Eco-brief: Tuesday, May 21

, By Jon Drewsen

Last week was a busy one in the State Capitol, especially around the state budget. Here are the latest updates from Clean Wisconsin:

Last Tuesday, the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee passed needed funding for clean water programs.

The committee approved Gov. Evers’ recommendations for over $17 million in new funds for the Clean Water Fund and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program that both help local communities provide access to clean drinking water and protect against flooding.

But the JFC stripped out $40 million in funding to replace lead pipes across Wisconsin.

Over 81 communities in all parts of Wisconsin still have homes with lead pipes that deliver tainted drinking water.

For years, Clean Wisconsin has long been a vocal advocate for state funding to remove lead pipes. While Wisconsin’s rate of child lead poisoning exceeds the national average, it’s disappointing that the JFC has refused to provide funding to fix this drinking water crisis.

More key clean water and energy budget items will be voted on in the coming weeks.

Funding for electric vehicle charging stations, agricultural pollution prevention programs, and the fate of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program will all be considered by the JFC soon.

We will need your help to make sure these programs are in the final budget. Sign up to receive Action Alerts at

Last Wednesday, the State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 91, a bill to help protect water from phosphorus pollution.

This bill sets up a clearinghouse to help facilitate the trading of nutrient pollution credits. This bill is another tool in the ongoing effort to help communities comply with water quality standards by creating innovative partnerships that protect our water from nutrient pollution.

Clean Wisconsin was invited by the bill’s authors to provide feedback on the bill. We appreciate the authors’ efforts to work with concerned stakeholders to produce a bill that has garnered such bipartisan support, and we urge quick Assembly action. Read our statement.

Take Action: No more time for new fossil fuels.

Scientists have given us a clear warning: we need to significantly and quickly cut our carbon emissions in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate.

Despite this warning, two utilities in have proposed to build a new gas-fired electric plant in Superior. This plant would add 3 million tons of CO2 each year.

We don’t have any more time for fossil fuels. Write a comment to the Public Service Commission: reject this proposal for a new gas plant.