Kinnard Farms Petition DNR

Two attorneys for Kinnard Farms of the Town of Lincoln in Kewaunee County have petitioned Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp to review and modify the Oct. 29 decision by Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt to correct what he deemed “a massive regulatory failure to protect groundwater” from the tons of manure produced at the concentrated animal feeding operation.

The request comes after an attorney from the high-powered Michael Best & Friedrich, which represents the Kinnards, and the Dairy Business Association, publicly stated that Boldt’s decision was a victory for them.

The petition asks that Stepp or her designee suspend and reverse the order that the Kinnards cap the number of animals they have and that the DNR review the groundwater monitoring plan at off-site landspreading locations that the judge ordered.

The petition claims that Judge Boldt “ranged far outside the scope of his legal authority,” and that, “the Secretary now has the opportunity to correct this error and to direct her staff not to comply with these unlawful aspects of the ALJ’s (administrative law judge) order.”

The petition goes on to claim that even if it was within the judge’s purview to impose the standards he called for, it was done “in the absence of reliable evidence.”

The petition claims the grounds for review are that Kinnard Farms is adversely affected by capping its herd at a certain number because the government is forcing limitations on Kinnard Farms and not other CAFOs.”

Requiring the Kinnard Farms to monitor offsite should be reviewed, the petition claims, “because there is insufficient evidence in the hearing record to show that such monitoring is capable of determining whether detected pollutants are attributable to Kinnard Farms’ landspreading,” and because “it is not uniformly applied to Kinnard Farms’ competitors.”

The request was filed on Nov. 18, and the DNR has 14 days to decide whether to review the decision. Assistant Attorney General Tom Desch has been assigned as Stepp’s delegate to review the ruling.