Big Money Groups Oppose PFAS Regulation
Wisconsin Manufacturers, other business groups spent $8.5 million on campaigns, oppose regulating “forever chemicals."
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and four other special interest groups opposed to bills aimed at regulating so-called “forever chemicals” have spent more than $13.3 million on lobbying and elections in the last five years.
The proposals, Assembly Bills 842 and 843 and Senate Bills 772 and 773, would fund research, clean-up efforts, and create enforcement standards for PFAS, which are hazardous chemicals that do not break down in the environment or human body.
The bipartisan measures received public hearings last week but face an uncertain future because the GOP-controlled legislature plans to adjourn for the year in March.
The bills are mostly backed by numerous environmental groups. But business and manufacturing groups claim the bills are too costly and restrictive for business.
Collectively, the five groups that oppose the bills have spent nearly $8.5 million on electioneering activities and campaign contributions between January 2015 and June 2019 – all to benefit Republican legislative and statewide candidates. In addition, they have spent more than $4.8 million on lobbying between January 2015 and December 2019. Here’s a snapshot of who they are:
- WMC, the state’s largest business group. WMC is consistently one of the biggest spenders on lobbying and state elections. WMC has spent nearly $8.5 million since January 2015 on disclosed and secret electioneering activities to benefit GOP candidates. The group has also spent nearly $3.5 million since January 2015 on lobbying for pro-business policies;
- Wisconsin Civil Justice Council, which supports pro-business lawsuit and other legal reforms that make it harder to sue businesses and reduce damage awards. The group has spent about $598,100 on lobbying between January 2015 and December 2019. In recent years, the group supported laws that cut the statute of limitations for filing some lawsuits, weakened the state’s lemon law, and reduced liability in some damage and injury lawsuits – here, here, and here;
- Midwest Food Products Association, a trade group that represents food processors. Between January 2015 and December 2019 that group spent $398,130 on lobbying agriculture, environmental, and labor laws favorable to the food processing industry. In recent years, the group has supported laws that prohibit local governments from passing labor ordinances for wage and discrimination claims and loosen state rules and oversight involving controversial high-capacity wells;
- Wisconsin Paper Council, which represents the state’s papermakers. The group has spent about $233,900 on lobbying between January 2015 and December 2019 and another $2,350 on campaign contributions – all to Republicans – between January 2015 and June 2019. In the past, the group has backed laws that prevent state agencies from creating new rules or regulations that would cost businesses more than $10 million without legislative approval and forbid communities from regulating plastic bags, takeout containers and other packaging, including coffee cup insulating sleeves;
- American Chemistry Council, a trade group that spent about $135,000 between January 2015 and December 2019 on lobbying for laws that affect the chemical and plastics industries. This group also backed the law prohibiting local bans on plastic bags and other single-use containers and packaging.
In a related development, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed legislation last week that puts restrictions on using firefighting foams that contain PFAS.
More about the PFAS Problem
- 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
- Assembly attempts to provide political cover while constituents suffer the consequences - Wisconsin Conservation Voters - Feb 21st, 2020
- Campaign Cash: Big Money Groups Oppose PFAS Regulation - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Feb 15th, 2020
- Baldwin Calling on EPA to Deliver on Promises Made in PFAS Action Plan - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Feb 14th, 2020
- Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC) Developing PFAS Action Plan For State - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Feb 4th, 2020
- Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Push $10M Clean Water Fund - Danielle Kaeding - Jan 31st, 2020
- DNR Working On New PFAS Rules - Erik Gunn - Jan 24th, 2020
- What Are PFAS Chemicals? - Christy Remucal - Jan 15th, 2020
- DNR Providing Emergency Drinking Water to Homeowner with PFAS Contamination Near JCI Investigation Area - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Jan 10th, 2020
- Senate Debates PFAS in Firefighting Foam - Danielle Kaeding - Jan 9th, 2020
- DNR Confirms PFAS-Containing Foam Found at the Mouth of Starkweather Creek and Lake Monona - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Dec 19th, 2019
- Why PFAS Pollution Is So Scary - Erik Gunn - Nov 18th, 2019
- Op Ed: Everyone Deserves Clean Water - State Sen. Jon Erpenbach - Nov 4th, 2019
- Few Local Water Systems Test for PFAS - Danielle Kaeding - Oct 30th, 2019
- MKE County: High PFAS Levels Found at Airport - Graham Kilmer - Oct 24th, 2019
- State Board Okays Rules on PFAS Pollution - Isiah Holmes - Oct 24th, 2019
- DNR Releases PFAS Contamination Data - Erik Gunn - Oct 8th, 2019
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Presses Trump Administration for Urgency on Addressing PFAS Contamination in Water - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Sep 25th, 2019
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Pressing for Answers on Reports of Efforts to Weaken Contamination Standards for PFAS - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Mar 25th, 2019