The state Natural Resources Board (NRB) has postponed discussion of new restrictions of manure spreading over sensitive karst topography.

The revisions to state administrative rule NR 151 – adding language regulating manure spreading on shallow soils over fragile karst bedrock such as the land over much of northern Kewaunee and Door counties – were on the board’s agenda for Wednesday, Dec. 13, but DNR representatives contacted Kewaunee County officials this week to say the review was pushed back to the board’s January meeting.

During the monthly meeting of the Land & Water Conservation Committee, Kewaunty County Conservationist Davina Bonness read from an email sent by DNR water quality administration Russ Rasmussen explaining the delay.

“The goal all along was to have the revised NR 151 rule ready for implementation in the summer of ’18,” Rasmussen wrote. “As we moved closer to the NRB December meeting, we realized we could still meet the with an NRB decision in January, which gives us more time to thoroughly and carefully review what we will put forward in NR 151 to make sure that everything is covered and correct in order to avoid any delays as it continue to move through the process. It also gives the public more time to review the proposed rule language should they choose to make a public appearance before the NRB in January.

Committee member Chuck Wagner, who chaired the meeting, said he understands concerns that the postponement gives opponents more time to water down the new regulations, but he said taking time to get the new rules right is better in the long run.

“I hated this when I first got on the county board that government moves better when it goes slow,” Wagner said. “I’d rather take the time and do it right than hurry and rush and think that it’s just going to be flash in the pan and solve our problems.”

Supervisor Lee Luft said he expects a lot of pressure from lobbying groups to weaken the proposal even after it’s gone through the Natural Resources Board. The rules still must survive a review by the state Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker.

Luft said he was planning to attend Wednesday’s NRB meeting anyway to present the board with a copy of the Kewaunee County Board’s resolution fully supporting the new rules. Supervisors passed the resolution 19-1 at the County Board’s Sept. 19 meeting.