|Dear Friend, The last few years have shown us two things: As drought deepens in the West more proposals arise to pipe or ship Minnesota’s waters to these areas as a solution.As more waters become polluted in other states, water dependent industries are moving to Minnesota. On Feb. 18th, 2023 the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, “During the 2021 drought, nearly 800 Minnesota farmers with high-capacity wells pumped 6.5 billion more gallons of water than their permits allowed…. The overpumping in 2021 put more stress on already depleted aquifers, lakes and streams and raised the risk that neighboring wells would run dry.” The fines DNR can charge those who violated their permits amount to “an extra $10.50 — roughly the cost of a Big Mac with large fries.” Our current permitting system does not provide the DNR with the tools they need to protect our waters. There is currently little disincentive to over-pump a permit. HF 1873/SF 2458 enhances DNR permitting and enforcement capacity to meet this challenge.