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Senate OKs high-cap well bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate has approved a Republican bill that would relax high-capacity well regulations.

The Senate voted 19-13 to approve the bill during a rare morning session Wednesday. The body was poised to vote Tuesday but Democrats used a procedural move to delay the vote until Wednesday morning.

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

Conservationists fear the bill will protect problem wells and help deplete state waters. Republicans say farmers who need high-capacity wells for irrigation deserve regulatory certainty.

The bill goes next to the state Assembly.

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