In a Green Bay hearing beginning Tuesday, a controversial attempt to expand a dairy farm set to become the fifth largest in Wisconsin will be challenged in a case that could have a far-reaching impact on how Wisconsin regulates industrial-size livestock farms.
Wasted Places is a collaborative investigation by six nonprofit newsrooms into federal and state programs designed to cleanup and redevelop polluted tracts known as brownfields.The project was coordinated by the Investigative News Network, and reported and written by the Connecticut Health Investigative Team, City Limits, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and INN.
The stated goals of the federal government’s Brownfields Program are to fund the cleanup of contamination, to improve the quality of life of blighted communities and to provide economic stimulus. But an investigation by nonprofit newsrooms across the country, coordinated by the Investigative News Network, found problems in every community examined.
While the state has made some progress with the backlog in the past two decades, a “startling” number of plant closings during the recent recession has created “an entirely new generation of brownfields,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Millions of gallons of contaminated groundwater and thousands of gallons of gooey black coal tar lie underneath Ashland’s downtown waterfront. It is by far the thorniest cleanup of an old manufactured gas plant in Wisconsin — both because of the difficulty in cleaning it up, and in finding someone to pay for it.
In the best-case scenario, we’ll be able to eat all the Lake Michigan lake trout we want without worrying about getting cancer from the PCBs — in another 20 years. Less optimistically, we might have to wait until 2046.
News and notes: New tools for monitoring environmental data in Wisconsin; the governor’s campaign contributors favor keeping him in control of DNR; DOJ hosts free seminars on government sunshine; and tax revenue was down last year.