Environment

Wisconsin court: Conservative holdover can stay on DNR board

Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court has ruled that a conservative member of the Department of Natural Resources policy board can stay on the panel indefinitely rather than being replaced by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointee. Former GOP Gov. Scott Walker appointed Fred Prehn to the board in 2015 and his term expired more than a year ago. But Prehn has refused to step down because the Republican-controlled Senate hasn't confirmed Evers' appointee. That has effectively blocked Evers from filling a seat and preserved a conservative majority on a board that controls environmental and hunting policy in Wisconsin. Justice Rebecca Dallet, one of the court's three liberal justices, called the majority's decision absurd and said it threatens separation of powers.

When a tree falls in a neighborhood, where does it go?

MADISON, Wis. -- When a tree falls in a residential neighborhood, it definitely makes a sound, but what happens to it after? Officials with Madison's Streets Division say it gets turned into mulch. Twigs, branches and entire trees littered Madison's…

Wisconsin Republicans allow PFAS standards to take effect

Wisconsin Republicans are going to allow regulations Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' administration developed to control PFAS pollution to take effect. The state Department of Natural Resources' policy board adopted limits on PFAS in Wisconsin drinking and surface water in February. The regulations limit PFAS chemicals in drinking water to 70 parts per trillion and 8 ppt for most surface waters that support fish. Board approval sent the regulations to the Legislature's Republican-controlled Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules. Mike Mikalsen, an aide to the panel's co-chairman, Sen. Steve Nass, said Monday that the committee has finished studying the rules and has no objections.

Wisconsin judge leaves PFAS regulation ruling on hold

A Wisconsin judge has agreed to keep on hold his ruling from April that prevented state regulators from requiring businesses and others responsible for pollution by PFAS chemicals to investigate and clean up the contamination. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said Tuesday that because of the importance and broad impact of his ruling, it made sense to keep it on hold while the state Department of Natural Resources appeals. Bohren said keeping his ruling on hold “protects everyone’s interests.” In April, Bohren ruled that state regulators must go through Wisconsin’s rule-making process to establish guidelines for dealing with the PFAS toxins known as forever chemicals.

Marshfield, Adams shut down wells due to PFAS pollution

Marshfield and Adams have joined the list of Wisconsin cities that have shut down municipal wells due to PFAS contamination. Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the state Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday that sampling in the two cities has detected PFAS levels high enough to concern state health officials. Marshfield shut down four of 15 wells after receiving results Tuesday. Adams shut down one of two wells with elevated PFAS levels after receiving results May 4. Communities including La Crosse, Eau Claire and Madison have also shut down wells due to PFAS contamination. The DNR is investigating PFAS contamination at nearly 100 sites across the state.

DNR seeks public comment on project to improve Prairie du Chien drinking water

(City of Prairie du Chien webpage)MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on whether a Prairie du Chien project to improve the city’s drinking water needs an environmental review. City officials applied for funding through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program for a project that includes replacing lead service lines throughout the city….

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveils water level outlook for Great Lakes

DETROIT, Mich. (WKBT) — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydraulics and Hydrology officials predicted Tuesday that Great Lakes water levels will continue their seasonal rise. “Lake Superior’s water level in April was about an inch below its long-term average,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, head of the Detroit District Watershed Hydrology Section. “Looking at the forecast for the next six months, Superior’s…