Read the full article by Danielle Kaeding (Wisconsin Public Radio)

“Environmental and citizens groups are looking to get involved in a legal dispute between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state’s largest business association over how state regulators address PFAS contamination. They fear the lawsuit could undermine a state environmental law that protects communities dealing with the so-called forever chemicals.

In February, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Oconomowoc-based dry cleaner Leather Rich filed a lawsuit against the DNR, agency Secretary Preston Cole and the Natural Resources Board. The business group claims the DNR is overstepping its authority by requiring businesses to investigate and clean up PFAS chemicals. 

WMC argues the agency has no ‘explicit authority’ to enforce any standards or requirements regarding PFAS in state cleanup programs while the DNR has said it has authority to require testing under the state’s spills law.

On Monday, Midwest Environmental Advocates, a nonprofit law center, filed a request to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of multiple environmental groups, including the River Alliance of Wisconsin, Citizens for a Clean Wausau, Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin, Wisconsin Environmental Health Network and Marinette resident Doug Oitzinger. They say they want the opportunity to defend the state’s spills law in court.

‘The spills law is the only meaningful protection that the state has to protect Wisconsin communities from PFAS. In fact, the federal government currently does not have meaningful regulatory protection,’ said Tony Wilkin Gibart, executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates…”