At long last, Dr. Crispin Pierce's Monitoring Data Published!
Thank you for all who donated to the community-wide effort to fund these expensive monitors that now bring us some of the first reliable PM 2.5 readings of fugitive crystalline silica dust from the edge of an industrial silica sand mine. Dr. Pierce has just recently gotten his air monitoring research published in the Journal of Environmental Health. Abstract is available now and soon the rest will be. His monitoring indicates that there are indeed issues at times with fugitive silica dust levels going well beyond the standards set by the EPA (WI still has no standards).
Promising affordable monitors for citizens should be available within a year's time, thanks to a collaborative effort branching across many organizations and spearheaded by PublicLab.
Please feel free to contact CSP Co-coordinator Forest Jahnke (firstname.lastname@example.org, or 608-632-2183) for the PDF of the Abstract.
Crawford County Land Conservation Committee Meeting
The latter half of the meeting was the public hearing on the new Crawford Telecom Tower Regulatory ordinance. This ordinance is extremely stripped down due to the state stripping much of our authority through a budget rider and now can only really ensure that an unused tower will be dismantled, and that there will be notice before construction. No more height limits, setback limits, requirement to install other antennae on the tower (incl first responders and emergency teams), or a few other provisions in our “formerly very comprehensive ordinance”, according to Harriet Behar. Forest (lone public commenter) commented on the unfortunate and underhanded removal of local control evident here. Response was positive and it was mentioned that they had been considering a “whereas” speaking to that, but they didn't want to stir the hornets' nest.
For the Conservation Committee meeting CSP report, Forest updated the committee on the progress of the Karst ordinance in Kewaunee County and mentioned again that CSP would be pushing for a study similar to what was done in the NE of the state and that we would welcome any help in that endeavor. Forest then briefed them on the recent MSHA visit to the Bridgeport mine and the 7 violations they had issued. The question was asked if they were running and the Committee was informed that they are running intermittently sometimes for a week straight, then idle for just as long. To close, Forest thanked the committee for the Clean Sweep day on the 31st of October.
Trout Unlimited has contacted the County Con office and asked their opinion and potential cooperation on easements, Dave Troester reported. Vance Haugen spoke strongly in favor of 99 year easements, rather than permanent easements.
The county has 5 landowners under NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program contracts bringing in $90,000 total.
There has also been lots of interest in grazing. Vance (UW Ex) commented on synergistic relationship between Trout Unlimited, Kickapoo Grazing Initiative, and the grazing brokerage (RC&D). Crawford County has the highest % of dairy grazers in the state claims Vance and he thinks with our slopes and 49% forests, this is a very appropriate land use if done well. Iconic Seldom Seen Farm (Ben Logan's place) is now fenced for rotational grazing.
The county aerial cover crop seeding program had 8 participants and there has been positive feedback from all involved. Vance commented on a couple neighboring landowners who called him with concerns based on misunderstandings.
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board Meeting
Mark Cupp congratulated Chairman Don Greenwood on his retirement from Jewell Engineering.
Dredging of Arena boat landing was briefly discussed.
ATC – Mark received mailings from ATC & ITC regarding the transmission line from Dubuque to Madison. Mark was concerned because the included map showed the proposed line going through Spring Green area which he was told was off the table. He tried to get a hold of someone at ATC but was unsuccessful so he went to a public meeting and asked about it. Mark was told that this was indeed off the table but ATC has to show alternatives in their study area. Their preferred route is along Hwy. 151/18. Mark said that the LWSRB is now on record that they are against the Spring Green line. Another transmission line project that is further down the road would go through Muscoda and Avoca to Gotham which will require a new power line cut therefore a permit will need to be issued by the LWSRB, however, this is still off in the future.
Board briefly discussed the success of their 25th anniversary celebration. They were pleased with the turnout.
Pattison Sand permit, nothing to report. The LWSR attorney and Pattison’s attorney are communicating and the ball is in their court. Mark will now focus much of his attention on getting the state statute changed to ban frac sand mining in the Riverway. Mark plans to have an outline and a draft for the board at their next meeting. He will be working closely with the staff of Senator Erpenbach and Senator Schultz as well as the WI Legislative Reference Bureau in drafting the statue change.
Ron Leys was asked what was happening with the Prairie du Chien rail load out building. Ron said that the city attorney determined that the land that the rails are on is owned by the state and Wisconsin Southern Railroad (WSOR) leases the rails. In the lease agreement it states that all local ordinances and zoning must be followed. WSOR and Pattison were told by the city that the building of the facility violated city zoning. No answer or action from WSOR so far. Building has not taken place.
It has been 50 years since the Wild Rivers Act was passed unanimously by both houses in 1965.
During public comment a Mr. Dieter presented a project that he began working on by accident in August and has now turned over to the Ho-Chunk. White Oak trees were pruned and shaped hundreds of years ago to mark Indian trails. Mr. Dieter has discovered some in SW Wisconsin, 1 in Crawford on a ridge near Ferryville, 1 in Vernon, and 2 in Richland. He plans to have an article in the local newspapers on this and hopes that hunters and others in the woods will look for more of these trees. He did not want to give exact locations out of fear the trees would be harmed. He had pictures of the trees available to look at after the meeting. Also, Mr. Dieter said Prof. Evan Larson from UW Platteville is gathering info on white oak trees in SW Wisconsin, researching their tree rings to gather historical data on droughts. White oak trees live hundreds of years, often 400+.
MSHA Cites Pattison for Seven Violations at Bridgeport Mine
Pattison Sand Company continues their legacy as the non-metallic mining company with the most violations in the nation. On Tuesday, October 7th, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) paid a visit to the Bridgeport Mine. The report on their website lists the following rules as having been violated.
MSHA found issues with:
Proper training records
Notice of commencement and closing
Roll-over protection structures and seat belts
Material Safety Data Sheets
First Aid Materials
The actual cause of the violations, however, is not listed, nor will MSHA voluntarily disclose them, so CSP is following up with a Freedom of Information Act Request to obtain this information. We believe the public has a right to know what is happening out of sight, behind the berm blocking view from Hwy 60.
As the mine is listed as operating “intermittently”, this means that MSHA will only visit once per year. We are not satisfied with this level of monitoring of a potentially hazardous activity. There has already been documented sediment runoff due to inadequate berming and drainage systems and now we learn that the berms are once again in violation. There have already been issues with the access road, with truck traffic backing up cars on highway 60, and now we learn that MSHA has determined the access to be unsafe.
There are so many questions that must be answered here. What exactly is making these things unsafe/inadequate? How can this be addressed? How will we know if these and other issues have been fixed? What is the timeline for adressing these issues?
Crawford Stewardship Project is dedicated to finding as many of these answers as possible, informing the public and policy-makers, and to the best of our abilities, ensuring that issues are addressed to protect the health and safety of the citizens and environment.
WI Farmers Union Meeting
Forest, Edie, and Connie Champnoise met at Dancing Waters with David Wright-Racette, the new Policy Organizer for Wisconsin Farmer's Union. The meeting went really well and we continue to be impressed and happy with the WFU (and they with us!)
The Farmer's Union formed around fair market access, promoting farmer cooperatives and the like, and are therefor a very different organization from, say, the Farm Bureau. They have a diverse membership (“anyone interested in food and/or ag”) and their democratic prioritization process has pushed frac sand mines and high-capacity wells to the top of the pile, along with CAFOs and farm consolidation. They wish to collaborate on these issues with grassroots groups like us because we know the folks on the ground, while they have connections in Madison.
WFU has a WI Food Hub Cooperative Initiative in its 2nd year.
They plan on having a 2nd part to the Powers economic study study which has been so helpful. They are thinking of using Steve Deller (ag economist) as their researcher.
They will be putting on a public forum on the recent high cap well ruling (DNR must take cumulative impacts into account) and various surrounding states methods of regulation.
David reminded us to be aware of the influence of the American City County Exchange (ACCE), the new local municipality-based branch of ALEC. Their mission statement: “The Mission of American City County Exchange is to advance limited government and free market principles in local government through model policies, conferences and online collaboration.”
He also informed us that Michael Kolz is the new head of the WI Towns Association (a very well respected association and key to our successes in rebuffing state preemption of local control). They will be feeling him out over the next months to see where he stands on issues. Concern was expressed that only elected officials can call in to the WI Towns Association and get information on legality of ordinances and other municipal advice.
It was really great having Connie at the meeting and getting a recap of what our allies to the East have been up to. Apparently things have slowed down for them since passage of their county zoning update, though Connie sees the Reedsburg Spur (in the process of being purchased/upgraded by state of WI and operated by WSOR/Watco) as very concerning as it may open up NE side of Richland County to frac sand mining.
25th Anniversary of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
Forest volunteered his time for this surprisingly large event in Spring Green and listened to Dale Schultz, Spencer Black, Tommy Thompson, and many others pontificate about their work in creating the Riverway. Riverway Board Chair Don Greenwood played a few choice songs about rivers including “Paradise”. Both Mark Cupp and Don Greenwood spoke powerfully about the need to protect the Riverway from frac sand mining and got good responses from the audience (majority were seemingly Madisonian upper-crusties with a smattering of Riverway advocates and landowners). Lots of good educational materials were available and it was a decent networking opportunity.
LWSR Board Meeting
Forest attended the meeting in Wyalusing State Park. Not much was said on the their lawsuit, as they are still under a gag order while things are sorted out and clarified as to what exactly being forced to sign the permits would look like.
There have been issues with the Arena boat launch and it either needs to be dredged or abandoned for another spot as so much sand has piled up. It is on a bend that tends to accumulate sand. Comments were made about that being the shifting nature of the river, Mark Cupp pulling out an old quote, “The Wisconsin River is a fickle jade upon which no reliance can be placed. A pilot of one season will scarce recognize her the next.” Most seem to agree that 15 years is about all that can be expected of a boat landing.
The board continues to plug away at their master plan. They had a brainstorming session for organizations and agencies who they considered partners and collaborators ans stakeholders in their mission.
There was a lot of talk by the DNR of a pine plantation that looks terrible right now and that will eventually be managed for oaks. Forest was as usual a bit put off by how much our “natural areas” are referred to as “plantations”.
Crawford County Land Conservation Committee Meeting
Forest reported briefly on the developments at the loading site and on the exciting (long overdue) proposed karst ordinance in Kewaunee County. He referred the committee to Dave Troester, whom he had already communicated with about this and had sent the articles and the ordinance itself.
The committee approved and passed along an ordinance regulating telecom towers (though the county authority here is extremely limited).
SouthWest Badger RC&D gave a report on their activities and funding. Funded mainly be grants with anywhere from $100 - $2500 from counties in their area, their projects include: an ash tree survey (still funding left for one or two more small communities); aquatic and terrestrial invasive species tracking, education, and some elimination; help with woodlot improvement; and promotion and help with transitioning back to a grazing-based (esp. rotational) system for animal agriculture.
Dave and Karyl have been busy setting up the aerial seeding of cover crops project and are hopeful for its success. It was reported that Crawford County has the most cover crop contracts and $ in the state!
CSP Water Quality Monitoring
Water monitoring of Boydtown Creek and Fred’s farm was done on Aug 20. Deb and Bill Hiller, and Kathy and Paul Byrne sampled. Kathy reports that the conditions on Boydtown Creek are worse (algal growth) than she has seen them in the past.
Lab tests showed once again a continuation of elevated levels of e-coli with the unnamed tributary site now at 10,000 and Paul and Kathy’s at 780. The unnamed tributary continues to have elevated phosphorus levels as well and the nitrogen levels were at their highest reading yet although still below limits. Due to scheduling conflicts and weather the Wisconsin River sites were not monitored in August. Jane is looking into options on how CSP monitoring can be more effective.
Prairie du Chien City Council Meeting
Forest attended this meeting show support for the afflicted neighborhood and to get the report on the results of the dust swab sampling the city had conducted in three residences near to the loading site, the loading site itself, and the hospital. City Administrator Aaron Kramer stated the obvious conclusion of the test that “there is no clear indisputable evidence that the sand in residential areas is coming from the Pattison Sand loading site.” How could there be with such a test?! Levels of silica ranged from between 1-5% of the dust in homes. The dust sampled from the sand loading elevator hood contained 60% silica (“angular fractured fragments”), 15-20% unidentifiable crystals of some sort, and 20-25% “particles that measure less than 2.5 microns in size and are difficult to resolve by polarized light microscopy”.
So based on a one-time test of a small handful of homes analyzed without the ability to distinguish the smallest and most dangerous particles, Aaron Kramer suggested that no more action in this realm was needed. Forest bit his tongue and kept his questioning to clarifying questions about the methodology of sampling, and did not comment on the gross inadequacy of this test. In retrospect he wishes he had.
Before the meeting began, Aaron approached Forest and handed him a printout of an e-mail update from Ken Lucht to him stating that as of August 19th the WSOR had:
“Secured 2/3 of the required wetland mitigation credits.
Submitted completed application materials to WDNR (currently being reviewed)
Submitted completed application materials to ACOE (currently being reviewed)
Obtained approval from Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission
Obtained approval from Wi DOT
Gained support from the Wi Manufacturers and Commerce
and are now in our 5th week of delay as we work through details with the WDNR and ACOE”
Aaron simply told Forest this was public information and went and took his seat.
Wauzeka CAFO DNR Update
On the call were Steve Oberle, Forest Jahnke, Shawn Esser, Andrew Craig, Mark Cain, and Andy Morton. Andrew Craig expressed that the purpose of the call was to improve communication between the DNR and Crawford Stewardship Project so we could all most effectively use our time. They suggested meeting quarterly to share information and address concerns! As new NMPs are due on March 31st of each year and spreading reports for previous crop year are due January 31st, it was suggested those (or slightly after to give Roth some leeway for being late as he often is, might be good times to meet.
When asked how they thought their communication with Roth was, he said “I don't think we have a problem communicating with Mr Roth at all... I think we have good communication regarding these issues.”
Information was shared on the new SNAP Plus 2 program and details on how the WPDES forms and nutrient crediting systems work that was a bit over my head, but seemed to be helpful for Steve.
If soil samples are out of date, then P levels are set at 101ppm P and field must be managed accordingly (read: can still spread, but must be managed so that P levels are decreasing).
When the sheer quantity of animals and the small amount of acres was brought up, the DNR responded that nothing in WPDES permit that says that they must maintain a certain acres/animals ratio and that there are really no enforcement options there, though they have and will continue to ask Roth to find more acreage.
Shawn pointed out pages 54 + 55 of the NMP, which show that Roth is not even using all the land he has, and he has actually been spreading more manure his pigs are producing (from abandoning the old manure lagoon). It seems the reason we are seeing this nutrient buildup in some fields is that they are simply the closest and easiest and he does not feel like hauling to other fields.
What the DNR can enforce is the conditions in the NMP, namely: No spreading on fields over 200ppm Phosphorous, fields must remain below 6 Phosphorous Index (another way of measuring), and fields from 100-200ppm P must be spread upon at 50% of crop uptake, so they will be drawn down. When asked about the possibility of being granted exceptions to being over 200ppm P (which the DNR can grant at their discretion), Shawn Esser said that exemptions are rarely approved and he does not see any circumstance here where exemption would be granted.
When Karst features were brought up, Andy Morton said that in 2009 these were addressed based on the Soil Survey for the farm and that anywhere where there is less than two feet of soil over a karst feature, spreading is prohibited. He said that the farm's current maps include such features. That he knows of, there are no county-wide karst surveys of karst features.
Forest brought up concerns that it was a bit disconcerting that spreading was allowed on sinkholes with two feet of soil on top of it and that this constituted a direct pathway for pollutants – like those that we have been finding through our monitoring program – to enter the water table. This was the first time they had heard of our monitoring results and surface water issues and they did not know who Kurt Rasmussen was. Shawn Esser would like to see our monitoring results, though it was mentioned that if we provided this to him, it would go into Roth's file (where Roth would have access to see it). This was mentioned as a precaution to us by Andy Morton, though it seems more like an added benefit to Forest.
They also admitted that the spreading restriction maps are sadly outdated (though they didn't seem overly concerned about it, saying that the restricted fields were obvious from the tables and charts) and said they would follow up and ask for updated maps.
Putting them on the spot, at one point Steve asked, “If we hadn't done our review, would you have been aware that there were 11 fields over 200ppm P?” To which Andrew Craig answered surprisingly, “We may not have.” It seems as though some NMPs don't even get looked at! Our scrutiny here is key in keeping the rules and regulations enforced.
WDNR Public Hearing on Surface Water Quality
Jane participated in DNR-run webinar for public participation in the DNR's triennial review of surface water standards. She was unable to stay on the webinar to ask questions, but was able to send our concerns via email. She later followed up with a phone call to the webinar moderator, Ashley Beranek, to go over our concerns and our top three picks for standards topics (see our FB page or Weekly News and Actions).
She was happy to hear that quite a few people had taken the survey. The deadline for the survey is August 7.
Jennifer Shilling at Viroqua HS
Though conversation revolved mostly around depressing trends in the Wisconsin public educational system and what was being done to further exacerbate those issues by the legislature, Forest did manage to ask about the potential for state preemption over local regulation of FSM coming up through the budget. Jennifer confirmed that this is also what she has heard, and though she considers it despicable, this is something she sees all the time when things are too unpopular to pass on their own merits. Forest also spoke with her about the best way to influence legislators (specifically Lee Nerison) and she said that it depends on if it is an election year or not, but generally petitions are effective if they have enough signatures, individual (especially hand-written) letters carry much more weight individually, and face to face conversations are ideal. She said that if she gets even five letters on a topic, it is seriously on her radar.
LWSR Board Meeting (Forest and Jane attended)
Little to report, as they went into closed session to discuss legal matters.
The Board continues to search for agencies, universities, etc who will do a study of the economic impact of tourism in the riverway area. Houses and railings need to be the right colors, steep slopes need to be logged, there is a patch of oak wilt to take out, Big Valley Ranch (a dude-ranch in Iowa Co) is expanding, the river flow is down, the voyageur canoe trips have been great... Timm Zumm (FLOW) presented an idea to develop a sort of PFD library system with a place at every landing for folks to take/leave free floaties. Forest commented briefly on the PdC Loading operation and gave Mark Cupp a copy of our comments.
We have heard no indication of whether or not they will appeal Judge Day's June ruling.
CSP/Humane Society Meeting
After a great extended staff meeting, Kathy, Jane, and Forest Met with Melissa Tedrowe (HSUS Wisconsin State Director) and Eric Swafford (HSUS Director of Rural Outreach and Development) both of them are right on message and fully realize the negative associations they carry in these and other parts. Eric is sent across the country, setting up “agricultural councils” by briefing farmers on the wider issues holding them down and helping them organize some form of making a living without exploiting the land, the animals, or serving one of the multinational corporations that have taken over animal agriculture. This involves setting up collective forms of buying, selling, slaughtering/butchering, processing, distribution, value-added, etc as well as developing certification systems for humane/sustainable which all allow farmers to get more money (and more stable income) for their product.
The conversation we had with them was a great continuation of the staff conversation leading up to that of how on earth to move agriculture away from current destructive methodologies (and not just mitigating the worst abuses and putting out fires as they arise). HSUS is ready to help us whether that means opposing CAFO start-ups (Eric reaffirms the rumors, reports, and our fears that this area is slated for big hog facilities) or doing more proactive work of devising alternative structures under which agriculture can be profitable. Eric is even willing to fly out again (it sounded like for free...) to help us when we are ready. The staff feels as though these could be very beneficial to look into how we can facilitate these alternative systems, whether this is under the HSUS banner, or another group, or something completely novel.
We also hear from other sources that swine farm expansions are or will be happening in SW Wisconsin, esp Grant County. The industry is starting to catch on to certification programs as a value-added commodity and are requiring their own certifications that do not necessarily benefit the wider community. We are looking into these with the help of HSUS. A Missouri swine farmer is also part of the HSUS effort, Joe Maxwell. We need to move on this issue sooner rather than later, as expansions are in the works and the contracts with growers aren’t much better than they used to be. We may be able to involve UW Richland and Platteville in presenting information to farmers.
Crawford County Land Conservation Committee meeting
Jane and Ellen attended
Items of interest to CSP: Discussion of farm that went out of business after using funds to develop nutrient management plan. Discussion of new earthen pit for manure storage at farm in Eastman/Seneca area milking about 220 cows; LCC oversight. Interesting cover crop project with EQIP funding; aerial (plane) seeding of cover crop, including radish, on soy fields. For soil conservation and livestock forage. 7 contiguous farms will likely be participating.
Mississippi River Region Planning Commission Open House
The MRRPC is in the process of developing a 20 year regional comprehensive plan which they plan to approve a final version of in October. They are currently holding open houses to inform and gather information from the public.
Forest was one of two attendees at the open house in Westby and he talked with Dave Bonifas (Community Development Planer) for well over an hour about many regional issues. Dave was filled in on our activities, given our recent updates (on mining and factory farming), our last two newsletters, and a 2014 frac sand map. Dave knows a ton (he is the only other person Forest has run into that knows about the price of propane spiking in the area due to the pipeline shift from propane to fracking fluid), but was not very aware of the situation in Prairie du Chien and was rather taken aback especially with the recent developments.
Apparently in La Crosse the city is really fighting the new tracks with everything they can muster and BNSF has not declared preemption.
Aside from how sadly outdated the frac sand mine map they had was (forgivable), there was a ton of really quality information displayed. Demographic info, ecological info, economic info, opinion surveys... truly a wealth of information, all of which is on their website and much of which is broken down by county and some even by township.
Bridgeport Recall Round 2
It was another poor turnout in the Bridgeport recall against Rodney Fishler. Out of a total of 215 voters - 138 went for Flansburg and 77 for Fishler. Yes, Allan Flansburg who has had test holes bored and is negotiating with Pattison Sand to have his land mined. We once again have a fully hostile Bridgeport Town Board to deal with (if we decide it is worthwhile to continue dealing with them). BCC folks are putting on a very brave face and it sounds like they will have another shot at it come April.
PdC Common Council Meeting (Proposed Resolution in Opposition to Pattison/WSOR Loading Operation)
The meeting was well attended and five of eight of those who spoke during public comment section were in opposition to the operation (the three who spoke for it includes Ken Lucht, spokesman for WSOR, Kyle Pattison, and a Pattison employee) and in favor of the resolution prompted by Ron Leys which stated that the Common Council was opposed to the loading operation where it was and asked that it be moved. In CSP's comments, Forest thanked the council for entertaining the resolution, but urged further action, stressing that the Surface Transportation Board must be asked to make an official ruling as to whether preemption applies or not.
When the resolution came up, Ron Leys presented the resolution in a rather defeatist fashion and from then on, it was all downhill. Several council members voiced their opinions that the resolution was a political stunt and not really an answer and did not fix the issue, so they opposed it. The end vote was 6 against and 4 for the resolution (Leys, Thein, Hayes-Hall [new guy], and Fleshner).
City Administrator Aaron Kramer briefly described the rather slapdash air sampling that the city had undertaken for a day (two houses on Overview Ct, one on S Beaumont, and a couple samples from the operation itself). Air monitors were mentioned, but deemed too expensive to buy. Aaron said he would ask Pattison if he was willing to set up monitors on his own dime, but didn't give much hope that that would happen. CSP Staff will check up with the lab doing the analysis and see what they have to say about the sampling process, the results, and what that will mean, rather than having Aaron Kramer interpret what they said to us.
Since the meeting, staff has been rooting around for permits and ownership and preemption clarifications from the WiDOT and WDNR. On a tip from a supporter, we discovered that the WSOR has declared preemption (the first this has been officially declared, not just threatened) to the WDNR, saying, essentially, that though the permits to build were not issued yet, they were going to go ahead and start because they didn't feel like they even really needed the permits. The DNR seems more upset about this than the city, and we have heard that they are even considering an injunction.
We also learned in an e-mail from Aaron Kramer that Pattison received another NON on June 12 for not keeping track of (or likely doing) visual emissions checks at the loading site from Myron Smith, the new air compliance guy out of LaCrosse.
July Frac Sand Mining Update
Kathy has continues to be in contact with Roberta Walls of the DNR on Pattison’s containment breach and stormwater issues in Bridgeport. Roberta made a site visit at the Bridgeport mine on June 6. Kathy requested and received Roberta’s inspection report. Roberta feels they are doing a good job addressing the issues but it isn’t clear on whether this will prevent future runoffs. The DNR is limited in what it can do and require.
Bridgeport Recall Election
BCC did not manage to unseat either John Karnopp or Mike Steiner. The loss was by a wide margin (nearly two to one...) Election monitors were in attendance to ensure no foul play.
Hearing on SB 632/AB 816
Despite the ridiculously short timeline we were given to understand and prepare ourselves for this newest assault by the State Legislature on local control, Forest Jahnke and Edie Ehlert drove to Madison to testify in front of both the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining, and Revenue and the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economy and Mining. No doubt the speed at which this bill is being pushed forward has something to do with how effectively we fended off SB 349, and Senator Tiffany and the industry may have been hoping this time there would be no public to deal with. However, well over 30 concerned citizens spoke out powerfully in opposition to the bills, once again outnumbering those in favor representing the industry. Again, all who spoke for the bills had financial ties to the industry, while those who spoke out against came from a place of deep love and concern for the land and their fellow citizens. We are sorry more of you couldn't make it out this time. We can only hope our comments will be heeded once again and that our local governments will be allowed to continue protecting the health, safety, and well-being of the communities they represent and are part of. We have already made great strides with the Towns Association, which was initially neutral on this legislation, has now unanimously voted to switch to opposing the bills! Thanks to all who contacted their local representatives and thanks to all who came out Monday to speak their truth!
Thanks to Wisconsin Eye, you can access the entire hearing here (those of us who are neither government officials nor industry representatives are at the tail end of things):
Let's keep the pressure up!
Read CSP's comments here -
CSP Receives $4,000 from RESIST
Crawford Stewardship Project would like to thank RESIST for their generous grant of $4,000 to continue our project of empowering local communities for environmental justice. RESIST funds “organizations that are actively part of a movement for social change and demonstrate an understanding of the connections among oppressions” and has funded many influential organizations over the years viewed as too far outside the mainstream to qualify for most non-profit funding from the United Farm Workers to the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.
RESIST funds 100 organizations across the United States every year. “Most of our grantees reach across issues to connect communities and struggles. Their work spans anti-militarism, prisoners' rights, community organizing, GLBTQ justice, environmental justice, antiracism, disability rights, youth organizing, Native Peoples' rights and more. Since our founding in 1967, RESIST has awarded $5.5 million to nearly 5,200 dedicated progressive groups across the US. We rely 100% on the generosity of private individuals.”
To help this venerable group keep granting to great organizations (like us!) please consider donating:
CSP receives $5000 from Wisonsin Communities Fund
After merging with Forward Community Investments, Wisconsin Communities Fund took a year to restructure, but are now back at doing what they do best: supporting Wisconsin non-profits working for positive social change who are too new, too small, or too controversial for mainstream non-profit funding. Crawford Stewardship Project is once again grateful for the generous financial support of Wisconsin Communities Fund and would like to congratulate our fellow grantees:
Hmong American Friendship Association, Inc. – Hmong Youth Empowerment
Milwaukee Transit Riders Union – Enhancing Outreach: Engaging and Empowering Riders to Drive Home Change for Milwaukee County Transit
Native American Educational Technologies – HELP Protect Our Water Our Life
Reproductive Justice Collective – Integrated Voter Engagement
Sustainable Fox Valley, Inc. – Neighborhood Partners
Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health – Ask. Learn. Vote! Campaign
Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Inc. – Race to Equity
Wisconsin Jobs Now – Raise Up Wisconsin Leadership Program
Workers' Rights Center – South Central Wisconsin Wage Theft Mitigation Program
Help grow the pool of funds available for social justice grant-making in Wisconsin by donating to WCF
Crawford County Votes Unanimously in Support of Local Control
We are happy to report that as of December 17th, Crawford County has joined the ranks of counties, townships, and villages who have passed resolutions against Senate Bill 349. The resolution against SB 349 was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors after a presentation by Crawford County Conservationist Dave Troester who had been a part of adapting LaCrosse County's resolution for Crawford County in the Land Conservation Committee. “It would be a shame if all the time and money we spent on creating local ordinances were for naught,” Dave commented, noting that in his experience these were popular ordinances that local municipalities thought were important to protect the health, safety, and economy of their districts.
Crawford Stewardship Project couldn't agree more and we applaud our Crawford County Board of Supervisors for speaking out against the state's attempt to strip away local powers of self determination.
Let's keep this momentum going and keep adding to the resistance to this undemocratic bill before the State Senate takes it up again! Keep up the pressure on your state representatives, county government, and town and village governments to oppose this bill. And don't forget to thank those brave enough to stand up for our rights!
Crawford Stewardship Project Awarded MoveOn Minigrant
Crawford Stewardship Project co-coordinator, Forest Jahnke, has been selected as one of a hundred MoveOn Fracking Fighters in the US, further expanding Crawford Stewardship Project's reach into ever-wider networks of active citizens. Besides a $500 mini-grant, which is always appreciated, we look forward to receiving a number of tools to add to our toolkit as well as some trainings and networking which will allow us to coordinate and collaborate with other groups nationwide. Our struggles are too interconnected for us to work in isolation of each other. We hope to contribute our unique voice to this growing movement for sustainable solutions to our interconnected problems.
For those of you unable to catch Forest Jahnke, Kyle Pattison and others interviewed on Frac Sand mining on Q94 Great Country on November 26, 2013: audio
Crawford Stewardship Project attended the hearing, lobby-day, and rally to do what we could to put a stop to SB 349 which would strip local governments of the ability to regulate mining through anything but zoning. The hearing went on for nine hours and many important voices never had the chance to speak before they had to leave. The rally and testimony from those affected by mines in their neighborhoods was as powerful and moving as the rest of the hearing was uninspiring. The bill appears to have been beaten back until Spring or at least January, but we must remain vigilant and continue pressuring our representatives at all levels, lest it come back slightly tweaked and with more support.
If you didn't get a chance to tune into the Chris Moore show and hear CSP's Edie Ehlert speak on a panel discussing frac sand mining and fracking, don't worry. Here is the archived link:
We are sorry to report that the Bridgeport Town Board voted 2 to 1 against an administrative hearing for the Plaintiff's who filed a lawsuit against the Town for the decision to give a permit to Pattison Sand with virtually no conditions. News release on the decision follows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6VyF6hexQA
8/22 LWSRBoard Meeting
The Lower Wisconsin Riverway Board denied the four sand mining permits within the State Riverway in Bridgeport Township (6 against, and 2 for). They voted for the Riverway, the people, and for the intent of the law. We applaud the board members for their courage and thank all those who helped us to overflow the city hall and give a more inspiring vision for our River than the one Kyle Pattison has.
8/21 Lawsuit Filed
On August 21, CSP and Bridgeport Plaintiffs issued a legal challenge of the Bridgeport Town decision. That challenge does not stop the mine from proceeding at this time. The basis of the lawsuit is that the town failed to follow it's zoning, failed to address questions from citizens, failed to put any conditions on the permit, and there are concerns of conflicts of interest with some of those who made the decisions.
April 21, 2013
CSP's Edie Ehlert speak on a panel discussing frac sand mining and fracking.
on the Chris Moore show (Pittsburgh). Here is the archived link:
April 10, 2013
Crawford Stewardship Project was awarded the Citizen-based Monitoring Awardfor group Effort
at the Monitoring Conference held this last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Of course, it is only because of the dedication of our water monitors that we are able to do this work. Thanks for all you do! Please see the news release below for more information on the award. If you would like more information on becoming a water monitor please see the article below on training dates.
April 12, 2013
Pattison Sand Frac Sand Mine Permit Passed in Bridgeport Township
Bridgeport Township Planning Commission and Board passed the Pattison Sand frac sand mine in March. Crawford Stewardship Project, Bridgeport Concerned Citizens, and Friends of the Lower Wisconsin are seeking legal review of the permit from attorney Glenn Reynolds of Reynolds & Associates of Madison, WI.
Kewaunee Cares Launches New Billboard Campaign
New Photos available of sand mines in Chippewa County.
Crawford Stewardship Project is co-sponsoring a public discussion on silica sand mining with the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library on June 23, 2012
. Speakers will present information on the issues that affect citizens including health, safety and quality of life. For information...
April 17, 2012
Crawford County Board Passes 6 Month Moratorium on
Silica Sand Mining. More....
April 6, 2012 Crawford County Copper Creek High Capacity Well Information Update
February 4, 2012 Save Copper Creek
Dr. Long has decided to proceed with the test well near Copper Creek. This Wisconsin State Journal article was printed in the La Crosse Tribune and covers this development: http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/crawford-well-plan-moves-forward/article_3c05704a-3f32-11e1-8720-0019bb2963f4.html
Attorneys and scientists will be monitoring the test well operation on behalf of our organization. We will keep you informed.
Crawford Stewardship Project
has been awarded a $3,200 grant by Wisconsin Community Fund to use to work on the sand mining issue and sustainable development in Crawford County,
August 15, 2011
Crawford Stewardship Project has been awarded a $4,000 grant
by RESIST, Inc., a national progressive foundation based in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Karst Identification Workshop, 10:00-2:00. Join Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo for this free presentation and discussion of karst geology
. Field trip to nearby karst features. Bring your own bag lunch, beverages provided. Co-sponosored by Crawford Stewardship Project, 608-735-4277 and the Soldiers Grove Public Library, 608-624-5815
July 13, 2011
Letter to DNR - Comments on the “Comment Summary and Response Related to a Proposed High Capacity Well Near Mount Sterling, WI
"On behalf of the 900 supporters of Crawford Stewardship Project, I am registering our opposition to granting approval of the high capacity well proposal of Darrell Long in Utica Township. Our opposition is based on the comments made by hydrogeologist Bob Nauta and the lack of study on effects on fish and other habitat of Copper Creek." Read more...
July 13, 2011
Comments to DNR Wasau on the proposed Richfield Dairy CAFO owned by Milkscource
June 24, 2011
Update on High Capacity Well from Save Copper Creek.
June 11, 2011
Karst Workshop with Dr. Kevin Rudolfo - free presentation and discussion of karst geology. Field trip to nearby karst features.
Read report. . .
June 7, 2011
A group of local citizens has formed an organization called "Save Copper Creek" to fight a proposed high-capacity well in the Town of Utica. A resident of Lima, Ohio, Dr. Darrell Long, has asked the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to approve the drilling of a well on his property just west of Mt. Sterling and within 500 feet of the North Branch of Copper Creek, a Class I trout stream. The pump would have a pumping capacity of as much as 500,000 gallons per day. Fifty to 100 tanker trucks could be filled daily and the bulk water would be trucked away and sold.
Save Copper Creek will be affiliated with the Gays Mills umbrella organization, Kickapoo Cultural Exchange, which is a 501 (c) 3 organization; thus, donations to Save Copper Creek are tax deductible.
Save Copper Creek welcomes concerned citizens to become involved in the organization. Inquiries can be made to Bob Van Hoesen, 18641 Gays View Road, Gays Mills, WI 54631, or at 735-4117 or email@example.com. Donations can be made out to "Save Copper Creek" and sent to the above address.
May 13, 2011
CSP sent a Letter to the DNR about Proposed High Capacity Well
May 10, 2011
A High Capacity Well is being proposed by Mr. Darrell Long for the North Branch of Copper Creek in Utica Township.
Crawford Stewardship Project representatives and neighbors met by phone with Mr. Lawrence Lynch of the DNR and Mr. Darrell Long, the owner of the proposed high capacity well. This well could take as much as 500,000 gallons of water per day from our local aquifer. Suggested actions:
Read the Environmental Assessment on the DNR website at: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/es/science/eis/eis.htm
Send Comments to: Lawrence.firstname.lastname@example.org. Lawrence Lynch, Hydrogeologist, 101 S. Webster St., Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, 608-267-7553. Email is preferred. Official comment deadline is May 16, but Mr. Lynch said he will take comments the week of May 16.
March 24, 2011
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin issued their decision in Anderson v DNR today. The Court really got it wrong. They denied the right for citizens to challenge state-issued pollution discharge permits when the terms don’t comply with Clean Water Act requirements. Justice Ziegler may have just as well said let them eat cake when directing citizens to federal courts of appeal as their only venue. The Seventh Circuit court of appeals has clearly said they will not review state-issued permits. The Fort James permit allowed unlimited discharges of mercury, a known neurotoxin, but citizens have been told they have no access to the legal system to challenge the permit for non-compliance with federal standards.
Please stand shoulder to shoulder with us as we fight the war on public health and the environment on multiple fronts. I knew you would want to hear about this alarming development in the fight for public participation and clean water in Wisconsin. It is critical that we stand together at this time and work to restore the people's right to have a say in the health and safety of our environment!
- Kim Wright
March 12, 2011
About 85,000 people flooded the State Captiol March 12 to join the farmers Tractorcade protest led by Wisconsin Farmers Union, Family Farm Defenders, and Land Stewardship Project. Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network along with CSP supporters joined the parade with the now famous “Herd of Cows” with the message of “Solidarity”.
Report and more pictures....
March 9, 2011
Letter to Senator Kohl - About Funding Bill to Threaten Clean Air and Water. It includes measures that would threaten our public health and environments. Under this bill, the Environmental Protection Agency would be barred from taking any action to clean up carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial pollution
March 3, 2011
CSP joined with over 100 people gathered in Viroqua at a Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network (SRWN)-organized rally unifying a number of groups concerned about the governor’s budget bills and other actions that impact rural Wisconsin. Read the report...
February 24, 2011
Letter to Senator Dan Kapanke Information presented to Senator Kapanke's aide at his Feb 25 listening session in Gays Mills. Since he is now Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, we want to inform him of our concerns in this region of the state.
February 18, 2011
CSP signs on to High Voltage Powerline Letter
Rock Prairie Dairy
Letter from CSP to the DNR. This CAFO is going to have the largest manure storage facility in the state. Letter
DNR environmental assessment
The Food & Climate Connecton
Here's an interesting discussion on global warming and factory farming
Downloadable version - PDF
April 6 2010
DNR Public Hearing on General Permit for CAFOs
March 5 2010
WRSN ACTION ALERT - A Public Hearing regarding the DNR's intent to reissue a WPDES permit for Larson Acres near Evansville, Rock County
December 1 2009
Action at the Dairy Business Association Annual Meeting - News Release
November 25 2009
Concerns about Crawford County Operation - CAFO over limit without permit
May 14 2009
State Representatives Address Water Quality and CAFO Issues
Download Printable Version (PDF)
Newsletter - PDF