State’s top lawyer gives greater certainty to regulators, permit holders and the general public
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MADISON – Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel issued a formal opinion which, answers several specific questions related to the permitting of high capacity wells and provides all state regulatory agencies with much-needed guidance in implementing 2011 Wisconsin Act 21. The opinion was requested by the State Assembly.
“State agencies are defined by statute. The extent of their powers and duties are found in the laws passed by the people’s representatives and signed by the Governor,” said John Holevoet, Director of Government Affairs for the Dairy Business Association. “Although this may sound like common sense, Act 21 and the Attorney General’s opinion make clear that state agencies have only those powers explicitly delegated to them by statute or an administrative rule that is adopted pursuant to explicit statutory authority.”
“Act 21 has been the law of the land for nearly five years. Yet, many have questioned how to fully implement the law. Today’s opinion accurately reflects both the plain language of the law and the legislature’s intent when they enacted it,” said Tamas Houlihan, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association.
“This opinion does not invalidate state agency regulatory authority. State agencies across the board have been lawfully delegated extensive authority. The DNR alone has 600 pages of statutory authority and nearly 5,000 pages of regulations,” said Lucas Vebber, Director of Environmental and Energy Policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
“Farmers and businesses are committed to complying with Wisconsin statutes and administrative rules. Today’s opinion provides greater certainty and clarity for everyone working to protect our environment, while growing our economy,” concluded Paul Zimmerman, Executive Director of Government Relations for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.
Lucas Vebber, WMC – 608-258-3400
Paul Zimmerman, WFBF – 608-828-5708
Jordan Lamb, WPVGA – 608-252-9358
John Holevoet, DBA – 920-883-0020
Nick George, MWFPA – 608-255-9946