Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, September 25, 2009

The "Right" to Put Poo in Your Water

Water on the left taken from a Luxemburg, WI
tap in the spring of 2008.
(photo courtesy of Chuck Wagner)

For most of this year, several conservation groups with whom Rat is very familiar have been working to get a bill rolling in the Wisconsin Legislature to prevent people's wells from getting contaminated by manure and other liquid wastes spread on farmland, especially in the 5 counties of northeastern Wisconsin.

You propose such an idea and your draw out the heavy artillery of the dairy industry, especially the Dairy Business Association. As they almost always are, farmers have been effective in scaring legislators into thinking this proposal will put them out of business, restrict their "right to farm," and other overstated calamities. It seems that poisoned wells just can't hold a scented candle to farmers' "right" to spread their own manure and septic, industrial and muncipal wastes.

But that artillery has been really tested this week by a small army: Michael Pollan and the New York Times. Pollan, who appears in Madison this week, has riled up Big Agriculture with his critique of industrial farming systems and industrial food, and the fact that the University of Wisconsin provoked the debate by giving away one of Pollan's books to students too.

Rat was especially pleased to see the Times' piece about dirty wells in Brown County, Wisconsin -- not pleased, of course, that these poor folks' wells have been fouled, but hopeful that the national media attention may shame lawmakers to finally act to protect their own constituents' drinking water.

No comments:

Post a Comment