The Wisconsin Supreme Court dealt a blow to environmentalists concerned about water pollution from livestock farms when it said communities couldn't set stricter standards than the state. According to the Associated Press, the ruling was the first decision by a state Supreme Court from among several similar cases filed in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma.

The Wisconsin case began in 2007 when Larson Acres Inc. applied for a permit to expand its farm in Magnolia, a rural community of about 1,000 people about 30 miles south of Madison. The farm already had 1,000 cows and residents blamed it for polluting their water supply.

Town officials cited tests showing high nitrate levels so the town granted the permit with conditions: The farm had to allow the town to conduct monthly water quality tests on its land, and it had to follow certain crop-rotation strategies to reduce nitrate buildup.

The farm sued, arguing that pollution-control measures are laid out by the state and can't be modified by individual towns.

The state Supreme Court agreed, saying state law prevented the town from imposing additional conditions on top of standards the state already set for permits. PD


—From the Associated Press (Click here to read the full article.)