Senate Passes Imperfect PFAS Bill
WI Green Fire, November 16, 2023
On November 14th, 2023, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a version of SB312 (the “PFAS bill”) without important changes offered by Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF), other environmental/conservation groups, and leaders of communities impacted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Over the last several months, the experts on WGF’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern Work Group have evaluated the opportunities and challenges of SB312. Based on that evaluation, WGF provided SB312 authors with bill language focused on cleanup standards for specific sites impacted by PFAS. Additionally, WGF emphasized the need to maintain the environmental protection standards of the “spills law” (WI Statute Ch. 292.11) and quickly distribute the monies of the PFAS Trust Fund to impacted communities and families. Unfortunately, the version that passed, by a vote of 22-11, dismissed many of those concerns and hamstrings the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ ability to evaluate and act on PFAS contamination.
“It is disappointing that the concerns of the environmental and conservation community were excluded from the bill. But we can’t let that disappointment get in the way of our continued work to protect Wisconsinites and their environment from the harm of PFAS,” said WGF Executive Director Meleesa Johnson.
The bill has been sent to the State Assembly where there will be further opportunity to amend the bill. WGF will continue to work with the bill’s authors and the Assembly committee chairs to strengthen the bill.
Johnson also referred to the upcoming WGF Opportunities Now 2.0 publication: “PFAS in Wisconsin Drinking Water: A Summary of Current Detections and their Implications for Wisconsin.” This paper highlights the work ahead for dealing with PFAS contamination and how WGF will continue its work to build a strong conservation future.
For media inquiries or other questions, please contact Meleesa Johnson, WGF Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.