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Supreme Court limits DNR’s power

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of the Wis. Supreme Court)

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday the state does not have the authority to determine whether state-issued water pollution permits comply with federal law. (Photo courtesy of the Wis. Supreme Court)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Supreme Court says the state does not have the authority to determine whether state-issued water pollution permits comply with federal law.

The court’s 5-2 ruling Wednesday comes in the case of environmentalists who argued a permit was improperly issued in 2005 to Georgia-Pacific’s Broadway Mill in Green Bay.

According to the court, the state Department of Natural Resources was not required under Wisconsin law to hold a hearing on complaints that the permit failed to comply with the federal Clean Water Act related to phosphorous discharge levels.

The ruling reverses a 2008 appeals court decision that said the DNR could determine whether state-issued permits comply with federal law.

The court said that determination rests with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

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