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LTE – Larry Nielsen – 8-3-2016

To the Editor:

I am writing to address the front page article of July 20, 2016 by LeAnn R. Ralph about the expansion of Emerald Sky Dairy.

Obviously Ms. Ralph, like so many “journalists” today, will never let facts get in the way of a good story.

Let us start with the first paragraph: “The Emerald Town Board has voted not to enact a moratorium—”. The Emerald Town Board CANNOT enact a moratorium. They have NO statuary authority to do so in the State of Wisconsin.

The Town of Emerald can make recommendations but these have no legal standing in the process. Emerald Township has no legal participation in the permitting process, except to issue building permits, which must be issued according to appropriate zoning regulations. If Ms. Ralph had taken time to read the ENTIRE 8 page fact sheet provided by the St. Croix County Community Development Department she would have known this.

Ms. Ralph goes on to describe what she called a “spirited and noisy discussion in the back of the room”. I did not hear a “spirited and noisy discussion”. What I heard was a bunch of rude, obnoxious people who obviously did not want to hear anyone’s opinion but their own. These people are too self-centered and ignorant to even know how to properly behave at a public meeting. She then complained that audience members were unable to hear the discussion on the resolution. WHOSE FAULT WAS THAT? In the first paragraph on the succeeding page, Ms. Ralph again uses the terminology that the board “failed to enact a moratorium”.

The engineer for the dairy, Ron Williams stated that the manure would be spread on 17,000 acres. Consequently, Ms. Ralph determined that 26.6 of the township’s 36 sections would have to be included in the land available for spreading. Where does Ms. Ralph get her information? Since Dorwin Farms, the primary feed supplier raises crops in Baldwin, Forest, Glenwood, Cylon, Erin Prairie, and Springfield townships, as well as Emerald, the manure plan will definitely include those townships. They will not, as Ms. Ralph concludes, be spreading manure on 74% of the land area of Emerald Township.

I was the audience member who was quoted as saying “I do not care what happened in Kewaunee County. That’s not relevant to Emerald”. Of course Ms. Ralph was probably too involved in the “spirited and noisy discussion” going on in the back of the room to hear my entire comment, or maybe she just chose to take it out of context. My statement was to the effect that “I do not care right now what happened in Kewaunee County as we do not know all the facts about how contamination happened and how various operations have been run there, so I feel that is not relevant. I am more concerned about the compliance history of the operators of the dairy in our township”.

She notes that one audience member asked why Tuls wanted to buy a large dairy in Wisconsin. Of course, she failed to note the simple answer, distance to market. Other than liquid, there is almost no market for milk in Nebraska. The closest processing plants are in Wisconsin and a few in eastern Iowa and the transportation costs are prohibitive.

She noted that one member of the audience stated that his son had just had to drill a $20,000 well. She didn’t bother to report that this person did not specifically blame the dairy as he had a hog feeding operation nearby for many years.

I also wish to address the July 27, 2016 letter from Kim Dupre in which she also quotes me out of context. I have tried without success to contact someone on the “SaveEmeraldWater” website to ask for information from anyone who has filed a formal complaint against Emerald Dairy, as I share their very grave concerns over the ability of our DNR to properly regulate not only the CAFO’s, but other industries which may want to locate in our rural areas. Obviously, if you do not subscribe 100% to their beliefs and tactics (such as rudeness at township meetings) they do not wish to communicate with you.

I have done my own research on the Tuls family dairies in Kansas and Nebraska, as well as the procedures for complaints, reports, and compliance in Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota. I will present these at the Emerald Town Board meeting on August 10.

I heard numerous comments at that meeting about the honesty and integrity of our town board members. These people have given unselfishly of their time for many years. If you do not agree with the decisions they have made, then use the legal process available to you to appeal to the SCC Board of Adjustment. I have lived in Emerald Township for 39 years and proudly call these men my neighbors and friends. Their families are rooted in this area and have been for generations. You have no call to question their integrity.

Larry Nielsen
Glenwood City, WI