At the Capitol, a proposal would create a state Office of Water Quality. It would be attached to the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey of the Division of Extension of UW-Madison. Why not DATCP or DNR?

“One of the things that I’ve found when we were doing hearings (on water quality issues) is credibility of the different agencies,” said Representative Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) during a hearing before the Senate’s environment committee on Thursday. “Let’s be honest. The DNR, DATCP, these are all political appointees.”

“I would think that we would be much better served if the Office of Water Quality, which I think is an important function, was located in place where it could be most effective,” said state Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona).

The bill (SB 709) requires the governor to appoint as director of the office, someone with experience in managing water resources. “The goals of this are commendable, certainly these issues . .  are ones that are very important to work on and that we have been working on,” said Todd Ames with the Wisconsin DNR. “We just wanted to not that the location is probably not as good as others that have been suggested.”

Also on Thursday, a bipartisan proposal was from state Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Dave Hansen (Green Bay) would be aimed at dealing with PFAS, including a provision that would give the DNR up to three years to put in place emergency rules as it addresses the toxic chemical. WisPolitics reports that Governor Tony Evers immediately indicated he’d sign the bill if it reached his desk.

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