It was a disappointing legislative session for Wisconsin Conservation Voters. Jennifer Giegerich is Government Affairs Director for the environmental lobby group, which released its annual Conservation Scorecard this week.
“Not a single clean water bill addressing root causes of water pollution passed this session,” Giegerich said. “And there was not even a single public hearing addressing climate change, one of the top issues addressing our planet.”
The group inducted Speaker Robin Vos into its “Conservation Dishonor Roll” – the only lawmaker to earn that distinction this year. “When we looked at every bad bad bill or any bad situation that came up over the past legislative session, we kept coming back to Speaker Vos being the root cause of it.” Vos’ office did not respond to a request for comment.
Jeff Lamont of Marinette, a community where PFAs contamination remains a major concern, was on a media call this week announcing the group’s Scorecard.
“It was so frustrating . . . that we worked so hard on drafting this legislation with Senator Hansen’s office, and then bringing (Rep. John) Nygren and him together for a compromise bill, and having Vos just shut it down, not even bringing it to a vote,” Lamont said.
While great hopes were pinned on the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality at the time Vos announced it’s formation, Giegrich charges it was “a sham,” which accomplished little.
“There were 13 bills that were introduced by the water quality task force. And rather than being a substantive package that would tackle long term problems like nitrate contamination in rural areas, or addressing new issues like setting standards for PFAs, these bills were . . . very small in scope. Almost half of them would have had almost no impact on water quality. And then three of those bills would have actually set us back for protecting water quality in the state of Wisconsin.”
While the package of bills did pass the Assembly with bipartisan support in February, none of the measure were subsequently taken up by the state Senate.