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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2009 House Bill 5319: Replace right to reasonable groundwater use with requiring government permission
  1. Introduced by Rep. Dan Scripps (D) on September 9, 2009, to establish that groundwater is a “public trust.” This would repeal the current legal doctrine that gives the owner of real property a property right to the reasonable use of groundwater, to the extent this does not diminish the ability of neighboring property owners to obtain water. Instead, the use of ground water would be conditional, subject to state approval and regulation. The current “riparian” water use doctrine is the norm east of the Mississippi River, but not in arid states of the west. Note: Michigan has already taken a first step toward this change, with the passage of Public Act 33, Senate Bill 850 of 2005 sponsored by Sen. Patricia Birkholz, R-Saugatuck, and with subsequent groundwater use permit mandate legislation.
    • Referred to the House Great Lakes and Environment Committee on September 9, 2009.

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