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Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Baby's Death Sparks Water Safety Fight

Small-town Wisconsin residents take on state and powerful ag industry.

The battle began with a mother’s anguished blog post about the death of her infant.

That was the catalyst for a hundred angry neighbors with undrinkable water who gathered at the Lake Aire Supper Club on a rainy September night to consider an extraordinary step: suing one of the biggest players in the state’s powerful agriculture industry.

“These people can do anything they want,” said Dan Matthews, a retired paper plant worker, describing the giant dairy operation that spreads tons of manure each year on the corn and potato fields around his community. “There’s an injustice in that.”

The Central Sands region in the green heart of Wisconsin is prized for its water: dozens of small, sandy-bottomed lakes, the Wisconsin River and hundreds of miles of trout streams.

But the region has also become a flash point in the fights over water erupting throughout the Upper Midwest.

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