Read the full article by Chris Hubbuch (Wisconsin State Journal)
“Republican lawmakers have blocked the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from enforcing new regulations designed to keep some ‘forever chemicals’ out of the environment.
The Legislature’s rules committee voted 6-4 along party lines Friday to strip key language from a newly adopted rule limiting the use of firefighting foam containing chemicals known as PFAS, including targets for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment.
Democrats accused the committee of ‘neutering’ the state’s first law aimed at curbing PFAS contamination, while the committee’s GOP leaders agreed with industry groups who argued the DNR overstepped its authority.
‘The issue before us goes beyond the intent of the Legislature,’ said co-chair Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater. ‘We can’t let government go rampant.’
Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, accused the committee of backtracking on a bill that was ‘the minimum we can do.’
‘The bar was lowered to the point we can trip over it, and even that was too much,’ Larson said. ‘We are tripping backward over it.’
The temporary rule, which took effect Dec. 4 and will remain in place until a permanent rule is adopted, outlined steps that testing facilities must take to contain and treat fluorinated foam and effectively prohibits them from discharging water with detectable amounts of PFAS.
Industry groups opposed the rule, which was drafted to comply with a GOP-sponsored law passed last year that restricts the use of PFAS foams to emergency situations and testing facilities with ‘appropriate containment, treatment, and disposal measures.’
The law left it to the DNR to define those treatment and disposal measures.
While the law explicitly prohibits the discharge of PFAS-containing foam into storm or septic sewers, it does not define foam, which can be diluted in water without removing the PFAS…”