Rep. Kitchens: Statement on proposed new DNR rules for manure management

Contact: Representative Joel Kitchens

(608) 266-5350

Madison – State Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) released the following statement following the DNR’s release of proposed new manure management rules for the karst geo-region:

“At the end of last week, the DNR announced that they had completed writing their new manure management rules for the 15 counties in the karst geo-region that have Silurian bedrock. Kewaunee, Door, Manitowoc and Brown Counties all fall under the purview of the new rules.

“These are rules that our district has been waiting on for a long time. Our shallow soils and fractured bedrock have created groundwater and surface water contamination issues that we are all far too familiar with. The statewide standards, even when rigorously implemented, are simply not stringent enough to protect the water in our geo-region and so specific new regulations are needed.

“These new rules are something that I have been pushing for since I came into office. I have worked on this issue at many different levels; from authoring legislation alleviating the current burden on those affected by water contamination, to bringing together my colleagues in the region to introduce a motion to fund a Total Maximum Daily Load study on our watershed so farmers can have more information at their disposal to prevent runoff. I have often said that there is no one magical solution to our water contamination issues, and that there are many different pieces that are needed to address the problem.

“After taking the time to review the proposed new rules, I am left enthused that they are a leap in the right direction and a foundation for a long-term solution. The new rules prohibit manure spreading within 250 ft of a drinking well, prohibit any manure spreading on less than 2ft of soil, and prohibit manure spreading on frozen or snow-covered ground with less than 5ft of soil. You can click here for the full detailed rules. It is worth keeping in mind that these proposed rules are preliminary and will have to go through the public comment period where they can be improved upon.

“I was thrilled this week to see that Clean Wisconsin shared their support for the new rules in their press release and to hear positive comments from the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. This is an issue that affects all of us in the district. Farmers, environmentalists, and everyday citizens alike must come together to address this situation and it is gratifying to see that happening. I hope that this will be reflected in the coming public comment period. There are plans to hold a public hearing in September and I will make sure to keep my constituents in the loop as things move forward. I welcome these new rules and am eager to work together with all interested parties to move them forward. I am excited that another piece of the puzzle to solve our water contamination issues is here.”

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