New irrigation law signed

State Rep. Aaron Miller’s plan to streamline the approval process for farmers who use irrigation to grow crops was signed into law Friday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Miller said the new law fixes a broken process previously used by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to review water well applications.

He said government inefficiency was unnecessarily costing local crop farmers a tremendous amount of time and money. He explained that under the old system, some farm families reported waiting as long as two years before finally getting the go-ahead to drill a well and water their crops – even though all of the data showed no risk to the environment.

Under the plan laid out in House Bill 5638, the DEQ would have 20 working days to review these alternative water withdrawal applications.

The rules do not apply to municipal water systems or bottled water companies, which fall under different permitting.

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