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Lakeshore owners sue farmers, claiming pollution

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Homeowners who live on the shores of Lake Independence near Minneapolis say a dairy farm is to blame for turning the lake into a noxious mix of pollutants.

Twenty-one individual homeowners and the Lake Independence Citizens Association are suing Paul and Jim Merz, who operate a farm with about 135 cows that borders the lake. The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County contends the farmers have repeatedly violated state laws and polluted the lake with phosphorus in manure and runoff.

Paul Merz tells the Star Tribune that parts of the lawsuit are inaccurate, but he declined to discuss details.

Association president Mike McLaughlin says nobody wants to stop the Merzs from farming, but that they don't have the right to affect thousands of people who live downstream.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.