Senate Committee advances bill to ban PFAS in firefighting foam

By Danielle Kaeding | Wisconsin Public Radio | January 9, 2020

Read the full article by Danielle Kaeding (Wisconsin Public Radio)

“A Senate committee advanced a Republican bill by a 3-2 party line vote that would ban the use of firefighting foam that contains chemicals known as PFAS in most cases. Democratic lawmakers objected, saying the bill doesn’t go far enough to protect the public…

Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, introduced the bill banning PFAS-containing firefighting foam last year. Under the legislation, such foam would be allowed during an emergency or testing under specific conditions. 

‘The bill as amended creates … the necessary balance, I should say, between reducing dangers to human health and negative environmental footprint these chemicals pose while also preserving the ability of first responders to use an extremely effective tool to fight flammable liquid fires,’ Cowles said.

The bill includes changes that would ensure rules for testing that include preventing discharges to the environment, as well as preventing treatment or discharge to a wastewater treatment plant…

However, Democratic lawmakers on the committee — including Sen. Dave Hansen, of Green Bay, and Sen. Mark Miller, of Monona — say the bill falls short in addressing the risks of PFAS contamination. 

‘I do not think that the bill before us, even with the amendments that you outlined, come anywhere close to being able to protect the health and safety of our citizens,’ Miller said.

Both Miller and Hansen argued the bill should be combined with another introduced by Democrats known as the CLEAR Act. That legislation would expand the list of PFAS chemicals the DNR would monitor, as well as require any PFAS groundwater standard recommended by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to be used as an interim standard…

‘More people are going to get sick,’ Hansen said. ‘More animals are going to get sick and die, and more people are going to have thyroid cancer problems and low birth rates for pregnant mothers…'”

 

This content provided by the PFAS Project.

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