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.
- Council effort to create lead-safe program moves forward - Ald. Khalif Rainey - Jul 7th, 2020
- City Hall: Milwaukee on 70-Year Pace To Replace Lead Laterals - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 13th, 2020
- City Hall: Audit Gives Water Works High Marks - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 12th, 2020
- League of Women Voters Presents Forum on Lead Poisoning March 6 - League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County - Mar 2nd, 2020
- AG Objects to Relaxed Lead Pipe Rules - Melanie Conklin - Feb 14th, 2020
- City Hall: Former Health Director Blames Barrett - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 24th, 2019
- Statement of Bevan K. Baker - Bevan K. Baker - Dec 23rd, 2019
- Mayor Barrett Proposes $2.2 Million in Block Grant Funds for Lead Abatement - Mayor Tom Barrett - Dec 4th, 2019
- City Hall: Health Department Probe a State Matter - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 14th, 2019
- City Hall: Proposal Uses Lead Abatement Funds for Marketing - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 7th, 2019
Read more about Lead Crisis here
- DNR Will Draft Regulations on Firefighting Foam Containing PFAS - Danielle Kaeding - Jun 26th, 2020
- Wisconsin Leads 22-State Coalition on PFAS - Danielle Kaeding - Jun 10th, 2020
- How State Reopening is Affecting PFAS Testing - Isiah Holmes - May 23rd, 2020
- Manufacturer Finds No PFAS In Most Wells - Danielle Kaeding - May 20th, 2020
- PFAS, Other Pollutants Found In Rivers - Isiah Holmes - May 11th, 2020
- PFAS Found In Sediment and Surface Water At Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - May 7th, 2020
- Johnson Controls Wants Pause in PFAS Testing - Isiah Holmes - Apr 26th, 2020
- DNR Directs JCI/Tyco To Provide Emergency Drinking Water for Three Homeowners On Private Wells Near JCI/Tyco Biosolid Applied Fields Investigation Area After Sampling Results Show High Levels of PFAS Contamination - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Apr 14th, 2020
- State DNR Forges Ahead on ‘Forever Chemicals’ - Danielle Kaeding - Apr 7th, 2020
- Johnson Controls Must Expand Inspection of PFAS Pollution - Danielle Kaeding - Feb 22nd, 2020
Read more about PFAS Problem here