White Bear Lake legal ruling suspended by Legislature

by Trevor Russell

Photo courtesy of Freshwater Society

Low water levels in White Bear Lake have been in the headlines for several years. As the problem of overpumping groundwater has come to the fore, it's generated a heated debate around water sustainability in the northeast metro.

In fall 2017, a judge ordered the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to take conservation measures to preserve the aquifer that feeds the lake. However, the Minnesota Legislature has passed a bill that specifically instructs the DNR not to comply with the court's order. 

While the legality of the legislation has come into question, the bill language (covered in a previous Legislative Updates post) was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton despite his reservations.

You can read more about the outcome at Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune.

A more sustainable solution

FMR has long advocated for a more sustainable drinking water approach for the northeast metro: switching their primary community water supply systems to the abundant Mississippi River, while retaining existing wells as backup systems should river levels fall in the driest years.

This is a far more sustainable, affordable and well-researched approach that addresses one of the main sources of the problem: the overpumping of groundwater. 

Any decisions about the future of our groundwater and drinking water must meet our current needs without compromising future generations' ability to meet theirs. That’s the essence of stewardship.

We look forward to working the stakeholders and state agency leaders in pursuing a sustainable groundwater management approach in the metro area in the years to come.

Learn more about how Minnesota's environment and the Mississippi River fared this legislative session at our River Guardians happy hour, June 5. 

More legislative updates