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Lawmakers Ask Feds to Allow Wisconsin Revise Phosphorus Standards
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/18/2017

Dozens of members of the state legislature are asking Wisconsin's congressional delegation to find a way to revise the state's phosphorus standards because they feel the rules are too strict and difficult to comply with. Sen. Howard Marklein of Spring Green says he circulated a letter to the state's federal leaders in Washington after small municipalities in his district complained that it was 'unreasonable' to meet phosphorus standards without making extreme renovations to wastewater treatment facilities.

Marklein says the financial burden of these renovations, distributed among small populations, will be devastating to small rural communities.

"We have done all we can at the state level to manage the impact of unreasonable phosphorus regulations on our small communities," Marklein said. "We need our Congressional delegation to find a way for us to revise the standards that we set for ourselves as part of the federal Clean Water Act."

Meanwhile, a group of environmental and conservation groups responded to that letter, saying they were 'extremely disappointed' to hear that elected officials want to 'reverse and undermine' efforts that have helped clean up the state's rivers, lakes, and streams through Wisconsin's last major phosphorus revisions back in 2010.

"We are particularly concerned about the dismissal of the extensive science that went into the development of these protections and the lack of attention the letter paid to the creative and innovative ways the US EPA and the Wisconsin DNR provided to point sources to comply with the rules," the conservation groups said in their own memo to the same lawmakers.

They claim the DNR conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the implementation of the phosphorus rules in 2012, which found a net economic benefit to the state of over $18 million upon full implementation of the standards.

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