By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – The state Supreme Court has ended a five-year legal fight between an environmental group and state regulators.
The Sierra Club sued the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality over its rules for issuing permits to industrial-sized animal feeding operations. The environmental group wanted the state to order the operators of large-scale pig, cattle, and chicken farms to provide information on the designs of their facilities, and their plans for getting rid of animal waste.
State regulators said that information was not necessary, but the Sierra Club said the public should have the right to examine the plans and comment on them.
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled for the Sierra Club last year. The Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal. Two Republicans on the court dissented.
G-O-P Justices Stephen Markman and Maura Corrigan said the case deals with questions that are very important to Michigan's agricultural economy.