• James Saul, environmental lawyer with McGillivray Westerberg and Bender

    Thanks for the excellent coverage, Ron and the team at WCIJ. Well done, yet again.

    I would expect to see the statement you published from the Dairy Business Association, a well-heeled mega-dairy lobbying group who represents predominantly factory farms and loves to pick on small family farms. It has a reputation for aggressive advocacy that ignores science and strives to distract public attention from its members’ pollution problems. Its statement represents an understandable and predictable effort to cast this loss for its member Kinnard Farms in the best possible light.

    I am amazed, however, by the deeply cynical response from DNR spokesperson Bill Cosh, which represents a new low for an agency charged with protecting groundwater quality state-wide. Not only is he supremely arrogant to presume to know what Judge Boldt was thinking as he wrote the decision, but his attempt to shift the blame from the DNR to “county health departments and other regulatory entities” for the widespread groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County is shameless. He should know as well as anyone that only DNR has the necessary authority to regulate CAFOs as well as smaller livestock facilities, and to establish limitations and practices related to water quality and manure disposal. There should be no doubt that the “regulatory failure” and groundwater quality “crisis” Judge Boldt discussed in the decision fall squarely on DNR’s sagging shoulders. Mr. Cosh’s statements are pathetic and, I fear, symbolic of an agency that has abdicated its responsibilities to the public.