News – Wisconsin


DNR released its long-awaited draft CAFO General Permits (GPs) for public comment on Friday, triggering a 60-day opportunity for the public to review the permit terms and conditions and submit comments to the agency.

Use of GPs in lieu of Individual Permits represents a step backwards in the level of scrutiny for CAFOs under the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permitting program.  While the same regulatory requirements will continue to apply under the GPs, the DNR is giving up the opportunity to draft each CAFO permit as needed to protect unique local surface waters.  DNR will also not prepare an Environmental Analysis for each individual CAFO.

DNR has stated that its intentions are to increase staff resources available for CAFO inspections and compliance investigations (which have been abysmal recently) but the agency has not been forthcoming with any new policies or protocols to ensure his happens.  Will this represent another step in the dismantling of the CAFO program?  Contact DNR to make sure the answer is no!

See DNR’s Public Notice to see when and where DNR will hold public hearings on the permits and learn how to submit comments.

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On Friday, April 18, Wisconsin’s Livestock Facilities Siting Review Board (LFSRB) voted unanimously to reverse Crawford County’s decision to issue a license to Roth Feeder Pigs, Inc., for the expansion of a hog operation near the lower Wisconsin River in Wauzeka, WI. Midwest Environmental Advocates had appealed the County’s decision on behalf of 28 neighbors of the facility who had concerns about the threats posed by the expansion to drinking water and public health.

This decision marks the first time the LFSRB sided with environmental interests in a challenge to a local decision under the Livestock Siting Law (and only the third such challenge the LFSRB has heard to date). In its deliberations, the LFSRB expressed confusion over the “internal inconsistencies” found throughout Roth’s application for expansion, and the LFSRB shared the neighbors’ concerns that the land available for spreading animal waste was not nearly enough to protect drinking water.

A press release from Midwest Environmental Advocates is available here.

The LFSRB should issue its final written decision at its meeting on May 16.