Earlier today, Rep. Samba Baldeh (D-Madison) applauded the announcement of federal standards for PFAS contamination of water.  

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to regulate PFOA and PFOS at a level that can be reliably measured at 4 parts per trillion. (Note: Last year, the Wisconsin Legislature adopted a maximum limit on PFAS in water of 70 parts per trillion. The Wisconsin DNR proposed a maximum limit of 20 parts per trillion, but that was rejected by Republican members of the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules.)

If finalized, the proposed regulation will require public water systems to monitor for these chemicals. Under the regulations, local systems must also notify the public and reduce PFAS contamination if levels exceed the proposed standards. The EPA anticipates that if fully implemented, the rule will, over time, prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses. This action establishes nationwide protection from PFAS pollution for all people.

Rep. Baldeh, who authored a comprehensive bill in the last session that would have prevented and mitigated further PFAS contamination, said:

“The federal government has led the way on identifying the scope of the PFAS problem and steps to protect the health of our communities. They have also provided $10 billion to help local communities address the problem.

But we must not expect the federal government to check every community, groundwater resource, well, and water utility. This is the work of state and local government. In the last budget session, the majority party eliminated all of the PFAS-related items in the budget and then killed the proposals authored by Senator Agard and myself.

This is a new year, with a new opportunity. It is time for the state to step up to protect our residents. Let’s not play politics with the health of the next generation. PFAS contamination does not recognize district boundaries or party labels.

I call upon my Republican colleagues to adopt the Governor’s comprehensive budget proposal on PFAS and begin the work that should have started years ago.”  

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