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JFC endorses measure which could impact large dairy farm lawsuit

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s budget committee has endorsed a measure that could help the developers of a large dairy farm win a lawsuit against their project.

Late Tuesday, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted to prohibit legal action against water wells, if the DNR chooses not to study the impact of those projects on neighboring wells.

Neighbors of a proposed $35 million dairy farm in Adams County have filed suit to stop the project.

The plaintiffs claim in part that the DNR never determined the mega dairy’s impact on adjacent existing wells. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the case is before a state appeals court, and will be the subject of a contested-case hearing within the DNR next month.

The agency approved two high capacity wells for the proposed Richfield Dairy in Adams County. The farm’s developers – Milk Source Incorporated – said it did not ask lawmakers to step in.

Assembly Republican Dan LeMahieu of Sheboygan County proposed the measure, and has not said why.

All four Democrats on the finance panel voted no, while all 12 Republicans voted yes.

Assembly Democrat Cory Mason of Racine said it’s a bad idea for lawmakers to limit considering the effects of large wells on other properties.