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JFC Postpones Action on Evers' Proposed CAFO Fee Hikes
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/31/2019

Republican members of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee have taken no action on a proposed fee increase that larger farm operations would have to pay under a plan drafted by Gov. Tony Evers. During an executive session this week, the panel failed to approve a set of provisions that would nearly double the cost of permits that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations pay each year, while adding a new $3,270 fee that CAFOs would have to send to the state once every five years.

The extra fees would be used to increase staff at the Department of Natural Resources, which will be assigned to monitor agricultural operations to ensure they are not polluting groundwater.

In all, GOP lawmakers cut about $43 million from Evers' proposed 'Year of Clean Drinking Water' initiatives that were aimed at reducing pollution to Wisconsin waterways.

In response, Democratic members of the JFC slammed their colleagues, saying Republicans have turned their back on common sense environmental policies.

"Clean drinking water and science should not be a partisan issue," said Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison. "Yet once again, Republicans have turned the 'People's Budget' into the Politicians Budget and did absolutely nothing to regulate CAFOs, which are polluting our watersand sickening our communities."

Last week, leaders with the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance urged lawmakers to reject the governor's plan, saying CAFOs already follow strict regulations and that now is the not the time to add extra financial burdens on the financially-struggling livestock sector.

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