Another Wisconsin Groundwater-Protection Measure Dropped
Monday, March 6, 2017
MADISON, Wis. – Opponents of a legislative move (HB 105 and SB 76) to drop a provision that would have strengthened protections for Wisconsin's groundwater say it will pave the way for even more high-capacity wells.
Some of these wells draw 100,000 gallons a day from aquifers to provide water for huge factory farms, food processors and frac sand mine operations.
Amber Meyer Smith, director of government relations for the state’s largest environmental group Clean Wisconsin, says this paves the way for a bill to allow even more high-capacity wells.
"What the bill does is remove tools that could be used to address problems of lakes, rivers and streams drying up,” she points out. “These problems are most notable in the central sands area where you do see what were once lakefront property homes, now mud front property homes."
Landowners have asked the courts to force the Department of Natural Resources to implement stricter controls, but Meyer Smith says the DNR's hands are tied by an opinion of the attorney general that limits the DNR's power to regulate and control high-capacity wells.
Supporters of more wells include the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, which has spent heavily to lobby the Legislature to loosen what the groups calls too-tight regulations on groundwater.
Meyer Smith says there has to be a solution that works for all the stakeholders.
"What we should be doing is creating a sustainable solution for how agriculture can get the water that it needs and all the users can get the water that they need," she states.
According to Meyer Smith, Wisconsin's neighboring states have regulations on high-capacity wells that protect groundwater for all users.
"Michigan has figured out how to do that sustainably,” she points out. “Minnesota has figured out how to do it sustainably. But for some reason in Wisconsin, we can't look towards that sustainable solution, or at least the Legislature has been unwilling to look at that sustainable solution."
get more stories like this via email
Progressive groups are speaking out against the idea of a constitutional convention, warning it could be used to impose conservative policies on …
Health and Wellness
Today is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and Nevada is one of the 10 states with the highest HIV infection rates. In 2021, more than 11,00…
The current Farm Bill expires Sept. 30 and with a looming government shutdown, reauthorization does not appear imminent. Wisconsin farm groups say …
Kentuckians continue to be charged, jailed and fined for cannabis-related offenses at high rates, despite dramatic shifts in public opinion, …
Three conservation groups have sued to stop a large logging project near Yellowstone National Park they say threatens endangered species in Montana…
Elected officials in New York and across the country are urging state and local governments to use new funding available through the Environmental Pro…
A new poll found Pennsylvania Republican voters want political candidates to prioritize preserving and growing manufacturing including tariffs in the …
A California group formed after the firestorm that leveled the town of Paradise is stepping up to help Maui recover from its own disaster last month…