Wisconsin DOJ switches sides in environmental lawsuits

A kitchen sink fills with tainted water from a well in Kewaunee County (WBAY file photo)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul has changed the state Department of Justice stance to support an environmental advocacy group in lawsuits dealing with dairy farm expansion and high-capacity wells.

Environmental group Clean Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in 2015 challenging the DNR's decision to allow a farm in Kewaunee County to expand. The group filed another lawsuit in 2016 alleging the DNR must consider the impact a high-capacity well will have on surrounding groundwater levels before granting permits for such wells. Both cases are now before the state Supreme Court.

The DOJ under Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel had sided with the DNR in both cases. Kaul defeated Schimel in November's elections. He filed briefs Thursday with the Supreme Court saying the agency is now aligned with Clean Wisconsin.

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