Walker Wants to Delay Tougher Phosphorous Pollutions Standards

May 6, 2015

Algae

Republican Gov. Scott Walker plans on asking the federal government to delay the implementation of tougher state phosphorous pollution rules because he claims the requirements would be too costly for some Wisconsin industries and cities.

Reports by the state departments of Natural Resources and Administration contend nearly 600 municipal wastewater treatment plants and businesses, including paper mills, cheesemakers, and other food processors would have to spend more than $7 billion over the next 20 years to comply with the regulations.

Papermakers, cheesemakers and other food processors contributed nearly $765,000 to Walker’s campaign between January 2010 and Oct. 20, 2014.

In addition to phosphorous pollution from industry and sewage treatment plants, runoff pollution from cattle manure, fertilizer, and nutrients, such as nitrogen, also increases algae that harms Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers, and streams.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed a law in 2014 that extended the deadline by up to 20 years for industries and sewage plants to meet the tougher phosphorous pollutions standards, which were approved in 2010. The Walker administration must hold a public hearing on the reports’ findings, which it plans to do later this month in Wausau, before asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to extend the deadline for businesses and water treatment plants to meet the phosphorous pollution standards.