Action Alert from Wisconsin Lakes, November 6, 2013
Amendment to SB302 likely overturns Lake Beulah decision – Bill to be voted out of committee on Thursday
Back in September, we alerted you to SB302, a bill that would rollback the state’s groundwater protection by restricting the ability of DNR to regulate wells old and new, possibly even in cases where there is clear evidence that the well will have a negative impact.
On Thursday, November 7, the Senate Natural Resources Committee is slated to vote on that bill. If, as expected, the bill passes, it could be voted on by the full Senate yet this fall.
But what makes this all the worse is that just a couple of days before the crucial committee vote takes place, an amendment was added to the bill that would overturn the unanimous WI Supreme Court decision, Lake Beulah v DNR, that held that the DNR has a duty to protect surface waters from impacts of overpumping from groundwater.
This bill is simply bad for Wisconsin. In addition to seeking to limit the Constitutional authority of DNR to protect our waters, it adds to the overpumping going on in some parts of Wisconsin by preventing DNR from undertaking sensible oversight so that no one takes more than a region can bear.