UPDATE (11/1/18): On October 31, the Ramsey County District Court rejected the attempts by corporate ag to squelch public comment on an environmental review of the mega-dairy expansion proposal described below. District Court Judge Jennifer L. Frisch ruled yesterday against an injunction filed by several Minnesota corporate ag groups seeking to limit the public comment period on the environmental review of the proposed expansion in Winona County. She concluded: “The harm (to the public) in not allowing the extended comment period is significant.”
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Proposal Would use 92 Million Gallons of Groundwater & Produce 46 Million Gallons of Manure in the Sensitive Karst Region
Rural people know that factory farms harm the environment and viability of rural communities. Now Daley Farms of Lewiston, LLP in Winona County wants to increase its current operation by almost 3,000 cattle for a total herd size of 4,628. This would make Daley Farms one of the largest dairy operations in the state. Over 96 percent of dairy farms in Minnesota are 500 cows or fewer.
This proposed expansion would double the liquid manure and waste water production of this operation to 46 million gallons a year, and require adding a manure basin the size of three football fields at a depth of 16 feet. All this liquid waste would sit right over sensitive karst geology, which is composed of porous limestone that is highly prone to sinkholes and disappearing springs. This geology can allow surface pollution to enter the groundwater in a matter of hours.
This dairy expansion would use 92 million gallons of the area’s groundwater annually. The nearby city of Lewiston (pop. 1,506) uses 33.6 million gallons a year. And the operation is surrounded by towns plagued with nitrate levels nearing or above the maximum allowable nitrate level of 10 mg/L.
Clearly, this factory farm has the “potential for significant environmental impacts” and needs an Environmental Impact Statement. Currently, the proposal is undergoing an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), which is the first step in environmental review. (The EAW is available here.) The purpose of the EAW is to determine if an in-depth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed. State law requires that if a project has “the potential for significant environmental impacts,” then an EIS must be completed. An EIS fully considers potential environmental, human and economic impacts, and analyzes how and if the project can be built in a way that mitigates potential harm.
Don’t let corporate ag take away your voice. Submit your comments now demanding an Environmental Impact Statement on the Daley Farms mega-dairy.
ACT NOW and submit your comments by 4:30 p.m. on November 15. Tell the MPCA we need an Environmental Impact Statement on Daley Farms LLP’s dairy expansion proposal.
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