Marietta Town Board passes a 12-month CAFO moratorium
David Krier, SWNews4U.com (WI)
Aug. 8, 2019
MARIETTA TOWNSHIP - On a stormy summer night outside the Marietta Town Hall Monday, the town board voted 2-1 to impose a one-year “Moratorium on Livestock Facilities Ordinance,” specifically aimed at giving the board more time to evaluate a proposal from Roth Feeder Pigs to build a 10,000 animal unit hog CAFO on Harvest Lane between Steuben and Wauzeka. The vote came after nearly three hours of debate between people on both sides of the issue.
“We’d like to get information from all the people,” Town Chairman Ted Beinborn said at the start of the meeting, “whether you’re a farmer, live on the Kickapoo or are new here. We want to hear from everyone.”
First up was Kelvin Rodolfo, a retired geology professor from the University of Chicago, who warned of the dangers of groundwater contamination in the area’s sensitive karst geology.
“The area is comprised of soluble dolomite and sandstone that allows water to percolate down and sideways, and into the aquifer,” he said. “In karstic country if you have an impoundment you have contamination. If you put pollutants into the aquifer it stays there forever.”
John Page, who owns land on nearby Kickapoo Road, told of fish kills and well contamination connected to hog CAFO’s in his native Illinois.
Paul Patterson, who has owned land directly north of the Roth property for the past 52 years, warned of runoff from the steep slopes indicative of the area.
“Every year I have runoff, last year a wall of water four feet in height,” Patterson said. “At the time the Kickapoo was already flooded, so guess what happens? It backs up into my basement. I still have three feet of water in my basement. If Mr. Roth’s project goes through I’m going to have contaminated water in my basement. Unfortunately, it’s in the wrong place, on the top of a ridge with tremendous runoff.”
Dave Collins, who also owns land adjacent to the proposed CAFO, predicted that he would have a 43 percent drop in his property value if the Roth project is approved.
“We can’t sell our property today for what we’d have gotten three months ago,” Collins said, “just from the rumor of a CAFO going in. The Roths are good people, a good family. It’s not about them. He has a right to protect his financial future, and we have a right to protect our property. It’s a beautiful area and I don’t want to see that lost.”
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