Governor Evers directs DNR to ask legislature for PFAS funds

Dec 19, 2023 | Drinking Water

We applaud Governor Evers for directing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to formally request $125 million from the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance to take immediate action on PFAS contamination. 

The state legislature already approved these funds in the state budget, but legislators spent too much time listening to the agendas of big business and didn’t pass legislation in the interests of communities living with polluted drinking water. 

The Governor also asked the state legislature to allow the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – and its policy making body, the Natural Resources Board – to set PFAS standards for groundwater. 

“What is clear to us is that our state leaders have a moral obligation to treat the pollution of our drinking water as an urgent problem to solve,” said River Alliance of Wisconsin Executive Director Allison Werner. “Ensuring clean drinking water to Wisconsin families is more important than partisan politics. State legislators are playing power games while families are suffering from state legislators ignoring the actions of polluters.”

The Wis. Stat. s. 13.10 request from the Governor is simply a start. 

“It’s because we have let polluters off the hook for so long that the price tag for fixing PFAS pollution will be high and borne by the taxpayers through our pocketbooks and compromises to our health,” said Werner. “Ultimately, polluters need to be held accountable for their actions and that includes paying for the mess they created.”

The state legislature created the REINS act and included an arbitrary spending cap of $10 million in costs to apply a new law. The state legislature also has the power to override this cap and allow a rule, like PFAS limits in the groundwater Wisconsinites use for private drinking water wells, to go forward. It is clear that Wisconsin’s clean drinking water is valuable. It is unfortunate that the actions of polluters in the past will now cost us so much to clean up. 

The Joint Committee on Finance must act quickly to approve this funding and allow the DNR to use its power and its programs to provide relief to Wisconsinites who can’t drink their water due to PFAS pollution. 

Read more about the news in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and in Governor Evers’ press release.

 

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