Farm groups’ lawsuit against Wisconsin DNR rejected

A lawsuit challenging the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and their authority to force large farms to acquire permits was rejected by a circuit judge.

The lawsuit filed last May on behalf of Wisconsin Dairy Alliance and Venture Dairy Cooperative by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce claimed the DNR lacked authority to force farms to have permits under the state’s water quality laws.  Calumet County Judge Carey Reed rejected that argument, citing Wisconsin Statute section 283.001(1).

Clean Wisconsin and Wisconsin Farmers Union opposed the lawsuit.  Farmers Union Executive Director Julie Keown-Bomar tells Brownfield they’re very pleased with the ruling. “We believe that large livestock operations need to be held responsible and they need to be permitted and that we need to uphold environmental standards and so really, this is a win for our members.”

Bomar says they had to oppose the lawsuit or risk having no regulatory authority monitoring farm expansions. Wisconsin Farmers Union has long supported regulation of farm operations in their policies.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce could not be reached for comment Tuesday.  Kim Bremmer with Venture Dairy Cooperative says it will be up to their board members to decide if they will appeal the ruling by Judge Reed.

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