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Court: DNR can impose farm conditions, consider well impact

Posted at 10:19 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 17:08:07-04

MADISON — The state Supreme Court says state regulators can impose operating conditions on factory farms and consider high-capacity wells' cumulative environmental impacts when weighing whether to grant permits.

The rulings Thursday mark a major win for conservationists and clarify that the Department of Natural Resources has broad authority to protect Wisconsin's waters.

Environmental groups had sued the DNR seeking stricter regulation of water pollution from factory farms and large-scale water withdrawals from high-capacity wells.

Industry groups including the Dairy Business Association and GOP legislators had argued a 2011 state law limiting state agencies' regulatory powers trumped the DNR's broad authority to protect state waters.

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