Industry groups chafed at pumping limits, and said the DNR was overstepping its authority. But independent scientific studies linked high-capacity wells to dwindling water levels that were alarming waterfront homeowners, vacationers and fishing enthusiasts. The GOP’s majority in the Legislature failed several times to pass legislation removing regulations.
In 2016, a committee of GOP legislators led by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, asked Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to issue a formal opinion on well regulation. Schimel said the DNR had overstepped the authority, and the agency stopped making well permitting decisions based on environmental impact of all wells in an area.
Now permits are decided based on the affect of wells on the well owner’s property, without regard to how much is being withdrawn by surrounding wells.