GOP Issues “Forever” Access to Wisconsin Groundwater

MADISON – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of SB 76, which would  

“Today, the GOP created an oasis for the wealthy, and a drought for the rest of us, with the irresponsible passage of SB 76. This bill legalizes water siphoning, and has been called ‘death by a thousand straws.’ It will let corporate factory farms suck dry the livelihood of neighboring family farmers, destroying our Wisconsin tradition of fairness and opportunity.

“Technology and modern pumps now allow us to steal the water right from under our neighbor's feet. Looking at cumulative impacts is not only smart conservation science but protects the practice of being a good neighbor. Unfortunately, SB 74 ignores the science, threatening the quality and supply of our water in Wisconsin. Over pumping is draining our groundwater faster than it can safely be recharged. The state has a critical role in protecting our water future; this bill utterly fails to do so.

“My Democratic colleagues and I offered commonsense amendments to this bill that would have allowed for opportunity and fairness when dealing with high-capacity well permits. For instance, a suggested substitute amendment would have ensured the sustainability of our groundwater and put in place a 10-year permit timeline to identify and address over-pumping issues should they arise. The GOP rejected this, and other, Democratic amendments.

“This bill is the fellow down the street yanking the stopper out of your bathtub, to fill his pool.”