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Fight over well water near Lake Superior could land in court

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) — A grassroots citizen group is pushing back against a Duluth company’s proposal to bottle and sell water from a well near Lake Superior.

Opponents say allowing Kristle KLR to go forward would exploit a loophole in a landmark agreement barring water diversions from the Great Lakes and it could threaten water resources in the region.

An appeals board in Bayfield County has upheld the denial of a special land use permit that would allow Kristle Majchrzak and Robert Glau to tap into the water on their property in the Town of Clover.

Their attorney, Jack Perry, of Minneapolis, says they will appeal the board’s decision in Bayfield County Circuit Court, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Perry argues the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has sole permitting authority over groundwater wells. He said the county could be exposed to more than $250,000 in damages and legal fees for denying the proposal.

But, the town’s attorney, Max Lindsey, contends the county is exercising its authority over land use. He argued the proposal doesn’t qualify for the permit because it’s in an area that is zoned for residential development and recreational use.

The group, Lake Superior Not For Sale, with its 2,200 members, said granting the permit would allow Majchrzak and Glau, her father, to skirt the Great Lakes Compact signed by eight Great Lakes governors in 2008.

The compact prevents water diversions outside the Great Lakes basin with limited exceptions. The compact allows water to be removed from the Great Lakes basin in containers of 5.7 gallons or less.

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