Archive for March, 2012

Kipp Pollutes, DNR Stonewalls

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) continues to do Madison Kipp Corporation’s bidding.

For decades WDNR has covered up the corporation’s willful & wanton toxic pollution in contravention of the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Now WDNR is covering up public comment.

A detailed list of links to public comment & background information on Kipp can be found here. Much of it will not be found on the DNR’s public comment site. (However, the best DNR-published comment is from the neighborhood association, Schenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara (SASY) (pdf).)

Below is my letter to the DNR secretary regarding her latest stonewalling. The emails below also were cc’d to several elected officials at state & local levels as well as several relevant WDNR officials and SASY.

Please keep in mind, this is no accidental oversight; others involved in this process have admonished relevant DNR administrators—for months—for not having posted my comment.



March 2, 2012

Dear Secretary Stepp,

Below you will find a copy of my emailed comment dated 10/21/2011 regarding Madison Kipp Corporation’s pollution.

I asked that you enter this comment into the record. To date, my comment has not been included in the record at:

I have an acknowledgement of receipt of this communication from your office through other communication. Thus, I once again insist that my comment be included in all public record regarding Madison Kipp Corporation.


Michael D. Barrett


October 21, 2011

Dear Ms. Stepp,

Please enter this communication into the record with respect to Madison Kipp “Scope of Work” (SOW) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

At the recent neighborhood dog & pony show put on by WDNR, we witnessed professional malfeasance on an epic scale. In addition to doing everything possible to shut out the public from the process, WDNR employees promulgated lies, half-truths, dissembling and exhibited willful ignorance. To wit:

  • Your presenter, Michael Schmoller “felt” that there is no danger of Kipp pollution polluting our water supply because of a shale formation. Apparently Mr. Schmoller has not kept up with research of the last several years conducted by Professor Ken Bradbury. That research has found that the shale formation is completely permeable; so much so that viruses from surface waters have been detected in the deep aquifer from which we draw our drinking water. If viruses can move through from surface to our deep aquifer, so can toxins.
  • Your presenter claimed that he was not aware of contamination on Goodman Center land. I have seen a 2008 WDNR document, addressed to Goodman management which states unequivocally that contamination exists, and is from an “off-site source.”
  • The “Scope of Work” (SOW) is not designed to put the priority on assessing and mitigating the most likely routes of human exposures in the neighborhood–vapor intrusion into homes and other buildings. Appropriate mitigation depends on appropriate assessment of the plume and the vapor intrusion in the first place–if the vapor intrusion problems are not adequately and thoroughly assessed, the mitigation will not be adequate either.
  • Because the SOW does not fully map the plume (not even close), it is impossible to say how many homes/buildings might be affected by vapor intrusion, and in turn impossible to know which homes/buildings to monitor and then to mitigate if needed.
  • Ken Wade’s proposal is a good start, and should be followed, but doesn’t appear to fully map the plume either.
  • Testing a total of 14 homes is completely inadequate; it doesn’t begin to help risk assessors understand the potential scope of the vapor intrusion problems. Given the levels of contaminants that have been spreading in the shallow and deep groundwater for many years and probably decades and what is already known about their locations and levels in groundwater, the plume is likely under a much wider area than just these 14 homes.
  • The locations selected for monitoring do not make sense from a public health standpoint–e.g., they do not appear to be designed to put the priority on understanding and mitigating the most likely routes of significant and direct human exposure (vapor intrusion into buildings). For example, why are you only testing just at the edge of yards on the boundaries with Kipp? Why aren’t you going straight to monitoring closer to where people are living–e.g., testing subslabs and in-home vapors? That’s the monitoring that would be most relevant to people’s potentially most significant exposures.) Given the point below, you could test the edge of the yard and find no detect and there could still be significant vapor in the subslab and possibly the home.
  • Related to the above, single (one-time) tests of soil vapor (in locations that don’t make sense) to determine if vapor extraction or the installation of in-home vapor mitigation systems is completely inadequate on a number of levels. Single tests are not adequate to determine if there is a soil vapor problem. As noted in this paper––adequate sampling of vapor intrusion requires repeated tests over space and time because “measured concentrations of volatile organic compounds…can vary considerably from month to month and season to season. Sampling results from any one location at any given point in time cannot be expected to represent the range of conditions that may exist at neighboring locations or at other times. Recognition of this variability is important when designing sampling plans and risk management programs to address the vapor intrusion pathway.” Because soil gas samples can vary so much over space and time, a much larger number of sample locations over multiple times are needed to accurately characterize the contaminant distribution in soil gas.
  • The SOW completely ignores monitoring soils around and vapor intrusion under/in buildings very close to Kipp, and in particular the Goodman Center. Why? While Schmoller said he “felt” that Goodman wouldn’t have vapor intrusion problems, there is no data justifying his belief, and he never explained his reasoning. Regardless of his “feelings” on this, I think it’s a no-brainer that Goodman should be tested, just to make sure.*
  • The impacts, current & future, on Well 8 [Olbrich Sledding Hill] must be documented and modeled; this would include an increased withdrawal scenario. If Well 8 is filtered for Manganese and Iron, which is under consideration (pilot tests very soon if not already), this will also draw the Kipp contaminants into the well faster/sooner.
  • The neighborhood is already getting water from PCE/TCE contaminated wells–Well 11 and Well 15. The Schenk-Atwood area drinks water from a combination of Wells 8, 11, 15 (and 29?). Well 15 has the worst PCE contamination. Any additional PCE/TCE and related contaminants that end up from Well 8 will only add to existing levels from those wells.
  • This is an environmental justice issue: While most middle/upper middle class people can afford a filter, most low income people cannot. The poor should not be poisoned. Most especially, they should not be poisoned for being poor.
  • Put all relevant Kipp SOW/legal documents at Hawthorne Library and make them available for download. ALL documents–even the embarrassing/sensitive ones.
  • The vapor dispersal system you have proposed is so 1960s. Dilution-the-best-solution-to-pollution? Wrong. And it contravenes the agreement my government and I, as a citizen, came to through the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
  • The public engagement process so far has been highly inadequate on a number of levels. For starters, the neighborhood had less than a week to comment on this SOW; that is not even close to adequate. It is clear that WDNR sees public comment as completely token.
Ms. Stepp, clean up your mess.
Dig up the source contaminant.
Remove it from the site.
All of it.
Dispose of it properly.
Make the perpetrator pay for all of it.*
Plus significant penalties.
Your agency has had decades to fix this problem. Do your job as you promised the US Environmental Protection Agency you would.
Michael D. Barrett
*As good conservatives love to say, ‘you do the crime, you do the time.’





Walker’s New Tool: Dane County Human Services

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Here’s the latest on the Capitol front…I sent this to my County Supervisor, John Hendrick, on February 27, 2012.



Hello John,

I hope this email finds you well.
It has come to my attention that Dane County Human Services is now in the business of harassing protesters for the “crime” of bringing children to protests.
Here’s the situation. A good friend of mine, Craig Spaulding, has been one of the most ardent protesters at the Capitol since the beginning. His 11-year old daughter has been very much involved in First Amendment action at the Capitol as well. She is so much a thorn in the side of the Republicans that the Capitol Police have begun to physically abuse her (they have pushed, shoved and jerked her around; she has bruises to prove it). And now they have taken to trying to emotionally abuse her. After they arrested her dad, Craig, (for the “crime” of having raised a cross during state-established prayer), they told her that her dad would be in prison for a very, very long time. That she would be taken to foster care permanently. Of course, he was booked & released. But now they have embarked on a campaign to manipulate Dane County’s child protective services to have her separated from her family.
Terrorizing an 11-year old girl is now the way of it.
They haven’t stopped there. (And this is where your oversight responsibilities come in….) Here’s how the Capitol Police are now enlisting Dane County Human Services in the terrorization of children. About a week & a half ago, DCHS showed up to O’Keeffe Middle School. They had Mr. Spaulding’s daughter called out of class (completely unbeknownst to Mr. Spaulding), and had this announced to the entire class: “[Daughter’s name withheld by me], Dane County  would like to speak to you.” Nice. Great way to smash a kids spirit before her peers. I consider Dane County’s—and the Madison School District’s—actions a gross violation of privacy.
So the DCHS agent gets her in a room by herself and starts asking questions which implied that sexual abuse had been going on in her life. Mr. Spaulding’s daughter—at this point having no idea why this questioning is going on—answered all the questions truthfully. At one point she finally figured out what this was all about (she is indeed whip-smart) when some question about being left alone at the Capitol came up. She got right in the investigator’s face and sternly asked him: ” Who put you up to this? Chief Tubbs?[*] Mael [a Capitol Police officer]?” At that point, the investigator knew the jig was up and ceased questioning.
Now the Capitol Police follow her after school.
For months the Republican leadership has threatened to bring child abuse charges against parents of child protesters. Now that the protester numbers are manageable, they are actually pressing the brownshirts into action. And the people whom we the people of Dane County are funding are carrying out their brownshirt tactics. I don’t use the fascist comparison lightly. But we do know that one of the salient features of the rise of the Nazis was in their ability to infiltrate, bully, undermine and eviscerate professions and professional standards. Breaking up families, setting one family member against another was another major tactic. It is happening now. Right here in Dane County, carried out by Dane County officials.
You, John, are our representative. As a county legislator, you are expected to oversee the proper *professional* functioning our county’s bureaucracies. You vote for their funding.
You have a responsibility. A responsibility to protect your constituents when they suffer abuse at the hands of Dane County officials.
I have told you about how the Capitol Police behaved toward me, and how another county bureaucracy—Dane County’s DA—actively promoted the state’s acts of violence against me. The Dane County DA continues to behave monstrously toward minorities. You have done nothing to demand accountability (dumping cash on out of control officials is not accountability), much less even respond to my request for accountability.
Will this be another such case?
A young girl is being bullied by the state police and Dane County officials. What will you do about it, John?
Mike Barrett
Update: County Supervisor Hendrick replied that he will check with the oversight committee – Health and Human Needs. I’ll update here with the results, if any.
*Update 2: “Segway” Jeremy Ryan has more on Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs’s connections to the National Sicherheitsstaat.