Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and other state law enforcement officials are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand monitoring and testing of drinking water for toxic “forever chemicals.”
Kaul, a Democrat, and attorneys general from 17 states and the District of Columbia, submitted comments Monday asking the agency to regulate PFAS as a class, something the chemical industry has staunchly opposed.
The comments, submitted in support of the EPA’s plan to require public water systems to test for 29 unregulated PFAS compounds, say the agency should also require monitoring and validate a method for measuring total PFAS, lower minimum reporting levels and advance environmental justice with PFAS monitoring.
Despite studies showing PFAS exposure negatively affects human health, there are no national drinking water standards or requirements that public water systems test for the compounds.
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“Millions of people across the United States are exposed to PFAS-contaminated drinking water and widespread releases of PFAS into the environment,” the attorneys general wrote. “The states have limited resources to comprehensively assess and address PFAS. Therefore, it is crucial for EPA to broadly regulate PFAS ... to protect public health and the environment.”
PFAS are a group of thousands of largely unregulated synthetic compounds that do not break down naturally and have been shown to increase the risk of cancer and other ailments.
Used for years in firefighting foam, food packaging, non-stick cookware, water-resistant clothing, carpeting and other products, PFAS have been found in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, soil, sediments, air, fish and wildlife, as well as in human blood samples.
The state Department of Natural Resources is monitoring more than 40 PFAS contamination sites across Wisconsin, including in Madison, where the water utility has shut down one well, and in Marinette and La Crosse, where residents have been provided bottled water because their private wells are contaminated.
The DNR is in the process of developing water standards for two PFAS compounds, and the state Department of Health Services has recommended limits for 16 more.
Your letters to the editor: Thoughts and prayers for new gun laws
Thoughts and prayers for new gun laws — Michael Lindsay
After another tragic Wisconsin shooting, it’s time for me to send my thoughts and prayers to majority legislators.
My thoughts are that it’s time you serve your Wisconsin constituents rather than your American Legislative Exchange Council, National Rifle Association and gun manufacturer constituents. Majority legislators should be enacting laws that make our communities safer by imposing licensure for gun ownership in ways that are similar to vehicle ownership regulations and, at the very least, by restricting possession of assault weapons to authorized personnel.
My prayers are that if you regard yourself as a Christian, a Judeo-Christian, or another faith-based human being, you will behave according to the tenets which respect lives, including respect for lives over weapons.
I am not a member of a “well-regulated militia” and I do not own a musket. But I do support the U.S. Constitution, including its Second Amendment. But I do not emotionally or irrationally over-interpret that amendment to mean unrestricted ownership of guns. That's because I realize “the right of the people [a collective term] to keep and bear arms” is not violated even when some individuals are prohibited from keeping and bearing arms.
Michael Lindsay, Eau Claire
PFAS are biggest problem with F-35s — Allen Ruff
Noise is not the core issue for those opposing the F-35 fighter jets.
The poisoning of the area's watershed directly attributable to PFAS chemical runoff from Truax Field is the fundamental issue facing everyone across the region. It even affects those currently in denial who busily hype the economic promise that will seemingly come about with the arrival of F-35s at the air base.
Proposed construction meant to provide additional facilities for this next generation warplane will certainly plow up ground already filled with additional toxins as the Air Force sloughs off its responsibility to clean up the toxic mess it has already made.
And who will end up paying for it all? In actuality, everyone who depends on safe, clean water -- even those who imagine some illusory "security" or economic gain.
Allen Ruff, Madison
School Board needs more common sense — Jerry Darda
Madison School Board members Ananda Mirill, Ali Muldrow and Nicki VanderMeulen recently tried to redirect $35,0000 budgeted for police security at crowded school events to community groups to provide the same service.
Mike Hernandez, chief of Madison's high schools and former principal at East High School, pointed out that getting non-police personnel to supervise these events was impractical. He said "It’s easy to sit in an ivory tower to say (find an alternative). It’s very hard when actually living it.”
Fortunately, four other board members were reasonable and voted to use the funds for Madison police. Mirilli, Muldrow and VanderMeulen's actions were an effort to support Freedom Inc., an undisciplined activist group whose only publicized accomplishment has been disrupting School Board meetings. One of its goals is to eliminate any police presence in the public schools.
It disturbs me that too many School Board members do not have any idea what's going on in the schools and don't take the time to find out. Yet they are in a position to make policy and decisions that threaten the safety of the students and defy common sense.
Jerry Darda, Madison
Funds diverted for wall hurt military — Peter D. Fox
The bipartisan defense-funding bill signed last December by President Donald Trump made a huge “about-face” just two months later on Feb. 13 when even more military funding -- this time $3.8 billion -- was shifted to the border wall.
Total military funding redirected toward President Trump’s wall now stands at around $10 billion.
Promises made, promises kept? Was it only a hollow promise that Mexico would pay the tab? Or was it an outright lie, knowing the avowed outcome wasn’t remotely possible?
For anyone who has been to a Wisconsin Guard armory or Reserve Center to see off troops headed to the Mideast or Afghanistan, think about what this takeaway means to your loved ones going into harm’s way. Remember when unarmored, outdated Humvees were death traps for soldiers in Iraq? This money grab takes away $100 million intended to further modernize them.
An additional $1.3 billion went from the Guard and Reserve for modernization or replacement of other dated equipment. The balance of the $3.8 billion reduction affects priority aircraft and seafaring capabilities for the Air Force and Navy.
Think about that next time you tell someone in uniform, “Thank you for your service.”
Peter D. Fox, Milton