MADISON – Members of the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality gathered today for a press conference to debut their final report and recommendations, including 13 new legislative proposals. Over the past year, the task force held a total of 14 public hearings across Wisconsin, hearing from hundreds of citizens, experts, organizations, and stakeholders about the water quality issues facing their communities and the state as a whole. The bicameral task force proved to be an unprecedented, bipartisan effort to address water quality issues and ensure clean water for future generations. The report and recommendations released today summarize and expand upon the task force’s findings and can be found on their website: waterqualitywi.com.
“While there is no one silver bullet that will solve all of our state’s water quality issues at once, we are pleased to recommend a strong bipartisan package of legislation that addresses many of the top concerns that we heard about at our hearings around the state. This legislative package represents a $10 million investment from the state, reflecting our commitment to progress on water quality,” said Rep. Todd Novak, Chair (R-Dodgeville).
“Wisconsin’s hydrological landscape is varied and diverse, and so is our approach with this legislation. We are investing in both proven and new programs that range from helping farmers with best practices and funding the boots on the ground in our county conservation departments to investing in research and mapping and forward-looking solutions that will grow our water workforce, all while ensuring we are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and striving for effective and lasting change. It is just a start, but I am proud of the work we have done here.”
Rep. Katrina Shankland, Vice-Chair (D- Stevens Point) continued, “Clean water is vital to our health and quality of life. Everyone deserves to have access to clean and safe drinking water, but due to growing issues of contamination in our state’s water supplies, we must work to make it our reality. I’m pleased that water quality has become a legislative priority thanks to this task force and the Year of Clean Drinking Water, and I appreciate the opportunity to address the issue head-on.”
“The proposals we are recommending today are the product of a year-long process of information gathering, bipartisan collaboration, and compromise, and are a long-overdue step in the right direction. These bills will make a real and lasting difference for the public health and for our economy, from agriculture to tourism to our workforce and talent attraction, but the conversation certainly doesn’t stop here. I am grateful to have had the opportunity this session to work with my colleagues to find meaningful, science-based solutions to the water quality issues affecting people throughout Wisconsin, and I remain committed to addressing these issues and continuing that work moving forward.”