County Land Conservation Committee does not recommend CAFO moratorium extension

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 By Gillian Pomplun

 

The Crawford County Land Conservation Committee voted down a proposal to recommend a one-year extension of the CAFO  moratorium to the Crawford County Board.

The vote on the motion, proposed by Farm Service Agency (FSA) representative Bob Standorf, and seconded by Supervisor Wade Dull, failed 3-2 on a roll call vote. County Board Chairman Tom Cornford, who usually doesn’t attend the Land Conservation Committee meetings, was present and cast the vote that avoided a 2-2 tie. Bob Standorf and Wade Dull voted for the motion, and Tom Cornford, Kim Moret and Dave Olson voted against.

In discussion prior to the vote, County Conservationist Dave Troester reported to the committee that almost 40 citizens had participated in a Community CAFO Dialogue the prior week, with no pro-CAFO advocates participating. He told committee members that a request to extend the CAFO moratorium was a “resounding theme.”

Standorf had participated in the Community CAFO Dialogue, and based on that experience, advocated for the one-year extension. He said participants had expressed that they wanted the results of the DAWS water quality study to be completed before submitting a final report from the CAFO Study Group to the county board.

Crawford County Public Health Director Cindy Riniker also expressed support for extending the moratorium for a year.

“We won’t have results from the second round of the DAWS Study until June,” Riniker said. “The work of the study group is just another example of things that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Troester verified that committee members had received the list of 14 agriculture and sportsmen’s organizations that had signed on to a call to extend the moratorium. He said they had also received a memo from an attorney from Midwest Environmental Advocates.

Almost 20 members of the public attended the Zoom meeting, but were not provided an opportunity to make public comments prior to the vote being taken. After the vote, the following comments were made by meeting participants:

A Scott Township resident, “I am disgusted with the decision of this committee today. Your job is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of all county residents, and you failed to do your jobs today. You also failed to safeguard the health of the county’s tax base today. You only have to look at what CAFOs have done to Minnesota and Iowa to see why county residents are concerned. The National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control have both issued advisories about the health impacts of CAFOs.”

Forest Jahnke of Crawford Stewardship Project, “Your decision today has now put the CAFO Study Group’s work on a very tight timeline, and we have barely begun to explore the issues or engage in the necessary discussions. The DAWS Study results will not be available in time for our report. In all of the discussion prior to you taking your vote, I never heard you say anything about what your reasons were not to extend the moratorium.”

Adam Voskuil, attorney with Midwest Environmental Advocates,  “Local governments across Wisconsin have enacted livestock moratoria since the Livestock Facility Siting Law’s inception over a decade ago. Each time a county passes a moratorium, that decision is met with threats of litigation from industry groups. However, those threats are never acted upon because counties have the authority pass reasonable, temporary moratoria under a number of powers, including their general powers (Wis. Stat. s. 59.02) and planning and zoning authority (Wis. Stat. s. 59.69). The decision to extend a moratorium falls under those same authorities. Notably, the sole Wisconsin Supreme Court case relied upon by those opposed to local moratoria, Adams v. Livestock Facility Siting Review Board, does not alter this analysis because Adams did not address moratoria and extending the decision to include moratoria is insincere and inaccurate. Indeed, the Livestock Facility Siting Law recognizes the need of local governments to find scientifically defensible data and outlines a process to extend a permit decision deadline for good cause when the government needs additional information (Wis. Admin. Code s. ATCP 51.32(2)1.). In sum, local governments have long had the authority to pass a livestock moratorium and nothing in state law has amended or rescinded that power.”

Independent-Scout, “You will all have the pleasure of reading a breaking news story in this week’s issue about a study that documents that rainfall definitions for storm events, for example a ‘100-year-storm,’ are shifting, so that for instance the 100-year storm is now becoming the 50-year storm. These definitions are used in designs for manure storage structures, impervious surface analyses, and nutrient management plans, and your committee should factor this into your thinking about these issues.”

Steve Oberle, “Did your committee receive the report from the Community CAFO Dialogue prior to taking your vote?” 

Dave Olson responded that they had only heard a verbal report from Dave Troester prior to voting.

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