Your letters: Feb. 18
County should investigate digester proposal
For years it has been obvious to the public that an elected official and chairman of the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee, John Pagel, has more to gain (or more to lose) over groundwater protection than the typical dairy farmer. This is based on the simple fact that his operation is 70 times greater than your typical dairy farm. Recently it has become even clearer that Pagel has been working behind the scenes over multiple years.
On Dec. 1, Pagel gave an interview to a Milwaukee public radio station during which he states, “we’ve been having meetings on this hub and spoke idea for a couple of years with DNR and PSC.” When the reporter stated, “So you’re kinda in the thick of this?” Pagel responds, “Yeah.” He then indicates that he knew the exact status of the process and even indicates that he is involved in the actual site selection for the system (the proposed Integrated Anaerobic Digester System Program) when he says “we’re recommending they do it at one or two places” preferably where there is “a digester already in place.”
That recommendation would mean a better than 50/50 chance that the site selected would be owned by John Pagel as two of the four digesters in the county are Pagel operations.
I add to all of this the fact that in 2013, the County Board approved a resolution to award up to $4 million worth of revenue bonds to finance a facility at Pagel’s operation that would be used for “the cost of acquiring, construction, improving, furnishing, installing, and equipping certain solid-waste disposal components of its commercial dairy facility.” All of this seems to show Pagel has a very vested interest in seeing this scheme to fruition.
Yet this scheme is nothing more than a $20 million Trojan horse paid for by taxpayers. There has been zero scientific evidence provided that such a method, at the scale needed in Kewaunee County, has actually improved ground water quality — zero. There is much to be researched, yet with Pagel in his leadership position, is the Land and Water Conservation Committee really being allowed, or directed, to seek out all the science and objectively assess it? Is the protection of all of our property values and quality of life taking a back seat to Pagel’s business interests?
Everyone concerned about the deteriorating ethics in our county politics should contact Bob Weidner and insist he remove Pagel from the LWCC immediately. Insist that the county properly and thoroughly investigate solutions like this one that may have unintended negative consequences and not rubber stamp this one, or any other, that pad the pockets of a few well-connected politicians.
Town of Lincoln
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin: Your letters: Feb. 18