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What Does Clean Water In Wisconsin Look Like? Group Has Guide

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Gov. Tony Evers declared 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos created a bipartisan task force to deliver solutions to water problems plaguing Wisconsin communities.

Wisconsin Conservation Voters has compiled a checklist to help lawmakers understand what success is, and how to address the state’s water quality crisis in a comprehensive manner.

Spokesperson Ryan Billingham says the goal is give a clear guide to legislators what clean water means...

"...We wanted legislators to know who are in session what victory for clean water looks like what we expect of them and how conservation voters across the state will judge them in the upcoming session..."

The checklist will also serve as the criteria for how Wisconsin Conservation Voters will evaluate legislators on water quality issues in its published review of the legislative session next year.

There are eight recommendations, but Billingham says there are three core issues...

"..That's agricultural pollution, particularly nitrate. The emerging threat of PFAS, the 'forever' chemicals that are becoming more prevalent across the country, the third is lead, lead in drinking water which some people associate wrongly with only urban areas. Actually lead is in 81 water systems across the state...."

  • Among other recommendations, the group also asks for adequate funding for county conservationists, water quality data collection, and staff at the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct water quality mapping.
  • Legislation to increase fees to cover the cost of staff necessary to oversee the large-scale animal operations permitting program, and draft legislation to increase cost-share to farmers, with a priority in sensitive areas.
  • Also, modernize income requirements and make wells that people use, not just animals, eligible for replacement. .
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