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Supreme Court puts an end to controversial cranberry bog case

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court says it will not review one of the state's most politically-charged cases in recent years.

It means that Sawyer County cranberry grower William Zawistowski no longer faces a state nuisance suit.

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Former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager accused Zawistowski in 2004 of polluting Musky Bay for years with the run-off from his business, even though he was never cited by state agencies before.

Farm groups called it a direct attack on Wisconsin's right-to-farm law.

Republicans howled, saying the Democrat Lautenschlager was picking on the little guy while ignoring major crime issues.

The allegation spilled into the 2006 campaign for attorney general. And two GOP legislators introduced a bill to ban such nuisance suits, saying they do nothing but hurt the state's economy.

The bill never went anywhere.

A Bayfield County judge dropped the nuisance suit in 2006. Judge John Anderson said the farmer's practices were not unreasonable, and they didn't hurt the water.

The state appealed, to no avail.

Newly-elected Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen then said he would drop the matter, but Zawistowski's neighbors didn't.

The mostly out-of-state landowners asked the Supreme Court to revive the nuisance suit, which the justices refused to do Wednesday.

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