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Legislation would ease path for big water wells

Big water users would have easier time getting permits

MADISON, Wis. - Big water users would have an easier time getting permits to drill high-capacity wells under legislation Republicans have tucked into Gov. Scott Walker's budget.

The GOP language would block any challenges to permits based on the argument that the state Department of Natural Resources failed to consider the cumulative impact of such a well and other nearby wells on the environment. The Legislature's budget committee adopted the provision last month.

The measure would eliminate potential legal hurdles for mining operations and large farms that use vast amounts of water.

The proposal comes as opponents of a proposed Adams County factory farm fight a permit allowing two high-capacity wells at the site. One of their arguments is the DNR didn't consider the total impact of the two wells and surrounding wells.

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