Fast-tracked bill clears way for high-capacity wells

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Milksource, the largest dairy operation in Wisconsin has contributed $159,350 to Gov. Walker and Republican lawmakers. This investment is buying access to Wisconsin's groundwater resources. Sen. Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, is fast tracking a bill through the Senate which will limit the ability of the DNR to manage and protect Wisconsin's groundwater. Kedzie's bill will undo the 2011 Supreme Court decision that upheld the DNR's authority and duty to consider the impacts of high-capacity wells (100,000 gallons plus per day) on aquifers, neighboring wells and surface waters.
Kedzie argues that mandating the DNR to consider the potential effects of these wells has led to lengthy delays in the permitting process. These delays have drawn complaints from dairy operators, vegetable and potato growers, food processors and factory farm operations that the uncertainty in the permitting process is causing extreme hardships relative to investments in these industries.
 Kedzie's bill follows a provision slipped into the budget which prohibits citizens from contesting high-capacity well permits based on a lack of DNR study of the impacts on ground and surface waters. Kedzie's proposal dovetails this provision by limiting the DNR's ability to use its expertise and discretion to regulate high-capacity wells in a manner that benefits everyone.
 When Gov. Walker declared “Wisconsin Is Open For Business,” little did we realize that this meant our resources and environment would be sold to the highest bidder.

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