Polluting the Groundwater Process Bill Opens Door for Polluters Print
Written by Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Ryan Billingham   
Thursday, 13 February 2020 19:28

clean-drinking-waterProposed legislation a thinly veiled attempt by polluters to influence unbiased groundwater standards process.

MADISON – Action on clean water legislation is reaching a fever pitch in the waning days of the legislative session, but one bill stands out as a sneak attack on clean water.

The bill, AB 794, is an all-access pass for polluting special interests to influence the establishment of Wisconsin’s groundwater pollution standards.

As if often the case with legislation supported by pro-polluter groups like the American Chemistry Council, the Wisconsin Paper Council, and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, it is masquerading as something else – a public access bill.

The Polluting the Groundwater Process Bill (AB 794) would allow polluters to interfere in a process that for decades has protected the establishment of science-based groundwater standards from being influenced by corporate polluters with a vested interest in making those standards weaker.

clean-drinking-water“For more than 35 years, the state’s process for setting groundwater standards has protected its citizens from toxins like mercury and chemicals like PCBs,” said Government Affairs Director Jennifer Giegerich. “It’s helped stop more than 135 toxic substances from infiltrating the groundwater, which hundreds of thousands of us depend on for drinking water.”

The current process already includes robust public input opportunities for everyone – citizens, clean water advocates, and polluters alike. Still, polluters want more access. Particularly at the stage in the process when unbiased science is most critical – when the Department of Health Services is making its standards recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources.

“Corporate polluters are laying the groundwork to interfere with the groundwater standards process because they sense public outrage about toxic chemicals in groundwater is becoming widespread enough that legislators, even those they helped elect, are finally listening,” Communications Director Ryan Billingham said. “Every single person in the State Capitol who claims to be working in our best interest including representatives, senators, and all the way up to the governor, can’t be fooled by these forces anymore. It’s too damaging, too dangerous, and too irresponsible to look the other way.”

Wisconsin Conservation Voters is asking elected representatives to oppose the Polluting the Groundwater Process Bill (AB 794).