Dear Editor,

State Rep. John Nygren wrote a letter to the paper that makes it sound like he’s been fighting for PFAS legislation for his constituents. That’s only half accurate, he is fighting for PFAS legislation, but it’s helping the corporate polluters.

Last November, Nygren took industry talking points, and anonymously submitted them to the local county boards, trying to kill support for the CLEAR Act. This bill was the foundation of the compromise he later drafted with (State Sen. Dave) Hansen and “tried” to pass in the 11th hour.

Nygren says he was able to get the bills he and Hansen wrote “through both Senate and Assembly Committees with only two no votes. And that’s when the opposition resorted to fear-mongering to kill the bills.”

By “fear-mongering” does he mean “industry talking points” like the ones he, himself, tried to use to undermine support from our own county board?

Nygren worked with the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and other industry, and completely excluded input from WDNR and the affected communities, to draft an amendment that names the “responsible parties” for contamination spills as the “users” of the foam.

That would make our fire departments, utilities, and municipalities financially responsible for foam contamination instead of the manufacturers of the product.

Nygren did pass AB323, (the foam bill). Nygren says this bill would have been useful 40 years ago. Maybe, but it doesn’t do much for us now. In AB323, the fines for improperly using/disposing of PFAS ($10 to $5,000) are potentially cheaper than the costs of proper disposal, and the bill makes it legal to use the PFAS foams on any non-training fire. The industry’s own safety data sheets for these products are more restrictive. No wonder JCI supported this bill. One line in Nygren’s bill, AB323, actually states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or distribution of a class B fire fighting foam that contains intentionally added PFAS.”

The most useful line in this bill, was only added at the insistence of the constituents, banning sending foam down municipal drains.

They say actions speak louder than words, I hope everyone reads up on Nygren’s actions, because they sure are different from the words he wrote in his column.

 

Andi Rich

Marinette