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Wisconsin dairy CAFO group appeals pollution permit case

The Wisconsin Dairy Alliance has filed an appeal in its case against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources concerning pollutant discharge elimination system permits.

The original lawsuit on behalf of Wisconsin Dairy Alliance and Venture Dairy Cooperative 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 at the end of January.

Kim Bremmer

Venture Dairy Cooperative’s Kim Bremmer tells Brownfield the appeal was filed Friday morning. “Our premise is that you shouldn’t have to get a discharge permit if you’re not a discharger, and where we disagree with the department is they have this assumption of solution that once you get to this magical size, that you are automatically assumed to be a polluter and discharging to water.”

Bremmer is optimistic their appeal will be successful based on similar court cases. “There’s been two other cases where the federal Supreme Court has ruled against the EPA with almost identical language in stating this very similar premise that no, you can’t assume pollution, so we’re hoping that the appeals case goes in our favor.”

Bremmer says the state should stop polluters, but Wisconsin already has the highest water regulation standards for large farms in the nation and they’re not releasing pollution into the state’s waterways.

The appeals case is being handled by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Litigation Center.

Audio: Kim Bremmer talks to Brownfield’s Larry Lee about the appeal filed 3/8/24 in the case against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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