Citizens Shouldn’t Have to Force the Government to Enforce the Law: “when the government refuses to enforce laws protecting the public, then there is something seriously wrong with the government”

Citizens Shouldn’t Have to Force the Government to Enforce the Law by Jim Goodman, November 21-23, 2014, CounterPunch

This is a story from Wisconsin, but similar stories are playing out every day all over the US.

The DNR, through its permitting process and enforcement procedures…is supposed to prevent ground and surface water contamination. They didn’t. A group of residents of Lincoln Township, who are now unable to use water from their wells for drinking, cooking or bathing, saw legal action against the DNR as their only recourse.

The petitioners were only asking that laws already on the books be enforced.

However, in his October 2014 decision, Judge Jefferey Boldt apparently didn’t agree, he ordered Kinnard Farms to begin groundwater monitoring for pollutants at the building site. He ordered monitoring to include no less than six monitoring wells, two of which must monitor off-site land spreading of manure.

It was also ordered that a maximum number of animal units at the facility be noted on the permit.

The DNR was ordered to modify the Kinnard Farms permit to limit discharge of manure or wastewater pollutants to navigable waters.

Government agencies should not have to be forced by citizens to enforce the law.

In a state where “moving forward” means getting bigger, the environment and public health always seemed to be trumped by someone needing to increase their profits. We are told that economic survival depends on growth, no matter what business you are in.

Personally I don’t agree. Wisconsin may be open for business, but then, growing business and taking profit at the cost of the public is clearly not the essence of a “healthy, sustainable environment”.

There is something seriously wrong with society if profit for a few is put ahead of public health.

And when the government refuses to enforce laws protecting the public, then there is something seriously wrong with the government.

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, WI.

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