State must explain hog farm water permit decision

The Minnesota Court of Appeals says state officials must explain why they granted a water permit to a large hog feedlot in Todd County.

Last year the Gourley Brothers company applied for and received a permit that would allow its farm to pump up to eight million gallons of groundwater a year.

But neighbors who oppose the large feedlot say the Department of Natural Resources didn't do its homework before issuing the permit. The neighbors have complained about problems with bacteria and water pressure in their wells.

Now a three-judge panel is asking the DNR for more information, saying it can't decide whether the DNR made a good decision, because DNR officials didn't provide evidence showing why the groundwater withdrawal was justified.

The Humane Society of the United States joined the neighbors in the legal challenge.

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