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Changes To High-Capacity Well Regulation Get Assembly Approval

Bill Would Limit Role Of DNR In Well Repair And Replacement

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Controversial changes to government oversight of high-capacity wells were approved in the state Assembly last night.

The bill would let owners of high-capacity wells repair or replace existing wells without a new permit from the Department of Natural Resources. Owners could also transfer their well permit if they sell their property.

Opponents say the plan pits agricultural businesses who use the wells against the environment. Rep. Katrina Shankland is a Democrat who represents part of the Central Sands region, where many residents worry high-capacity wells are depleting their groundwater.

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“This is one of the worst groundwater bills I’ve seen in the last five years,” she said.

Proponents say the bill provides stability to businesses.

The legislation was amended by lawmakers to include a study of several Central Sands watersheds. The plan now moves to the Senate.