An administrative law judge says “massive regulatory failure” led to groundwater contamination in a dairy farming region and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must use its powers to prevent further pollution.
In two instances, Wisconsin appears to be violating state laws in its failure to maintain committees and update standards. Critics say this failure also means lost savings for homeowners and taxpayers, reduced accessibility for people with disabilities and increased dangers for building occupants.
“We’ve stopped improving our buildings in terms of health and safety and efficiency,” said Keith Reopelle of Clean Wisconsin.
Many of the building code advisory councils established to advise the state have not met in years, and many state codes have not been promptly updated to reflect contemporary national models. These models, when they exist, are typically updated every three years. This chart presents relevant information in selected code areas. Continue Reading
The growth in large dairies, and concerns about manure disposal from operations of all sizes, have fueled efforts to more tightly regulate their operations or siting. Here’s a partial roundup.
Two weeks ago, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt approved the state Department of Natural Resources’ issuance of permits for a large and controversial dairy farm in Central Wisconsin. But he also reduced the amount of water the farm could pump from proposed high-capacity wells and required the DNR to consider the impact of the withdrawals in conjunction with other, nearby wells — a concept known as cumulative impacts. Continue Reading
A proposal to ban waste spreading in winter and early spring on fields with shallow soil is facing opposition from powerful agricultural interests and questions about its legality. Continue Reading
Despite a huge oversupply of cranberries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected a recommendation to curb cranberry production, citing concerns over possible illegal coordination between the Cranberry Marketing Committee and Canadian growers. Continue Reading