It is hard to keep up with the policy depredation emerging daily from Gov. Walker, the GOP-run, WMC-compliant legislature and their coordinated disregard for public resources.
But ramming through without a hearing or even a nod of the head to basic science by detaching high-capacity well approvals from their cumulative impacts is a total wipe out of the state constitution's Public Trust Doctrine protecting state waters managed according to state law and Supreme Court precedents in the public interest.
As the DNR itself still explains on its Public Trust Doctrine website:
Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine requires the state to intervene to protect public rights in the commercial or recreational use of navigable waters. The DNR, as the state agent charged with this responsibility, can do so through permitting requirements for water projects, through court action to stop nuisances in navigable waters, and through statutes authorizing local zoning ordinances that limit development along navigable waterways.
The court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions. "A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.(2)
Sources: (1) Quick, John. 1994. The Public Trust Doctrine in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1. (2) "Champions of the Public Trust, A History of Water Use in Wisconsin" study guide. 1995. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Water Regulation and Zoning. Champions of the Public Trust [PDF].Total insanity.
Details from WisPolitics, here.