Water rights bill proposed in MO Legislature
Companion bills being considered in the Missouri Legislature would make it unlawful to export water outside the state without a permit.
Representative Jamie Burger is a sponsor of one bill.
“There’s an alliance of western states that don’t have the water supplies or resources we have. They’d like to tap into our aquifers or water systems and pump that water west.”
Burger tells Brownfield…
“There’s actually some water being sent out of the state now, but those things in place today are very minute and we don’t want an abundance of water being sent out of the state,” he says. “Irrigation towers along the Arkansas-Missouri border will continue to go on, we’ll grandfather in those.”
Another bill has been introduced in the Missouri Senate by Senator Jason Bean and Missouri Corn is supportive of both bills. Legislative affairs manager Jacob Knaebel says the 2023 drought brought a lot of attention to water resources in the state.
“We’re fortunate in some ways having a water table and aquifers in parts of the state,” says Knaebel. “It also highlights the needs for us to be proactive and make sure, in times of drought, we don’t have any opportunity for other states who might be looking at our abundant resources.”
A House hearing was held earlier this week on the bill and Burger says a few tweaks will be made to the legislation.
“We had a layer of protection in the bill that the General Assembly would need to approve any permit for water to be shipped out of the state. We think that’s probably unconstitutional and get caught up in the courts,” says Burger. “We’re creating a different layer of protection and want the state’s Department of Natural Resources director to be the primary go-to for any permit requests.”
Burger says once the bill is tweaked the House Conservation Committee will take another look at the bill.
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Author: Carah Hart