Wednesday, March 17, 2021

'Forever chemicals' require toughened WI water programs

I had hoped that Scott Walker's eight-year war on the environment which I spread out across a blog series in 2018 would come to an end with his defeat.

Shame on me.

Take a look at the Wisconsin GOP's habitual and now deepening disregard for clean drinking water

as explained in a Wednesday newsletter distributed by UpNorthNews about why 'forever chemical' pollutants in state waters may be 'forever-and-ever' in Wisconsin: 

Republicans Are Using an Obscure Rules Process to Undermine the Original Intent of Laws in a Variety of Ways Affecting WI Life

  • This week...legislative Republicans put forward proposals that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from enforcing a law passed last year to prevent industrial chemicals from entering waterways....But instead of legislating on the issues themselves, all of this action would happen through the rule-making process for bills that have already become law.
  • An obscure but powerful panel known as the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) oversees how rules are written and implemented. In December, JCRAR held a hearing in which it killed the rules put forward by the DNR to enforce the "PFAS" law passed last year, effectively making the law unenforceable. PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, do not break down easily and are linked to causing cancer and other health problems. 

Look: this is not complicated: people in Wisconsin - and everywhere - need, want and deserve clean water to drink, and in which to fish, swim, and bathe.

They don't need, want or deserve to drink, fish, swim or bathe in water that carries industrial chemicals, heavy metals or animal waste. 

So Wisconsin needs stronger, not weaker groundwater and drinking water standards and enforcement practices; a multiplicity of evidence statewide is publicly-available, longstandingwidespread and incontrovertibly damning.

Which means that this absolutely is the wrong time for public health agencies like the Wisconsin DNR to capitulate to political and special-interest pressures by even thinking about stepping back from effective and assertive clean water policies.  

It's too bad the 2013 words and wisdom of West Bend business leader John Torinus which I grabbed off his blog in 2013 remain unheeded, especially after the 'forever chemical' threat emerged on top of so many other threats to state waters:

Business and media veteran John Torinus - - appreciating clean water and the many benefits it confers - - poses the right observations about the Right at the end of another of his fine essays:

I have always had a hard time figuring out why conservatives in the GOP have gone anti-conservation. Conserving valuable resources, like our drinking and recreational waters, is a conservative thing to do. It should be looked at as an investment, not spending.

Conservation is also good politics. All polls show that a large majority of Americans, including hunters and anglers, are pro-conservation.

The GOP shouldn’t let short-sighted accountants drive the bus.

1 comment:

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