Ho-Chunk Nation adds “Rights of Nature” to their constitution
Madison, Wisconsin, September 19, 2015
Over 1,900 Ho-Chunk tribal members gathered on a balmy early afternoon at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin on September 19th, for the annual General Council. Major tribal issues are taken up and voted on by a quorum of the Ho-Chunk population.
The Ho-Chunk tribe has been severely affected by the unregulated effects of frac sand mining, Bakken oil transport, high capacity wells and industrial agriculture to name a few. Near Tomah, sacred ceremony grounds are now surrounded by four frac sand mines which interrupts ancient cultural practices with blowing silica dust, twenty four hour light pollution and truck traffic essentially turning the area into an industrial zone.
Historically, the Ho-Chunk people respect the natural world and believe that when nature is viewed as only property it no longer has rights or value. Tribal member William Greendeer introduced a resolution to amend the Ho-Chunk constitution that would give rights to nature. It passed by a majority.
“This is so exciting” says Greendeer, “now maybe we can finally keep our water, air and environment healthy by having a larger say in what activities happen in our communities.”
Juliee de la Terre, adjunct professor at Viterbo University has been working with William for quite a while on this issue. “The ‘Rights of Nature’ is more than an legal instrument, it is an international movement meant to acknowledge that all natural systems need to be preserved in order for our planet to remain habitable.”
“The Ho-Chunk Nation has always respected the earth, says William, but we were made to adopt a constitution based on roman law that makes humans more important than everything else. By passing this resolution we are acknowledging how important nature is. We are just one part of Mother Earth, not the center of it.”
For more information go to www.http://therightsofnature.org/
On February 13, 2015, the Department of Natural Resources received a final Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit application for Badgerwood, LLC, a proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) in Bayfield County. WPDES permits are water quality protection permits designed to ensure proper storage and handling of manure from larger-scale livestock operations. The WPDES permit program does not have authority to address odor, noise, traffic or other issues not related to water quality.
The operation would house approximately 7,500 sows, 18,750 pigs, and 100 boars. This is equal to 6,162 animal units. Structures at the site would include three barns with concrete manure storage structures located under each barn, to provide more than 180 days of liquid manure storage. Manure would be removed from storage and land applied according to an approved nutrient management plan.
Based on review of the WPDES permit application, the department has determined that theapplication was incomplete and requested additional information on March 17, 2015. Aspects of the proposal may change when the application is complete.
The department decided, pursuant to s. NR 150.20(4)(b), Wis. Adm. Code, to use the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process as the best approach to achieve WEPA compliance for the proposed Badgerwood swine operation. This allows citizens to have input.
Go here for more information on how to give input into the EIS deadline September 30, 2015:
Visit Farms not Factories for a comprehensive analysis of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
Thank you for standing united in defense of the water.