ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says it sees "virtually no scenario" in which it would approve a permit for a company proposing to transfer water from Minnesota to the Southwest.

Empire Builder Investments has proposed drilling two wells in Dakota County that would produce 500 million gallons of water annually to ship to western states by railcar.

The DNR says the company hasn't submitted a water appropriation permit application, but has requested a preliminary well assessment.

The DNR says it must manage public water resources for the benefit of the state and future generations, and it notified Empire Builder Investments on Friday that there's virtually no scenario in which the DNR would grant a water appropriation permit.

A message left with Empire Builder Investments wasn't immediately returned.