July 29, 2019

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Senator Cowles Responds to Governor’s Press Conference on Lead

GREEN BAY– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement in response to a press conference in Kenosha by Governor Evers and his Administration related to actions on lead abatement: 

“2017 Wisconsin Act 137, better known as the Leading on Lead Act, is an important achievement that I authored after months of work in-house to drive this nation-leading effort. With over 160,000 lead service lines scattered throughout the state in communities of all sizes, Wisconsin has a problem with lead laden drinking water. Through the Leading on Lead Act, Representative Thiesfeldt and I were joined by a broad, bipartisan coalition of over 50 co-sponsors, more than half of which were Democrats, and dozens of stakeholders to provide a roadmap for local governments to use this new tool to remove aging and harmful lead water infrastructure.

“While the scope of the problem in each community is different, the local control provided by this law gives communities another tool to help remove lead laterals in a locally-driven effort. Several communities have already gone through the Leading on Lead Act process to address lead laden water for their residents, and several more are in the process of creating a plan.

“Given the Leading on Lead Act’s early successes, it was quite surprising to see the Governor today in Kenosha to announce his plans for a substantial taxpayer supported approach to lead abatement as Kenosha was the first city to pass a plan under Act 137. I remember watching an event last year where a private-side lead lateral was removed from a young family’s house, with that replacement being the first of many to come in Kenosha thanks to this new law. The irony was not lost on Secretary Cole, who pointed to Kenosha’s efforts to address this problem locally as the Administration looks to support municipal governments who refuse to address lead laden drinking water for their residents.

“I will continue to work this session on initiatives that advance water quality in Wisconsin and address the issues of lead laden water, and I plan to continue seeking bipartisan solutions to these nonpartisan problems. I hope the Governor will too.”