PFAS legislation creates more problems than solutions

Oct 11, 2023 | Drinking Water

Proposed changes in SB312, the bill that should provide relief to communities who are suffering with PFAS pollution in their drinking water make the bill worse, not better.  

“The legislature’s job here was not hard: use the money they set aside to help municipalities and truly innocent landowners deal with PFAS contamination,” said River Alliance of Wisconsin Senior Legal Analyst Bill Davis. “Instead the legislature took three and half months to make the bill worse.  Now entities who are neither innocent nor landowners would be eligible for state funding.”

In a fundamental change, the interplay between the sections that limit DNR authority and the “innocent landowner” provisions potentially create a shift in responsibility for pollution clean ups from polluters to the Department of Natural Resources, and ultimately taxpayers.  This would quickly drain the funds the legislature set aside to work on PFAS issues which were not enough to begin with.  

“The language could give too much power to the legislature and DNR leadership to broadly allow corporations to qualify as “innocent” landowners who are eligible for clean up funding and let them off the hook for responsibility for clean ups,” said Davis. “Changes would take resources away from individual landowners, homeowners, and families.”

Further, legislators took nearly four months to amend this bill and released language a day before the Senate committee’s executive session to vote on it. People who are living with PFAS in their drinking water deserve better.  At the very least, they should have enough time to review the language and tell legislators what changes need to be made. 

River Alliance of Wisconsin opposes this version of SB312.  It should not be advanced, and if passed it should be vetoed by the Governor.

– Stacy Harbaugh, Communications Director


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