Wisconsin PFAS rules may be in trouble

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin may not end up with new rules for regulating forever chemicals, despite broad agreement at the state capitol.

Sens. Eric Wimberger, R-Green Bay, and Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, said Gov. Tony Evers is negotiating in bad faith.

“We’re disappointed by the insincerity of the governor and his political staff who are either ill-informed or are grossly misrepresenting the facts,” the two said in a statement after a committee vote on their plan.

The senators say they’ve been talking for months with the governor’s office and have agreed to about 80%of what the governor wants.

“Hours upon hours have been spent in meetings with DNR leadership, including two in-person meetings in just the past two weeks. On top of meetings, countless emails and phone calls with DNR staff and the secretary, many outside of business hours, have further helped to push negotiations forward,” the two said. “If roughly 80% compromise towards the Evers’ Administration is not enough, then let’s get real and recognize that Evers, [ DNR Secretary Adam] Payne and their leadership teams only want their way or the highway.”

Wimberger said the administration wants more power to fine landowners over PFAS contamination. Wimberger said the point of these new PFAS rules is not punishment.

“This legislation looks to help people who, by no fault of their own, find themselves with PFAS contamination in their water and soil,” Wimberger told reporters. “It does not seek to answer legal questions related to interested parties embroiled in litigation. It is a grant program for people who need drinking water.”

A senate committee approved the PFAS rules that Wimberger and Cowles wrote.

Evers’ office continues to say he’s not on board with the plan. The senators say without the governor’s support, the new PFAS rules will simply die.

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