Story by WRN/Bob Hague
Republican lawmakers insist the issue of high capacity wells is not pitting the state’s agriculture industry against tourism. That’s a concern raised by opponents of a bill that would ease permitting restrictions on some high capacity wells. State Representative Gary Tauchen is the bill’s Assembly sponsor.
“I’d say that agriculture and manufacturing are our two biggest economic drivers in our state. Tourism is important, that’s number three,” Tauchen said Tuesday as the Assembly prepared to debate the measure. Tauchen said concerns about lowered water levels are limited to just four lake in the state’s Central Sands region.
“Let’s just remember that stat: over a thousand lakes in the Central Sands . . . and for of them are the one that people focus on” said Speaker Robin Vos.
“There’s got be be a balance (between agriculture and tourism)” said Governor Scott Walker. “I think we can do both.”
The bill, which has already passed the Senate, also includes a provision for a DNR study of three of the four lakes were lower water levels have occurred. Tauchen said data from that study will be useful to guide decisions on water usage in the future.
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