MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is a “no go” as of Friday afternoon on a proposal to ship millions of gallons of Minnesota water to other states.

The preliminary plan would mean 500 million gallons of water would head west, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is putting a stop to the proposal.

Minnesota law is quite protective of fresh water, so DNR officials told the company trying to move water — Empire Builder Investments — that their plan is all but impossible under state law.

The idea was to get groundwater from Randolph near Lake Byllesby, then to transport it via railroad to western states — an area of the country that’s struggled with droughts.

Michele Kennedy lives near Randolph, and says the proposal raised her concerns.

“If somebody is going to be depleting our aquifer to ship it to someplace else, no, I don’t like it at all,” Kennedy said.

The DNR says statutes are in place to make sure the water supply in the proposed area is intact for generations to come. The company will have the option to resubmit a proposal.

It’s complicated to take water from Minnesota and ship it out of state. It would take lawmaker action to change that, and we would see that discussed next session.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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