Judge Rules In Favor Of Little Black “Super Dairy” 2/16/18
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer has made a judgement in a case involving the Town of Little Black and Breeze Dairy Group, LLC. Breeze Dairy is proposing the construction of a 4,000 cow dairy facility. Little Black and Stetsonville residents have expressed concern about their drinking water wells as the dairy would require a high capacity well system providing in excess of 100,000 gallons of water per day. Studies have indicated that Taylor County’s aquifer provides among the fewest gallons per minute compared to other counties in the state.
In the judge’s decision, she noted that Breeze Dairy applied for the farming operation on February 10, 2017, which was 5 days before Little Black passed a zoning ordinance for agricultural land. On the day Breeze Dairy applied for permits, the township had no zoning on agricultural land. Judge Knox-Bauer ruled that the Town may not deny the plaintiffs’ application on the basis of the zoning ordinance enacted February 15, 2017.
On the issue of the high capacity well system the Judge wrote: "The plaintiffs’ argue that the Town’s ordinance as set forth is preempted by state law and therefore is an invalid attempt to regulate groundwater". The judge wrote: “The legislature has adopted a complex and comprehensive statutory structure for permitting, installation and use of high capacity wells”. “The end effect is that the Town could deny the high-capacity well permit, and shut down the use of the well, in violation of an express DNR approval.” “The ordinance runs contrary to the structure and spirit of the legislature’s grant of this authority to the DNR under WI Stat. section 281.11, and therefore, under the Anchor test, is preempted by state law and therefore is unenforceable against the plaintiffs.”
Judge Ann Knox-Bauer made the judgement in a 21 page document which was filed February 15, 2018 with the Taylor County Clerk of Courts.