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Supreme Court limits DNR’s power

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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