State Will Weigh Combined Environmental Impacts When Permitting New High-Capacity Wells

Wisconsin DNR Changes Review After Withdrawal Of 2016 Opinion

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says it will once again consider the collective environmental impacts of high-capacity wells on state waters when warranted. The move comes after Attorney General Josh Kaul withdrew a contested opinion limiting the agency`s authority.

High-capacity wells can draw more than 100,000 gallons per day for irrigation or other industrial uses, but they`ve raised concerns due to waters drying up in some areas of the state.

Adam Freihoefer, the DNR`s water use section chief, said the shift affects the department`s review of high-capacity wells that may impact navigable waters or municipal water supplies.

"We`re looking at the proposed well, and all existing environmental impacts from existing wells when we`re looking at if there`s an adverse impact to those resources," said Freihoefer.

On May 1, Kaul withdrew the 2016 opinion issued by former Attorney General Brad Schimel in a letter to the DNR, saying two court rulings had since "concluded" or "implied" Schimel`s interpretation was wrong. DNR Secretary Preston Cole had questioned whether the opinion was still valid.

Ken Notes: Of course when challenged in court, the final decision will still lead to a very conservative supreme court...

- - Volume: 8 - WEEK: 24 Date: 6/8/2020 10:58:21 AM -