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Wisconsin lawmakers approve settlement with factory farm

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of March 28, 2023
WCCO digital headlines: Morning of March 28, 2023 01:38

The Legislature's finance committee approved a $215,000 deal Tuesday between the state Justice Department and a factory farm to settle pollution allegations.

According to an analysis by the Legislature's attorneys, the agreement will settle allegations that Kinnard Farms improperly spread manure in Kewaunee and Door counties between 2018 and 2022; failed to timely submit an engineering evaluation for a feed storage area and failed to timely submit annual nutrient management plan updates.

The deal also calls for Kinnard Farms to complete upgrades on two waste storage facilities and a feed storage area if the state Department of Natural Resources review of engineering evaluations of the facilities show that upgrades are needed.

The finance committee approved the settlement unanimously. The Justice Department is required to obtain committee approval of legal settlements under lame-duck laws Republican legislators passed in 2018 to curtail Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul's powers.

The Kinnard operation includes 16 industrial farms with about 8,000 cows. The company has struggled with agricultural pollution for years.

Kinnard Farms owner-operator Lee Kinnard said in a statement last week that the farms decided to settle rather than face a long, expensive dispute.

Kinnard Farms sued the DNR in April 2022 over permitting changes that require the operators to limit the size of their herd and monitor groundwater for contamination. That lawsuit is still pending.

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