Wisconsin justices weigh sweeping environmental cases

A Missouri lake bathed in late afternoon sunlight.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court is weighing two far-reaching environmental lawsuits that could define the state Department of Natural Resources’ ability to regulate factory farms and high-capacity wells and determine how far state agencies can go when interpreting state law. The court on Monday heard arguments in Clean Wisconsin’s lawsuits arguing that the state Department of Natural Resources can require factory farms to monitor groundwater impact and limit the number of animals and consider high-capacity wells’ cumulative groundwater when issuing well permits. Republican legislators contend that a 2011 state law prohibits agencies from implementing standards not explicitly laid out in statute or rule. It isn’t known when the court might rule.

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