Friday, July 16, 2021

Republicans are enabling 'forever' toxins now found in Eau Claire city wells

7/16/21 update from 7/14/21:

But wait, it gets worse, and the dirty hand of Robin Vos is involved. 

Bill Could Reduce DNR’s Regulatory Authority Over PFAS

Drafting files of the bill obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio reveal further details surrounding the intent of lawmakers behind the legislation, as well as the involvement of staff working for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

The files show that Vos’ staff member Jake Wolf requested language from Evers’ proposed PFAS municipal grant program, including several revisions. Those changes included reducing the area that would be eligible for funding to test for PFAS down from 3 miles to 1 mile from a contaminated site.

The revisions also included the bill’s proposal to bar local governments from seeking additional payments for PFAS damages if they receive grant money, as well as adding language to explicitly restrict local authority to regulate PFAS. 


Eau Claire means "clear water" in French, but to the state Republican Pollution Party - 

- which also runs the Wisconsin Legislature, Wisconsin's 8th largest city is just a stop on the northwestern leg on those same lawmakers' [sic] 'Enjoy Your Toxic Water Tour,' noted on this blog five weeks ago: 

WI's gerrymandered GOP legislators say they will delete funding to replace lead water pipes; they did the same thing two years ago because too many kids in Milwaukee might have gotten the benefit

And to stay consistent with that embrace of lead-laden household water pipes and their long-standing support of animal waste in well water, Republican legislators are refusing to write statewide standards into the budget that would speed the removal of toxic "forever chemicals" from state waters.

And here's a one-month timeline which Eau Claire might have trouble swallowing: 

July 14, 2021: 

PFAS detected in City of Eau Claire wells  
According to a release by the City of Eau Claire, four city wells were found to have PFAS levels that exceeded newly-recommended safety levels that were instituted in June by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resource and the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services. City officials say that the four wells were immediately shut off.

June 14, 2021: 

Republicans eliminate proposed DNR programs from budget, including several measures to fight 'forever chemical' contamination

Republican lawmakers in charge of the state's budget-writing process eliminated a number of key initiatives aimed at confronting a growing number of "forever chemical" contaminations across the state. 

Members of the state's Joint Finance Committee voted Thursday to eliminate 11 proposed scientist positions for the Department of Natural Resources, a grant program for communities fighting a contamination and a program that would test all public water supplies for the toxic chemicals. 

Previously removed from the budget were several other measures, including standards for PFAS, measures to force businesses found to have released the chemicals into the environment to take responsibility and funding for certified PFAS testing labs and hazardous substance discharge investigations. 

And, remember, you've been warned, Monroe County

And Dane County.