In support of LLO
In 2015, every tax dollar spent on tourism returned $7 to our state economy. But in Lafayette County, visitor spending shrank in 2015, according to Sen. Howard Marklein’s May newsletter, while Iowa County’s increased $1 million. Both Yellowstone Lake and the Yellowstone River were added to the “impaired” or polluted waterway list by the Department of Natural Resources, as was the Pecatonica River and several local streams.
Lafayette County is one of the prettiest counties in Wisconsin, but we must protect, improve, and promote natural resources for recreational activities like fishing, boating, biking, hiking, swimming, and ATV-ing, all of which bring revenue to bars, restaurants, hotels, grocers and gift shops; and which attract families and entrepreneurs to live here (combined with fast Internet, of course).
Lafayette County should remain agricultural, but protect our landscape and local farms from takeover by industrial models from California, Nebraska and Iowa — where so much prime farmland has been covered by concrete and so much water polluted by manure that their ag-corporations are now flooding Wisconsin. In Kewaunee County, where more than 30 percent of private wells are undrinkable because of manure from such operations, shrinking housing values and reduced quality of life have families and businesses moving away. Lakes are polluted; tourism is fading.
At the Lafayette County Board meeting Tuesday, supervisors will vote on a Livestock Licensing Ordinance to require new or expanding large livestock operations — those with more than 750 animal units — to register, pay a fee of $750, observe minimum setbacks from roads and neighboring properties, and report plans at public hearings. This would help balance the interests of large farms — which have the potential to be very large polluters of water, land and air — with the interests of smaller farms and businesses, as well as residents and visitors.
Circle M Market Farm and Bed and Breakfast, Blanchardville
Lafayette County Board Supervisor District 8
In opposition to mine
Dr. Crispin Pierce, associate professor of Environmental Health at UW–Eau Claire, has led studies on the potential risks of tiny particles (PM2.5) of airborne silica dust to those living in the vicinity of frac sand mining operations. His peer reviewed work published in the November Journal of Environmental Health included four sampling sites near frac sand mining operations.
The study states, “Fine particulates have been identified by the U.S. EPA as a cause of cardiovascular and lung disease including lung cancer.” While crystalline silica is known to be a health risk to workers in industry, there have been few independent studies of the health effects to citizens living near frac sand mining operations.
Researchers took data from six nominal 24-hour ambient air samples in a wide variety of weather conditions. Five of six samples had PM2.5 levels higher than corresponding Iowa Department of Natural Resources or Minnesota Pollution Control Agency regional background levels.
The study concluded “health departments and elected officials face unanswered questions about potential health risks” and proposes “the establishment of longer-term PM2.5 particulate monitoring … to protect public health.”
Pattison Sand of Clayton County, Iowa, wants a zoning change now to support a proposed 764-acre underground mine expansion for use in 10 to 20 years. How can officials predict future community needs? How will venting of the mine affect the quality of life and health of neighbors? What are the other issues around this expansion proposal? It would be prudent for officials to refuse the zoning change for the present.
President, Crawford Stewardship Project, Gays Mills
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