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White Bear Lake group sues Minn. DNR over low lake levels

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A group of White Bear Lake residents and business owners filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources because of the lake's historic decline in water levels, the Pioneer Press reports.

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.

The complaint states since 2000, the DNR authorized a 98 percent increase in water appropriations permits for high-capacity wells in a number of cities near the lake. The group provides a copy of the lawsuit on their website.

A record low of 919.21 feet was recorded on October 16, about five feet below its high-water mark.

“Our intention is not to go to court,” business owner Brian McGoldrick tells the White Bear Press. "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 lawsuit asks the court to declare the DNR in violation of the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act and force the agency to restore the lake to a "protected elevation" of 923.5 feet.

A DNR spokesperson says the agency has no comment, according to the Associated Press.

In this video, the Pioneer Press interviews a homeowner who's witnessed the dramatic drop in water levels over the years:

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