We’re ready for whatever lies ahead

Oct 19, 2022 | Citizen Advocacy, Clean Water Now, Water Policy

Allison Werner headshotWisconsin is at a crossroads. What happens on November 8th will either leave us with the status quo in the state legislature, or we will find ourselves under the control of one political party. Either path will have significant consequences for environmental policies.

You’ve witnessed the stalemate of political inaction over the past few years. You may remember the rollbacks to environmental laws under Scott Walker’s administration. It’s disappointing when our state legislature doesn’t make clean water a priority when it is something Wisconsinites can unite on, but it’s outright frightening to think of how easily water protections can be eroded with one party dominating the state legislature, the executive office, and a conservative-leaning supreme court.

After Governor Evers declared 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water, we worked to organize Wisconsinites to bring their water protection concerns to the Speaker’s Water Quality Task Force hearings. While we knew the task force was not likely to accomplish all the needed policy changes to provide people with clean water now and repair our broken water management system, we did see some progress and a willingness for both sides of the legislative aisle to work together.

One example is Assembly Bill 727, which was signed by Governor Evers and provides a small amount of funding for pilot projects for commercial nitrogen optimization pilots and cover crop insurance premium rebates. Around 100,000 Wisconsin families have high nitrate levels in their water wells and need help to have safe drinking water. Our state also needs systemic changes that support farming practices that keep fertilizer pollution out of our groundwater.

In recent news articles, Republican legislators Senator Robert Cowles of Green Bay and Representative Todd Novak of Dodgeville acknowledged that we need to do more to protect Wisconsin’s water. We expect Adams, Bayfield, Juneau, Green, and Outagamie Counties to join Eau Claire, La Crosse, Marquette, Portage, and Wood Counties to vote YES to the advisory Clean Water Now referendum questions this fall and send a clear, bipartisan message to their state legislators that they want action to protect our water. Learn more at voteforcleanwater.com.

Whether we face more of the same or a new era of environmental rollbacks, we will need every River Rat to be ready to speak up for clean water in 2023. We will pick our battles, but we need each of you to sign up for our email updates at wisconsinrivers.org, contact your legislators when the time is right, and invite others to join us in this work.


– Allison Werner, Executive Director


This message is made possible by generous donors who believe people have the power to protect and restore water. Become a member of River Alliance of Wisconsin today.