The Missouri House of Representatives is considering a recently passed Senate bill related to releasing certain confidential information by the Missouri Geological Survey. The bill from Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, explains that all information from the Missouri Geological Survey is to remain confidential and not to be released to the public in responding to open records requests.

The proposal involves major water users who divert water from any source.

“This document incudes personally identifiable information including names, mailing addresses of the applicant,” he said. “Under current law, the information on the registration document is not considered confidential and is subject to public records requests under the sunshine law.”

Lisa Pannett with ArmorVine, a political advocacy group, opposed the bill.

“We deserve to know who would be usurping our water,” she said. “We talked about not liking the permit process, and yet, that’s what we’re talking about doing in that next water bill is a permit process. Once again, who’s carved out? The public water system, not the municipal water system that you all know of.”

Luetkemeyer said that it’s aimed at protecting the privacy of Missouri’s farmers.

“The senate substitute that was perfected and voted out of the senate only applies to information for major water users on agricultural land in Missouri,” he said. “Originally it was broader and would have applied to anybody. This limits it back to farmland.”

The senate-approved bill awaits possible House floor debate, but there are less than two weeks to go before the legislative session concludes.

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