Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit, accusing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with failing to update the state’s air quality regulations to tougher federal standards. Elizabeth Wheeler is staff attorney for Clean Wisconsin, one of two groups that have filed the suit, claiming air quality enforcement and permitting in Wisconsin continues under “outdated, inadequate standards.”
“The state of Wisconsin is expected to update our code whenever a federal standard is updated, so that our permitting program is in alignment with federal requirements,” Wheeler said.
But Pat Stevens with the DNR said the largest air pollution sources are already meeting the federal standards, and that air quality in the state is good. As for the new federal standards, “all these are a work in progress, in terms of the state moving forward and getting these (regulations) on to the state books,” Stevens said.
The lawsuit seeks to force the DNR to order the updates and put a hold on all pending air permits until that happens. Clean Wisconsin says the state’s lax standards have led to more health problems, including more asthma among children.