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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

 5:23 PM 

Senate approves high-capacity well bill, but legislation likely dead for session

The Senate voted along party lines to approve legislation that would allow owners of high-capacity wells to repair, maintain or replace them without needing a new permit.

But it appears the legislation is dead for the session. The Senate bill, which cleared 19-13, differs from the one the Assembly signed off on earlier, and that chamber is not expected to return.

The main difference between the two bills is a provision in AB 874 lets people file a nuisance lawsuit claiming they are "unreasonably harmed" by the lowering of a water table or the reduction of pressure caused by someone else's well. The Senate version does not include that provision.

A high-capacity well is defined as one that, along with other wells on the property, can pump more than 100,000 gallons of water per day. 

Dems railed against the bill, saying it ceded control over existing wells and undercut the state’s responsibility to oversee the public interest in protecting groundwater. 

“It is privatizing Wisconsin’s groundwater,” said Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona.

No Republicans defended the bill on the Senate floor.


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