Everyone Deserves Clean Water
Evers, Democrats back a comprehensive agenda. We want to work with Republicans on this.
From the very beginning of Governor Evers’ term, he made his priorities clear by declaring 2019 the Year of Clean Drinking Water. During his State of the State address in January, he promoted investing millions of dollars to address water quality, from replacing lead service lines, to addressing manure contamination in Wisconsin. Many of our communities face challenges that threaten their health and safety due to polluted drinking water. That’s why Democrats are committed to strengthening clean water protections and addressing this public health crisis.
While Governor Evers proposed a bold budget that reflected the voices of the people, who simply want clean and safe drinking water, there is still a long road ahead. Every Wisconsinite should be able to drink water from their tap, but for a lot of people, that is not the reality.
Legislative Democrats recently introduced a list of priorities – “Forward Together.” This agenda includes many of the areas that Democrats will be focusing on this fall, including clean water. Below are the Democrat’s top priorities for clean water:
- Replace lead pipes to ensure clean drinking water
- Promote sustainable water management practices for family farms
- Help homeowners fix contaminated wells
- Limit runoff pollution from large industrial farms
- Prevent toxic PFAS contamination
The 2019-2021 budget invests more than $32.65 million in improving water quality throughout our state. While these investments are essential, there is still more we can do. More than two-thirds of Wisconsin residents use groundwater for drinking water, through a private well or public water system, and it is our job to enact standards and regulations to protect that supply.
One of the ways that the Governor invested in improving water quality around the state was through increasing bonding authority for Soil and Water Resource Management. While Republicans cut his proposal, he was still successful in increasing bonding by $7 million. This program, which is administered by DATCP, provides assistance to farmers to implement conservation practices and reduce pollution from agriculture. This protects our natural resources and increases long-term farm profitability.
Additionally, in July, Governor Evers signed an executive order relating to addressing lead poisoning in Wisconsin. This came after Republicans drastically slashed Governor Evers’ proposal to address lead exposure and prevent poisoning from the budget, by over $21 million and eliminated $40 million to replace lead water lines throughout the entire state. The executive order directs the Department of Health Services (DHS) to address this crisis in a robust and comprehensive way through a multi-pronged approach, and to promote collaboration among departments and community organizations to prevent, treat, remove, abate, and survey lead efforts.
There is not a single, simple solution to address our water quality issues. However, I am confident that we will be able to work across the aisle to protect this basic right. Everyone deserves to have access to clean drinking water, regardless of where they live, or where their tap water comes from. There is still a far way to go, but the important thing is that, under Governor Evers, we are moving forward.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, is a member of the Wisconsin state Senate.
- Op Ed: Lead Paint, Poisoning Still An Issue - Joanna Balza - May 7th, 2021
- Moore Hopes Biden Plan Can Replace City’s Lead Pipes - Elizabeth Dohms-Harter - Apr 17th, 2021
- Op Ed: Biden Plan Is a Lead Pipe Cinch - Dan Shafer - Apr 14th, 2021
- Urban Ideas: Fix Lead Poisoning, Not Lead Pipes - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 12th, 2021
- Evers Budget Has Green Goals - Danielle Kaeding - Feb 18th, 2021
- New Program for Lead-Poisoned Children - Matt Martinez - Dec 26th, 2020
- EPA Requires Lead Testing for Schools, Day Cares - Danielle Kaeding - Dec 22nd, 2020
- Lead Testing Down During Pandemic - Edgar Mendez - Nov 6th, 2020
- Op Ed: Lead Poisoning and a Listening Session - Carol Diggelman and Ann Batiza - Oct 27th, 2020
- SafeHomes initiative expands lead abatement efforts for a lead-free Milwaukee - Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic - Oct 27th, 2020
Read more about Lead Crisis here
- AG Kaul Leads 19 AGs in Urging EPA to Require Public Water Systems to Monitor for Additional PFAS - Josh Kaul - May 10th, 2021
- Peshtigo Residents Faced “Massive” PFAS Contamination - John McCracken - May 7th, 2021
- Evers, Democrats Push PFAS Contamination Bill - Hope Kirwan - Apr 22nd, 2021
- Gov. Evers, State Legislators Announce Legislation to Address Statewide PFAS Contamination - Gov. Tony Evers - Apr 21st, 2021
- State Officials Push Action on PFAS - Shamane Mills - Apr 20th, 2021
- PFAS In Wisconsin Webinar 2 p.m. April 19 - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Apr 16th, 2021
- New Fish Consumption Advisory For Silver Creek - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Apr 15th, 2021
- DNR Extends Deadline For Town Of Peshtigo Residents To Receive Free PFAS Sampling Of Private Drinking Water Wells - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Apr 9th, 2021
- Business Lobby Sues DNR Over PFAS Testing - Danielle Kaeding - Apr 1st, 2021
- French Island Wells Show PFAS Pollution - Isiah Holmes - Mar 30th, 2021
Read more about PFAS Problem here