Dangerous lawsuit puts water protections at risk

Piles of cow manure on a farm

Clean Wisconsin is closely following a lawsuit that would dismantle Wisconsin’s main program to keep untreated animal waste our of our water.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce quietly filed the lawsuit just before Memorial Day weekend on behalf of interest groups representing some of the largest Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Wisconsin. A large CAFO can house thousands of animals and produce over 100 million gallons of manure every year, as much as a small city. Pollution from manure is a major cause of drinking water contamination across Wisconsin and harms our lakes, rivers and streams.

This lawsuit seeks to undermine the WPDES permitting process, which allows Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources to oversee the way CAFOs manage manure and discharge it into the environment. It is a significant threat to Wisconsin’s water resources and public health. The suit is legally wrong and environmentally destructive.

We know animal waste is infiltrating Wisconsin’s drinking water supplies and contaminating our lakes and streams. This is a dangerous attempt to toss out the main tool the DNR has to try and stop it. Clean Wisconsin will continue to follow this and will share developments as we learn more