Judge allows suit against DNR over White Bear Lake levels

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A lawsuit filed by a group of residents and business owners that claims the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is to blame for a major drop in water levels at White Bear Lake will proceed.

In a court order filed Wednesday, Ramsey County District Court Judge Margaret Marrinan denied the DNR's request to dismiss the lawsuit, the Star Tribune reports.

The newspaper said White Bear Lake has plummeted more than 5 feet in the last decade to a record low on Jan. 10.

Members of the White Bear Lake Restoration Association claim the DNR allowed excessive municipal groundwater pumping, which was found to be contributing to the cause of decreasing water levels, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

According to the complaint, the DNR authorized a 98 percent increase in water appropriations permits for high-capacity wells in a number of cities near the lake since 2000.

“Our intention is not to go to court,” business owner Brian McGoldrick told the White Bear Press last year. “We just want the DNR to do something. By the time it goes through the court system the lake will be gone, it will hit a point of no return.”

The Metropolitan Council is considering a plan that would divert water from the Mississippi River to White Bear Lake to restore water levels. A $2 million study, funded by Clean Water Legacy funds, that includes the proposed project launches this month.

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