Wisconsin Briefs: Challenger rips AG over high capacity wells

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin briefs


Challenger rips AG on wells

A Democratic challenger has criticized Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel on his opinion regarding high capacity wells.

Josh Kaul, a former federal prosecutor who served as one of Hillary Clinton's attorneys during Wisconsin's 2016 presidential recount, took issue with a legal opinion Schimel issued in 2016, in which he said the state Department of Natural Resources lacked the authority to consider the cumulative impact high-capacity wells have on lakes, rivers and streams in the surrounding areas.

The opinion dramatically reduced the DNR's ability to oversee such wells, easing the regulatory burden for farms but outraging conservationists. Kaul called the opinion a "flawed" effort to benefit special interest groups.


Wisconsin representative to retire

Longtime Republican state Rep. Lee Nerison says he won't seek re-election this fall.
Nerison, of Westby, announced Monday that he plans to retire from the Legislature.

He has represented southwestern Wisconsin's 96th Assembly District since 2005.

Nerison has served as chairman of the Assembly's agriculture committee since 2011.
The 65-year-old Nerison is the third Assembly member to decide not to seek re-election in the last few months.


Upper Mississippi River commercial users to see new rules

Federal wildlife officials have proposed a revised set of rules for guides and others who work on the Upper Mississippi River.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released draft rules that would impose new fee schedules but limit the amount of money collected from fishing floats and commercial hunting, fishing and wildlife guides, the La Crosse Tribune reported.

The change comes a year after the Fish and Wildlife Service's update to its 10-year-old comprehensive plan for the Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The rules apply to more than 260 miles of the river between Wabasha, MN and Rock Island, IL.

Under the new rules, float owners and commercial hunting and fishing guides would pay a $100 administrative fee, in addition to fees per client that would be capped at $500 a year. Wildlife observation guide fees would be capped at $300 per year.


Great Lakes cities to reduce emissions

Several communities around the Great Lakes are competing to reduce pollution by controlling the electricity they consume from the power grid.

Bayfield, Wisconsin, is one of five cities working to lower mercury and other emissions through the Water Utility Energy Challenge, Wisconsin Public Radio reported . The other cities are Detroit and Ann Arbor in Michigan; North Syracuse, New York; and Highland Park, Illinois.

The cities have been testing new technology that tracks pollution and can indicate what time to pump water when lower-polluting power sources are providing electricity. Bayfield reduced mercury emissions by 25 percent last year by pumping water at certain times of the day. Competition winners will be announced in June.


CWD-positive deer found on Washington County farm

A white-tailed deer from a breeding farm in Washington County has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), Wisconsin State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw announced today. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the test results.

The buck was born on the 15-acre farm in May 2015. It was part of a herd of 58 whitetails, along with 13 elk, according to the owner's most recent registration. The owner found it dead from injuries apparently sustained in a fight. The deer had previously appeared healthy.

The farm has been enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program since 2003. All deer from herds enrolled in the CWD Herd Status Program must be tested for CWD if they die or are killed on the farm. The farm has been quarantined.


Group works to repurpose urban wood

A Wisconsin organization is working to connect woodworkers and builders with diseased trees that typically end up in landfills after being cut down.

Wisconsin Urban Wood repurposes urban trees that have been taken down because of disease or to make room for new development projects, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. Trees that aren't harvested at a farm are considered to be urban.

Urban Wood works to find ways for wood to be recycled into something useful, such as tables, chairs or buildings. The organization doesn't cut down trees for lumber, but focuses on repurposing trees that have already been taken down.

The city of Milwaukee sends unwanted trees to a sawmill to be turned into lumber, which is then put back into the community as flooring, furniture or some other wood product.