Clean Wisconsin gave remarks strongly supporting the Chemical Level Enforcement & Remediation (CLEAR) Act to address PFAS pollution unveiled at a press conference today in Green Bay.
“The release of PFAS in the air, soil, and water pose significant risks to public health and the environment, and a long-term solution is needed,” said Carly Michiels, Clean Wisconsin Director of Government Relations. “The CLEAR Act is one of the most comprehensive proposals in the nation and lays the foundation for a long-term plan to tackle PFAS pollution in Wisconsin.”
PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, is a group of persistent man-made chemicals linked to health risks such as cancer, developmental issues in children and fertility issues for women. PFAS is not regulated in Wisconsin or by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. States like Minnesota and Michigan have also begun to address this issue.
The bill, LRB 2297, addresses all PFAS compounds that could contaminate drinking water, groundwater, surface water, air emissions, solid waste, and soils. It enables the state to more quickly establish enforceable health standards and to develop a long-term plan that simultaneously addresses PFAS pollution and protects public health.
“PFAS pollution is an emerging threat to water quality and public health in Wisconsin that many communities are still learning about,” said Michiels. “Components of this bill, such as developing a state health standard and requiring response actions for spills, are all key tools we need to actually tackle this issue.”
There are at least 18 investigations across Wisconsin on PFAS contamination. In communities like Marinette, where firefighting foam from a nearby training facility has contaminated drinking water, some families rely on weekly bottled water deliveries for safe drinking water.
“Clean Wisconsin applauds these legislators for their initiative during this ‘Year of Clean Drinking Water’ in proposing a bill that recognizes and addresses the urgency of the problem, protects public health, and provides the long-term vision to address PFAS pollution,” Michiels said.
Governor Tony Evers and DNR Secretary Preston Cole also spoke in support of this bill at today’s press conference.