EPA approves state’s phosphorous work-around

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The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a plan from two Republican Wisconsin state lawmakers that allows companies to pay to delay compliance with strict phosphorous pollution standards.

Sen. Robert Cowles and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck said in a news release Tuesday that the plan allows companies to pay fees in exchange for a longer timeline over which to reduce their phosphorous pollution levels. The fees go toward reducing phosphorous runoff from other sites.

Cowles’ spokesman Jason Mugnaini says the measure passed the Legislature in 2014 pending EPA approval since it relates to the federal Clean Water Act. Mugnaini says companies will be able to apply to the Department of Natural Resources for a variance permit.

Mugnaini says paper and cheese manufacturers were among those pushing for the measure.

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