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Republicans to consider more dollars for high-cap well study

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans who control the Legislature’s finance committee are poised to consider whether to release more money to continue a study on high-capacity wells’ effect on central Wisconsin groundwater.

Conservationists have long argued high-capacity wells are depleting water bodies and groundwater in that region. The GOP passed a bill in 2017 requiring the Department of Natural Resources to study the effects of wells on lakes and watersheds in Adams, Portage, Waushara and Wood counties.

The 2017-19 state budget provided an ongoing appropriation of $400,000 from the state’s environmental-management account, a fund built mainly with state landfill fees.

The DNR started the study in spring 2018 and has nearly spent its first allotment of $400,000. The department expects to complete its work in 2021 and has asked the finance committee to release another $487,300 from the environmental management account. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the account will finish the 2020-21 fiscal year with a $19.3 million balance.

The committee is scheduled to consider the request during a meeting on Thursday in the state Capitol.

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