Wisconsin Counties Association
2020 Conference Resolution
Offered for consideration this 20th Day of September 2020 by
Enacting a Two-year Moratorium on the New
Construction or Expansion of Existing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and the Establishment of a Large- Scale Livestock Study Committee
WHEREAS, clean water is essential to the health and well-being of all Wisconsin residents, their families, and visitors; and
WHEREAS, clean water is the foundation of a healthy economy and tourism; and
WHEREAS, the state of Wisconsin abides by the Public Trust Doctrine which asserts that all navigable waters in the state shall be held in the public trust; and
WHEREAS, the number of Concentrated Livestock Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Wisconsin has increased dramatically between 2005 and 2020, and the number of CAFOs has more than doubled from 146 to 318; and
WHEREAS, Wisconsin has diverse geologic features from central sands and karst, to red clay, which are all prone to water and air contamination causing decreased property values from the siting of CAFOs with dense animal populations (over 1,000 animal units) and great volumes of waste products; and
WHEREAS, state statute 93.90(2)(a) requires the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to appoint a Technical Committee to review ATCP 51 and make recommendations at least every four years; and such committee convened in 2010, 2014, and 2016 but made no changes to ATCP 51; and
WHEREAS, 25 percent of all CAFOs in Wisconsin are operating under expired WPDES (Wisconsin Pollutant Elimination Systems) general and/or individual permits and the DNR is charged with administering the WPDES permitting process but has, according to the State of Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau in 2016, not administered this program consistent with the Clean Water Act and Chapter 283 Wis. State Statute; and
WHEREAS, the state of Wisconsin is losing traditional smaller farms, including small dairy farms at an alarming rate which is not sustainable for our rural communities, rural character and economies, and seriously impacts the health of our farm families; and
WHEREAS, the siting and operation of industrial agricultural entities may contribute large volumes of fertilizer, manure, phosphorus, nitrates, and bacteria to both surface and ground water that degrades the water resources even when practicing Best Management Practices, and degrades human health, property values, and local revenues through the externalization of the actual costs of the siting, infrastructure investment, and operation of CAFOs.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wisconsin Counties Association, in conference assembled, does hereby urge the State Legislature to enact a two-year statewide moratorium on the permitting of new construction of and expansion of existing industrial agriculture entities known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations of I ,000 animal units or more; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that during this two-year moratorium a Large-scale Livestock Study group be authorized and established composed of scientists, farm groups of all sizes, DATCP and the DNR, and members of citizen groups living near CAFOs. The study committee shall research and analyze all scientific data regarding the impacts of Large-Scale Livestock operations on air quality, ground and surface water quality, human health, and local economies, and who shall also analyze staffing at DATCP and the DNR to determine if it is adequate to promptly and thoroughly process expired WPDES permits and keep up with renewals in a timely manner; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Large-scale Livestock study Committee shall report their findings to the Legislature and Governor within a year of their establishment but before the two-year moratorium timeline has expired.
RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE ACTION:
RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
2020 CONFERENCE ACTION
STEERING COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION:
Move to refer to the Board of Directors.
Aguicullurc, , aud 14111(1 Tse