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Environmental Groups Urge DNR Board to Move Forward with PFAS Regulations

Ten environmental groups, including  Clean Wisconsin and Midwest Environmental Advocates, submitted a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board on Wednesday requesting the board approve DNR’s emergency rule concerning PFAS contamination “without changes at the September 22nd meeting.”

On August 12, the Department of Natural Resources’ policy board unanimously tabled DNR’s proposed restrictions on PFAS after receiving push back from the regulated community and the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR). Both argued the proposed emergency rule exceeded the explicit language of the legislative delegation. Read about their concerns.

In their letter, the environmental groups dismissed the explicit delegation problem, comparing it to “telling someone they must stop horses from escaping the barn but objecting when they repair the broken barn door, because you didn’t say the word ‘door’ when you asked them to solve the problem.”

The tension with DNR’s authority sits squarely within the explicit authority requirement imposed upon agencies through 2011 Wis. Act 21. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recognized this limitation on agency authority this past May in Wisconsin Legislature v. Palm.