The state Department of Natural Resources says large livestock operations will be allowed to draw up their own pollution permits under a plan to reorganize the agency.
The DNR announced the plan Wednesday. Agency Secretary Cathy Stepp told the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that under the reorganization the large farms could create permits for projects such as manure lagoons and manure spreading. DNR officials say the agency will still approve or deny permits but handing most of the work over to the industry will free up more time for 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.