Premium Iowa Pork's plan to expand a pig processing plant in Viroqua to slaughter 700 pigs daily is a serious threat to western Wisconsin.

Slaughter of that level will result in a large quantity of waste that would require delicate disposal. If disposal is mishandled, water aquifers could easily be contaminated, leading to health impacts on residents throughout the area.

There is also a likely possibility that this facility will attract concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, to western Wisconsin to supply hogs. Studies show that CAFOs have serious, detrimental impacts on water and land quality, as they spread animal waste and manure into the area. Accordingly, they lower surrounding property values up to two miles away.

These impacts should be monitored by the state through the DNR. However, due to heavy department cuts, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau found that the DNR is only taking steps to enforce water quality standards violations in 6 percent of cases.

Even if the current regulations are adequate in monitoring these facilities to keep us safe, it is clear that our government is not doing its job to protect our drinking water.

I urge local citizens to spread the word about the threats of this facility. We need to communicate to this company that they are not welcome.

Peter Gorski, La Crosse

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