Assembly OKs high-cap well bill

Gov. Walker says he'll sign legislation
Assembly OKs high-cap well bill

The state Assembly has approved a bill that would relax regulations on high-capacity wells and sent the measure on to Gov. Scott Walker.

The Republican bill would exempt well repairs, replacements, reconstructions and ownership transfers from Department of Natural Resources oversight. It also would require the DNR to study lakes and streams in the central sands region to determine whether special measures are needed to protect ground and surface waters from depletion.

Opponents insist the bill would protect problem wells forever. Supporters say farmers need water for irrigation and regulatory certainty.

The Senate approved the bill last month. Debate in the Assembly went on for about two-and-a-half hours before the chamber finally voted 62-35 to pass the measure.

Walker has signaled he plans to sign the bill, saying Tuesday that protecting agriculture is a priority.