mason, we at Friends of the Central Sands cannot support these bills as written.

Let’s do all we can to see that these bill don't see the light of day!  Contact your representative today.  You can find your representatives here:

We have a Victory!

Judge Rules DNR Must Consider Cumulative Impacts in Issuing High-Capacity Well Permits

But the DNR is continuing to play a game...

The DNR issued a modified WPDES permit (waste spreading) to the Richfield CAFO without taking into consideration the Judge’s comments in our successful appeal.  You may recall that Judge Boldt’s decision in the WPDES portion of our appeal discussed our request for an Animal Unit cap, i.e. a cap on the number of animal units (cows) Richfield Dairy can put on its property.  This effectively limits the waste the facility can generate.  Judge Boldt agreed a cap was appropriate, and further said: “The Department should establish a sustainable cap on animal units in conjunction with the revised permit reducing the maximum annual pumping in the companion high-capacity well cases.”   Richfield Dairy originally applied for 6,270 Animal Units (AU) or about 4,550 cows and steers.  Well to us this was pretty clear.  Less water = less animals.  After Judge Boldt’s decision came down, Richfield Dairy still asked for 6,270 Animal Units.  Friends of the Central Sand's legal counsel protested to the DNR that this number was too high, given the reduced 52.5 million gallons per year (MGPY) pumping limit, and argued that a cap of 4,279 AU was appropriate based on the dairy’s own documentation.    Well, the DNR has decided to modify the WPDES permit and include a cap of 6,270 AU—just what Richfield Dairy asked for.  The draft permit is here. They did not provide strong justification for their decision, so FOCS legal counsel contacted DNR staff directly.   Our legal counsel was told that the DNR didn’t believe that Judge Boldt actually required the AU number to be tied to the pumping limit.  We obviously disagree.  It’s pretty clear from Judge Boldt’s own words that he intended the AU cap to be tied to the pumping limit, that he wanted DNR to attempt this analysis, and that the expectation was that the AU limit would be lower as a result of the pumping limit.  The DNR couldn’t set a random AU cap and let the Dairy determine how to comply with the pumping limit.

We have requested the Judge to rule on whether this complies with his order.


What is happening to our water?
See these short commercials produced by FOCS

Not Standing Still:  The Degradation of Wisconsin's Water

A short film by FOCS depicting the loss of water in Wisconsin's Central Sands


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