Letter to the Editor: Letter to the Natural Resources Board

I have witnessed Wisconsin’s water degradation over an 18-year period as I lived six blocks south of the Wisconsin state line in Warren, Ill. I saw nitrate disclaimer signs appearing in restrooms in Grant, Lafayette, and Green Counties as CAFOs were approved and expanded. Diners, the drive-in movie theater, churches, township halls and gas stations, to name a few. I knew folks who would move to town from their original family farmstead just to have safer municipal water. Pregnant women and bovine drinking high-nitrate levels, assuming their water was pure, would miscarry.

Discharges, spills and accidents with manure and water, are a form of trespass. An over abundance of these “nutrients” don’t stop at the edge of a neighbor’s property. Pollution doesn’t stop at a township, county or state line.

Having permission to discharge, even with a permit, does not make this ok. The scale of industrial animal operations, concentration of manure produced in one location, makes this a crime against nature.

We shouldn’t be expected to compromise our water or hold our breath to accommodate agribusiness over community.

I’m a tourist of Wisconsin. I dreamed of retiring to the Door County area. That would be a foolish thing to invest in now. The idea of no swimming or consuming water, due to contamination, throws a wet blanket on vacations and investing in real estate.

April 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm, my three children and I were victims of hazardous gases as we headed south from the Wisconsin Dells on Highway12 between Baraboo and Prairie Du Sac. Center pivots spraying liquid nutrients made us close windows and speed faster as we searched for air that was not burning our lungs and nostrils. When we got a clean pocket of air, the caustic stench happened again. A service van on the opposite side of the road had pulled over with the driver sitting on the ground using an inhaler. He could not even operate his vehicle.

This past week my husband and I vacationed in Bayfield, Wisconsin. We chose Bayfield County because it has the cleanest water. We can swim, boat, fish, and drink the water, for now.

I am hoping that the good work of the Natural Resources Board to direct the Department of Natural Resources, will pull Wisconsin out of this dysfunctional tailspin before it is too late.

Communities enacting local control to create ordinances that protect human health, property values, and tourism, are beneficial to the DNR. Local control lightens the workload for the DNR to stay on budget.

Local control is a win for citizens and the DNR.


Susan Turner

Dubuque, Iowa

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