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As I See It

Government seemingly in no hurry to deal with PFAS



Sometimes problems require an urgent response. But no matter the severity of the problem, our government isn’t good at providing a quick response. Consider the cases of PFAS. The so-called forever chemicals have been found throughout nearly all of French Island. It is believed the contamination can be traced to firefighting foam used at the La Crosse airport. As of now, the federal government has no standards for allowable levels of the chemicals. Finally, the House of Representatives has passed legislation that would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop national drinking water standards for PFAS chemicals. That is a good first step. But the bill still must get through the Senate, and even if passed, would give the EPA two years to regulate the chemicals. The agency would have five years to determine whether all PFAS should be designated as hazardous and to submit a review of their cleanup efforts. That’s a long time to get this problem under control. Just ask people living on French Island where they continue to drink only bottled water. And amazingly, even though we know firefighting foam contains PFAS, the federal government still mandates that airports continue to use the firefighting foam. When it comes to ensuring our drinking water is safe, our government doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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