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Michael Rehani: Wisconsin should take steps to limit nitrate runoff

Michael Rehani: Wisconsin should take steps to limit nitrate runoff

Wisconsin needs a strong nitrate rule to protect Wisconsin residents from drinking contaminated water and to protect the environment.

Overconsumption of nitrates is detrimental to our health. It can lead to blue baby syndrome, which can result in illness or even death. Adults may experience nausea, increased headaches, and possibly cancer.

Nitrate pollution can have devastating effects on the environment. For instance, it diminishes marine biodiversity through eutrophication. Furthermore, soil that contains nitrates from fertilizers become progressively uninhabitable for native plants.

Given Wisconsin’s worsening nitrate contamination, which is well above the EPA’s standard, things must change. Wisconsin needs to introduce laws that prevent harmful farming practices related to high runoff of nitrates while rewarding good farming practices with grants that help them with initial equipment costs.

This is not a new concept, as legislation like this was proposed earlier this year, but unfortunately, it failed. Furthermore, last year, Gov. Evers instructed the DNR and the DATCP to establish rules reducing nitrate contamination. The DNR released a scope statement discussing their plans, and after multiple public hearings held last November, they began working on new rules. When future public debates are scheduled we need to advocate for a robust nitrate rule.

Michael Rehani

Madison

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