Legislation addressing “forever chemicals” is ready for a state Senate vote after passing the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy on Wednesday.
“It really is focused on helping people get drinking water in both rural areas and in cities, and also inducing people to test and do what it takes to fix their problem,” said Committee on Natural Resources and Energy Chair Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay).
SB-312, authored by Wimberger and Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) creates several grant programs to assist municipal water treatment plants and private well owners and landowners with pollution from the chemical compounds known as PFAS.
Democrats on the committee didn’t support the bill, citing concerns about limitations placed on the Department of Natural Resources to regulate PFAS. “There are many good parts of this bill, such as supporting our municipalities and private well owners with grants to fight forever chemicals.” said Senator Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) “I can’t support this legislation today though, because I do believe it limits the authority of the DNA – or the DNR sorry – to combat PFS contamination around the state.”
Wimberger said those concerns are overblown, and that the bill protects property owners from having their land values reduced. The bill appears to be headed towards a veto from Democratic Governor Tony Evers. “Republicans still don’t share our commitment to finding real, meaningful solutions to the pressing water quality issues facing our state.” Evers spokesperson Britt Cudaback said in a statement following Wednesday’s vote.