CAFO inspections have dropped considerably. Lack of manpower? Lack of money? Or lack of political will— to actually enforce and regulate the industrial agricultural industry and its waste and pollution?
Here in Kewaunee County we have 16 CAFO’s, 15 dairies and one beef operation, and not nearly enough agency help in monitoring these operations. In fact, Kewaunee County has been without a warden for almost 3 years now.
While the word “protection” is part of these agencies titles [Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture Trade and consumer protection] who is protecting citizenry and the places they call home, the air and water where they live?
Preventing CAFO Water Pollution Not An EPA Priority
FRIDAY, 22 JANUARY 2016 06:00
Inspections continued to decline in 2015.
Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue
A concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), the rectangle in the foreground, is a dark speck on the landscape of Weld County, Colorado. Click image to enlarge.
By Brett Walton
Circle of Blue
“EPA inspections of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have dropped by more than half in the last three years, from 291 in 2012 to 141 last year. Enforcement actions — the fines and criminal charges deployed against the most egregious polluters — fell from 55 to 26 over the same time period. The decline is steady, reflecting a trend and not a one-year anomaly.”
“EPA officials argue that CAFO regulation is difficult, requiring multiple site visits and samples in addition to computer modeling to prove that a violation has occurred. They say that most inspections and enforcement are performed by state agencies. But they recognize that federal budget cuts have reduced the agency’s capacity to oversee large feedlots.”
“Even though the EPA has on paper recognized that factory farms are a big source of water pollution, the agency hasn’t put its money where its mouth is,” Tarah Heinzen, a lawyer with Food and Water Watch, told Circle of Blue.”
Permitting without responsibility, expansions without oversight–affect us all.
Please attend the public hearings in Kewaunee County and have your voice be heard. There are 2 public hearings on Thursday, February 25. From 9-10 am Pagel’s Ponderosa hearing will be held; 1-2pm Heims Dairy LLC. Location: Land and Water department Building in Luxemburg. [Fairgrounds]
If you are unable to attend, please send your commentary to Brad Holtz bradley.holtz@ wisconsin.gov or mail to the Green Bay DNR Regional office, 2984 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay, WI 54313-6727 attention: Bradley Holtz.