Package also contains ‘poison pill’ designed to give polluters undue influence in water policymaking 

MADISON – The Wisconsin Legislature will pass 13 water-related bills today, all of which – either alone or combined – are inadequate for addressing the state’s water quality crisis.

Even worse, the package includes an anti-clean water bill that threatens to sabotage any progress the other bills might create. 

The Polluting the Process Bill (AB 794) is designed to look innocuous, but would interfere with the state’s ability to create groundwater standards based on data and science. This is particularly problematic because groundwater is the source of most of Wisconsin’s drinking water. AB 794 turns the process for protecting our public health over to the influence of corporate polluters.  

“You can pass water bills all day long, but when those bills are inadequate and contain a poison pill bought and paid for by polluters, that is a failure,” said Executive Director Kerry Schumann.

Wisconsin Conservation Voters issued expectations last year in its Water Quality Protection Checklist – a set of actions necessary to adequately address the drinking water crisis in Wisconsin in a comprehensive manner.

The task force’s recommendations, released last month, represented a failing grade. Of the eight items on the checklist, only one – the endorsement of the SCHOOLs bills that will address lead contamination in schools and daycares – was fully checked off. 

While the package of bills passed today will qualify as an overall failure to prevent our water quality problems, the legislature does have time to bring two separate bills to the floor before this session ends that will begin to protect Wisconsinites from PFAS – and the terrifying links to cancer, fertility dysfunction, liver disease, and other illnesses that come with them.

These two bills – AB 842 and AB 843 –  would set emergency standards for two of the most prevalent PFAS chemicals and give authority to the DNR to hold polluters accountable. While these bills are not a complete solution, they are a compromise that would make a difference to people who are suffering from PFAS contamination.

“When we’re talking about a lost pregnancy or a cancer diagnosis due to toxic drinking water, there’s only one option that makes sense,” Schumann said. “When you get down to it, it’s a matter of morality: we must do everything in our power to protect one another from these devastating – and preventable – illnesses. Unfortunately, politics at the State Capitol seem to have made too many legislators lose sight of what they set out to do – protect our drinking water.” 


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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley

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