DNR: Large farms could write own permit applications

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The state Department of Natural Resources says large livestock operations would be allowed to draw up their own permit applications under an agency reorganization plan.

The DNR announced the plan Wednesday. The proposal calls for allowing large farms to hire qualified consultants to help write applications for construction permits and manure management permits. The agency would still approve or deny the permits and its environmental protection standards won’t change.

DNR officials say he change would hopefully reduce back-and-forth between farmers and DNR staff on application revisions, freeing up staff to perform more frequent field compliance checks.

A state audit in June found the agency wasn’t following its own policies for policing pollution from large farms and wastewater treatment plants and the agency had been extending permits without review for years.

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This story has been updated to correct that the DNR’s plan would allow farms to hire consultants to create their permit applications, not write permits.

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