Feb 13, 2019

Wisconsin Governor Proposes $70 Million for Water Quality

The funding would go towards lead pipe replacement and drinking water pollution

Wisconsin governor proposes increase water quality and pipe replacement funding
Wisconsin governor proposes increase water quality and pipe replacement funding

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers proposed allowing state environmental and agricultural officers to borrow nearly $70 million during the next two years to fund lead pipe replacement and to combat drinking water pollution. Evers is expected to release the full two-year spending plan on Feb. 28, but he provided The Associated Press of an overview.

Under the proposed plan, state agriculture officials would be able to borrow an additional $3 million to fund grants to farmers for building infrastructure that reduces pollution from agriculture. The agency currently is allowed to borrow $7 million, so this would bring the total borrowing number to $10 million.

In addition, the state Department of Natural Resources would be able to bond for approximately $65 million more. The funds would be earmarked for pollution reduction, cleaning up contaminated soils, and loans to municipalities to cover half the cost of replacing lead service lines.

The proposal would allocate an additional $300,000 for studies on water pollution management, as well as implementing new manure-spreading restrictions along the state’s Lake Michigan shoreline where porous bedrock impacts groundwater. An additional $1.46 million would be designated for other initiatives such as farmer education and a pollution best management practice website, according to The Associated Press.

“Increased funding for northeast Wisconsin’s (Silurian bedrock) areas would help farmers implement the new performance standards,” said Karen Gefvert, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. “In order for farmers to implement best management practices increased funding for education and outreach is important.”

It is unclear if the spending bill will be able to pass the state’s Republican Legislature and the full bill will be released later this month.