June 25, 2020

Contact: Sen. Cowles: (608) 266-0484 / Rep. Nygren: (608) 266-2343

Cowles/Nygren Applaud Action by the NRB on PFAS Firefighting Foam 

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) released the following statements after a unanimous vote by the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Natural Resources Board (NRB) to approve Emergency Board Order WA-06-20(E) and Board Order WA-07-20 and begin the rulemaking process authorized by 2019 Wisconsin Act 101, authored by Senator Cowles and Representative Nygren, to place restrictions on the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam:

“Decades of unrestricted use of firefighting foams containing PFAS led to widespread land and water contamination in my home area of Peshtigo and Marinette,” said Representative Nygren. “Source reduction is key to preventing this issue from arising again, both locally and statewide, which was the primary goal of Act 101. I commend the NRB for their action and appreciate the efforts of DNR staff for their work on these important rules.”

“I’m pleased to see a unanimous support by the NRB to begin the rulemaking process,” said Senator Cowles. “This effort was a long-time in the making, and despite the initial reluctance by Governor Evers’ DNR appointees, we found common ground in this positive step and moved the process forward. Many of the sites with PFAS pollution in Wisconsin are the result of repeated training with Class B firefighting foams over the course of years. Eliminating its use in training, with the understanding that substitutes exist, while preserving the use of this lifesaving tool for rare emergency flammable liquid fires substantially reduces the risk for future contamination as we grapple with addressing the scope of existing PFAS pollution in our state.”

To learn more about the scope of the new restrictions, the DNR has prepared a poster with the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association that can be viewed here. Regulations will go into place on September 1st.