05/24/2019- What began as a community-driven effort to increase awareness about local groundwater contamination has developed into one of the most comprehensive pieces of PFAS legislation in the country. Governor Tony Evers and other legislators introduced the CLEAR Act Thursday, which would have the Wisconsin DNR establish statewide standards, monitoring requirements, and response actions for PFAS chemicals like those found in the firefighting foam produced and tested by Tyco. Evers commended residents from the Town of Peshtigo and Marinette area who pushed for the measure, which he says goes beyond groundwater contamination to cover all other environmental mediums that may be impacted by PFAS.
The bill also states that the DNR may require those who possess or control these so-called “forever chemicals” provide proof of financial responsibility for conducting emergency response actions, remedial actions, and environmental care in the event of an accidental discharge. Secretary of Natural Resources Preston Cole says, as it applies to the local issue, that would put Johnson Controls on the hook for the cleanup of county farm fields where biosolids containing PFAS have been spread.
The fiscal impact of the bill would be about $250000  annually to fund additional research scientist positions within the state’s Department of Health Services to develop these new enforcement standards.