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Big farms, frac sand mines could feel force of judge’s groundwater ruling

The number of CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations, has shot up in the past decade — as have concerns about their impact on water quality and quantity.

Two weeks ago, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt approved the state Department of Natural Resources’ issuance of permits for a large and controversial dairy farm in Central Wisconsin. But he also reduced the amount of water the farm could pump from proposed high-capacity wells and required the DNR to consider the impact of the withdrawals in conjunction with other, nearby wells — a concept known as cumulative impacts. Continue Reading

Undercover students used in drug busts at some University of Wisconsin campuses

A former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student poses with a playing card distributed by the campus warning of the penalties of a drug conviction. The student, who requested anonymity because he is looking for a job, sold drugs to another student on campus who was a confidential informant. UW-Whitewater is one of three four-year University of Wisconsin campuses to acknowledge using students to make controlled buys from suspected drug dealers. Photo shot Sept. 4, 2014, Madison.

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism checks at the UW System’s 13 four-year campuses turned up three sites at which officials acknowledge using students arrested for drug activities to make controlled buys. Opponents say this practice could place students in dangerous situations and exploits their vulnerability to losing thousands of dollars of federal financial aid and tuition by being suspended from school. But supporters say it provides an opportunity for students to avoid felonies.
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