The Continued Saga of High Capacity Well Regulation in Wisconsin

The long, winding road of high capacity well regulation in Wisconsin took another unexpected left turn when Attorney General Joshua L. Kaul issued DNR Secretary Preston Cole a letter on May 1, 2020. The letter formally withdrew an Attorney General Opinion issued by Kaul’s predecessor in 2016, throwing Wisconsin’s high capacity well permit program back to a state of uncertainty while the regulated community awaits the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s action on the matter.

The May 10, 2016 Attorney General Opinion (OAG-01-16) was authored by former Attorney General Brad Schimel in response to a request from The Hon. Robin Vos, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Organization. Voss sought the Attorney General’s opinion concerning the application of Section 227.10(2m) Wis. Stats. -- enacted by 2011 Wisconsin Act 21 (Act 21)-- to the issuance of high capacity well permits by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). The request asked the Attorney General to opine on whether WDNR had the authority to consider “cumulative impacts” from a proposed high capacity well, coupled with existing wells, as WDNR processed well applications.

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Ken Notes: We need good policy here. CAFOs and large farms are operating under regulations that were not designed to address the impact these entities have on our aquifer.



- - Volume: 8 - WEEK: 26 Date: 6/22/2020 10:28:40 AM -