Vermont Republicans understand the meaning of 'public trust'.
Responding to groundwater debates from Williston (where neighbors fought over well water) to Danby (where residents opposed a mining operation), Ms. Lyons and State Senator Diane Snelling, a Republican, won passage this year of a measure declaring groundwater to be a commonly owned resource. In legal parlance, it becomes a public trust.
The new law notwithstanding, there are still few restrictions on using groundwater, but the new system is designed to help map it, measure it and apportion it. It puts home and farm uses of water at the front of the line in case of shortages and makes large-scale withdrawals, like those envisioned by Mr. Antonovich, who owns the land where the spring emerges, subject to new permits and monitoring.
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