Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Joel Kleefisch Is As Befouled As A Jefferson County Well

Southern Wisconsin, along with over half of the country, is in the middle of a severe drought. While those of us along the shore of Lake Michigan are OK for now (the lake's 20 inches lower than normal already), the people inland are reliant on well water to meet their needs.  Many communities have imposed watering bans and people are starting to develop water conserving strategies.

Now imagine if you couldn't even use your well water because it's been tainted with E. coli.

That is exactly what many people in Jefferson County are facing now thanks to Herr Environmental, Inc.  Herr Environmental is the company that dumped illegal amounts of human effluence in fields near people's wells. As I reported back in May:
It all starts with a septic company called Herr Environmental, Inc. Herr Environmental was pumping out people's septic tanks and dumping the contents on farmer fields at three times the legal limits. The dumping sites were next to residential areas and could possibly affect 40 different wells for drinking water.

The story reports that this is of a concern because the raw sewage contains nitrates that could infiltrate the drinking water and cause all sorts of health problems. The story doesn't even go into the threat of E. coli.
Joel Kleefisch

To make matters worse, they tried to cook the books and had three different sets of records and over 60 inaccurate records of when, where and how much they spread.
The problem appears to be even worse than previously thought.

On Tuesday morning, I became alerted to the fact that another well located across the highway from the originally tainted wells has now tested positive for E. coli. The owners of the well have been told that they "needed to start boiling our water or buying water," per an email I had received. This directive came from the water analysis labs at UW-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources. Keep in mind that the well owners have to pay for the testing and treatment of their wells out of pocket.

To add insult to injury, the well owners' elected official, State Representative Joel Kleefisch, had been actively working against their best interest when their wells got tainted (emphasis mine):
But Gunderson said he hardly recalled reading Villoth’s referral and said the potential health implications of Herr’s actions were not discussed at length in the meetings he had with staff on the case.

Instead, Gunderson and other DNR administrators sought to iron out the problem in meetings with Herr and Herr’s state representative, Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, who interceded on his behalf, records show. At one meeting, on Dec. 13, Herr said he spoke with Stepp who assured him “no citations or forfeitures would be required,” according to Bolha’s notes.

Stepp, who declined several requests to be interviewed for this story, denied in an email she made such a claim to Herr. Asked if she knew Herr or had business dealings with him in the past, or if she spoke with him at all during the enforcement case, Stepp responded, “All are ‘no’ answers.”

Herr also did not respond to telephone and email requests for comment.

At a second meeting, on Dec. 20, Kleefisch — who also received $100 in campaign donations from Herr and whose wife Rebecca received $2,250 from the Herr family during her campaign for lieutenant governor — challenged Gunderson to reconsider the citations the DNR was weighing against Herr.

“In the age of the DNR/Wisconsin Governor being pro-business, why is the DNR giving Herr 5 citations and why can’t 2 or 3 be taken away as a show of good faith?” Joel Kleefisch asked, according to Bolha’s notes of the meeting. He also reportedly asked that the fine be reduced. Kleefisch didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Bolha also noted Kleefisch asked Gunderson to write the district attorneys involved suggesting the DNR would be in favor of even lower fines.

Gunderson, Bolha reported, “did not seem enthusiastic about writing a letter” but emphasized the agency “had done everything the DNR could to keep the referral from going to the DOJ where the civil forfeitures could have reached $20,000 to $40,000.”
And Kleefisch went to bat for his campaign donor even though Herr Environmental has a long history of violating public health standards, dating as far back as 1989, where documents have shown that the DNR were pointing out in great detail where Herr was running afoul of the law.

Now that at least one well across the highway from the polluted site has also tested positive, it could very well be that the entire ground water basin for the area has been tainted by the excessive effluence.

And needless to say, the residents are outrages.

When I asked Democratic candidate for the 38th District, Scott Michalak, for a statement this morning, he responded with this:
Scott Michalak
" Mr. Kleefisch, I think that since you don't think Mr.Herr should have to pay for testing of these wells that you should pay for them yourself," said Scott Michalak, Democratic candidate for the 38th Assmbly District. "I also believe that Mrs. Stepp and Mr. Gunderson should resign their positions with the DNR effective immediately. There is no place for in-house judgments from people that received campaign contributions from Mr. Herr himself. This, at a minimum, is a conflict of interest and possible ethics violation. Furthermore, I believe this incident and any further investigation should be turned over to the Department of Justice immediately."
Representative Joel Kleefisch did not respond to my questions regarding to this new development. Apparently he could not tear himself away from the "distractions" at the country club to even answer a few questions, much less actually give a damn about his constituents.

Even without the fact that Kleefisch actively and willfully advocated against his own constituency, his current lack of concern for the people who are left without even safe drinking water in the middle of one of the worst droughts in history should be enough to show he is not fit for office.

 Or even being categorized as a man or human for that matter.

You can learn more about Scott Michalak at his website and his Facebook page.  And if you can, please help him out by volunteering or donating to his Act Blue account.

The people of the 38th District, as well as all of Wisconsin, deserve a representative that won't crap on them or their wells.


  1. Would this qualify as malfeasance under the proposed Vos standards for recall? Probably not, my guess is that when Republicans do it, it's not malfeasance.

    Residents should invite Kleefisch out to drink some of their well water.

  2. Leave Kleefisch alone he has hunting and fishing to do!

  3. I'm with Gareth. Invite Kleefisch to drink the water. If he does and he doesn't get sick it might be OK. If he refuses, it's malfeasance. He knows his constituents are slowly being poisoned.

  4. Wait, so this is bad, but Barrett doing nothing to stop the dumping of sewage into Lake Michigan doesn't get you outraged?

    1. since the new administration in madison has made it much more difficult for municipalities to raise funds (taxes) where do you think a cash strapped city like milwaukee is coming up with the money? a deep tunnel system was built in the city to stop the overflows in the 70's and 80's. i dont recall the exact cost but it wasnt cheap.since then overflows have been greatly reduced. is it perfect? no.do we still have overflows during big storms? yes. now contrast that with a company that deliberately contaminated the ground around a very limited source of fresh water,and then cooked the books to try and cover it up, when called out on it was not remorseful but but ran to there political buddies in madison(R's) to get them out of it. do you see the difference? i am guessing you dont and prefer to be willfully ignorant.

    2. Everyone is up in arms about how Walker didn't run on removing collective bargaining. Barrett ran a fews yrs ago on the premise of reducing the flow of sewage into Lake Michigan. He was even in charge of 7 of the 11 mmsd board members. He has done nothing to fix it. I get it, you can use money as an excuse not to fix something but the right can't either.

    3. like i pointed out ,a great deal of money has already been spent on miwaukee's deep tunnel project. the overflows have been greatly reduced. on the other hand we are talking about a company that willfully contaminated the ground around peoples drinking water(illegal) and then altered there records to hide it.(also illegal) then when caught,rather than face the music,(so much for personal responsibility, a right -wing mantra)they tried to weasel out of it. rather then discuss these facts i am sure that you will look instead for something the left may or may not have done to argue a completly different talking point. i have addressed some of what you have brought up.when will you address or try to refute anything in this article ?my statement about willful ignorance stands.

    4. VIVA WALKER!!!!!

    5. OK, Anonymous, you win .... you recall Barrett. Now, back to the point of the comments. Nice distraction, though.

  5. Corruption in state government working for all of us! Way to go Kleefisch and Stepp. Are you sure that a bottled water company didn't contribute to you as well?

  6. Check your facts, Anonymous.

    The overflows have been reduced.

    Now, you're going to have to understand that they will not be reduced to nothing under this system. We opted for it, for reducing overflows better than before, rather than the much higher cost of reducing overflows more.

    However, all of what we have done responsibly in Milwaukee has nothing to do -- as repeatedly has been pointed out to you -- with what is going on a couple of counties away.

    That is the topic of this thread. Either get with the topic of take your effluvia elsewhere. So, tell us: What do you think of what Kleefisch did to western Waukesha County and eastern Jefferson County? How would you like E-coli in your well water? Tell us.

  7. Hey, too bad so sad for well-owners.

    Life is not fair, right Mark IMBR?

    Besides, this is business opportunity!!!


  8. So, Anonymous 1, by your reasoning any business venture is worth the cost to society. Evil justified by financial gain certainly isn't a new concept for the right, but it is way past time that you vulture capitalists grew a few morals. As we speak, the U.S. is experiencing its worst drought on record. Now I know that global warming apolagists will perpetually refuse to admit there is a problem - even when flamingos winter here, but wake up buddy. We are currently witnessing the direct effects of human induced climate change. So....why in the the midst of declining water supplies and increasing temperatures would you support corruption that turns a blind eye to water contamination and government corruption? Let me guess - you are a paid troll doing damage control or someone directly invested in the issue. My guess is that you are a direct part of the Herr problem or a Premium Waters investor. Hell has a place saved for people like you.

    1. The drought is a joke, if the Republicans can get a super majority across the state houses and finally get common sense super majority control of the Federal government, droughts will be a thing of the past.

      In case you hadn't noticed, we have those huge lakes that can solve our needs, and it will not ever disappear.

      Waukesha needs that water from the lake, and you all are keeping it away from them.

      We should all follow John Menard as the example of what a true American is! Jobs have been lost because of tiny little laws and restrictions that have prevented this job creator from creating more.

      There's always a waste product, and as long as it's private property anything should be okay.

      It's too bad people had wells, but those wells probably weren't maintained right anyway, besides we NEED the jobs!!!

      VIVA WALKER!!!!!

  9. Hey, what's all the excitement about? E coli is a natural, organic bacteria. Joel and Becky Kleefisch are harboring zillions of them in parts of their bodies that I can't enumerate in polite company. Only 250 people die from E coli every year in the United States. What's more important, a few bodies or jobs?

    1. Grave diggers need jobs, too. More business is good business.

      VIVA WALKER!!!!!

  10. Well that is an interesting outlook. Repulican dominance will end drought forever? The lakes will have an endless supply of water, "you all" is keeping the water away from Waukesha? and we should all copy Wisconsin's most paranoid employer -John Menard?

    LOL I couldn't top that if I tried.

    1. Republicans are the rightful heirs of societal dominance.

      That dollar bill you spend every day should educate you about your level of existence every day.

      That pyramid represents American classes. You are all just little bricks on the bottom and are nothing in the grand scheme of things.

      Bricks are replaceable, and you see how that little top part floats above? Because the spirit supports Governor Walkers leadership.

      Even without a base of a pyramid, the true American leaders will be held aloft by the mighty separate and more powerful than you all!

      Governor Walker will save us all, lest you don't believe!

      John Menard will save us all, lest you don't believe!

      Republicans will rule and we will prosper under their guidance and wisdom!!!

      We could end our drought tomorrow by piping the great Lakes water across the nation, but the liberal heathen have controlled lifes precious substance for themselves!!!!

    2. Was that Louis XVI or Marie Antoinette that said that? And just how did their "superiority" work out for them? Did they get ahead or lose a head?

    3. Why waste time on Anonymous/Viva Walker. He's obviously a psychopathic troll with narcissistic delusions of grandeur! Not worth the piss it would take to hose him down.