It’s going to take more than a polar vortex bringing minus 50 degree temperatures to chill my excitement for 2019. After too many years of Wisconsin government leaders abusing or ignoring our state’s precious natural resources, our new Governor seems poised to demonstrate an important value central to who we are as Wisconsinites: respect and love for the environment. Declaring 2019 the “Year of Clean Drinking Water,” Governor Evers started his tenure by committing the state to find solutions to the drinking water challenges that many residents in Wisconsin unfortunately face on a daily basis.

Whether a person gets drinking water from a contaminated well in rural Wisconsin, or from the tap in a city delivering it through lead pipes, there is reason for hope in 2019. Leaders in both political parties are indicating they want to address this drinking water and health emergency. Rest assured, Clean Wisconsin will work earnestly with the new Evers Administration, Republican leaders in the legislature, as well as farmers, state agencies, and other stakeholders to advocate for science-based solutions that protect public health and result in clean, accessible drinking water for all Wisconsinites.

In this issue of The Defender, you’ll read about our work supporting the Year of Clean Drinking Water, along with other updates about our critical program work to protect Wisconsin’s clean water and air: our successful legal actions demanding environmental protections for drinking water, wetlands, and lakes and rivers by the DNR, and for protections to public health from ozone pollution in our lawsuit against the Trump EPA; our efforts to highlight, through scientific studies, the magnitude and sources of drinking water problems in rural Wisconsin; and our work to protect communities in Southeast Wisconsin and along the Lake Michigan coast from toxic PAH pollution from coal-tar pavement sealants.

Even with new optimism, hard-working Clean Wisconsin staff, and supportive state leaders, we’ll need your continued help in 2019 speaking out and expressing your concerns to decision-makers. You can do that by joining our email Action Network at www.cleanwisconsin.org/act.

As the weather warms and the legislature takes more action, we’ll email asking you to speak up for our state’s natural resources at critical moments. When that happens, I know we can count on you!

Thank you for all you do for Wisconsin’s environment, whether you’re a new supporter or have been a member for many years. We value your support and commitment to protecting the water, air and landscapes that make our state great.

From all of us, we wish you a wonderful 2019!

Read next: Alarming rates of well water contamination in SW WI