Update from Rep Gruszynski

As I mentioned in my update at the monthly meeting, in the month of February we have voted on nearly 300 bills during only three floor days in the span of just ten days. With all of that work, there are a few big projects that we have been able to get across the finish line in the Assembly with broad, bi-partisan support that will be wins for the 90th Assembly District and will bring major improvements to the environment as well as the economy of Green Bay. There is also one bad PFAs bill that was introduced by Assembly Republicans in the dead of the night that we need the Senate to vote against. If you care about these projects please you’re your state senator. We can’t afford to fall behind on fighting PFAs in Northeast WI.

Senate Bill 295 – Cole piles are an issue that has plagued downtown Green Bay for decades. Moving this bill through the Senate will be good for our environment and our local economy. SB295 would provide Green Bay with a harbor assistance grant of 1.5 million dollars in order to make improvements related to port expansion and relocation of coal piles. This funding would allow Green Bay to repair the aging dock walls, replace a bollard and be the largest port expansion on the Great Lakes in two generations with an estimated 200 million dollars in economic impact. After receiving bi-partisan support in the Assembly, and support from the City of Green Bay, this bill has been in a holding pattern in the Senate for three months.

Senate Bill 721 – Tourism is an economic driver in our community, creating important jobs and bringing in an estimated 5.7 million annual visitors. That has an incredible impact on our community with over a billion dollars of economic impact. This bill would provide the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitor Bureau with an interest free loan to complete the funding for the construction of a new visitor and education center. With countless stakeholders in this project and much to be gained, this bill has passed the Assembly and it is important that the Senate gets this bill scheduled for a vote so it can be sent to the Governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 559 – Protecting Wisconsin families from the harmful effects of PFAS should be at the top of everyone’s priorities in Wisconsin. Sadly, this bill does nothing but hurt Wisconsin communities where PFAS are an extremely concerning issue. Rather than bringing the preferred CLEAR Act to a vote, or even the compromise bills AB842 and AB843, Assembly Republicans attached a poison pill amendment. With the amendment added this bill will significantly undermine the department of health and add redundancy in the DNR’s process. The CLEAR Act would have provided funding that they need for more testing and staff, and tools for remediation and protecting local communities. We also need to match the aggressive standards for PFAs that have been put forward by other states. We cannot move backwards on this emerging contaminant PFAs and I urge you to call your Senator and tell them to vote NO.


Environment - PFAS

Environment PFAS

Foam found on the banks of Starkweather Creek showed high concentrations of a contaminant called PFAS (photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

PFAS are considered ‘Forever Chemicals” which are being discovered in many parts of Wisconsin including Marinette, Rhinelander and Madison. 

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s.

PFAS do not occur naturally and are widespread in the environment. They are found in people, wildlife and fish all over the world. Some PFAS can stay in peoples’ bodies a long time and do not break down easily in the environment.

Does Your Community Water System Test For PFAS?

Probably Not, Finds WXPR Investigation


Interactive Map: PFAS Contamination Crisis: New Data Show 1,398 Sites in 49 States

Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) GUIDE TO AVOIDING PFAS CHEMICALS


Environment PFAS - Marinette & Peshtigo

Environment - PFAS - Marinette & Peshtigo

The manufacture, testing and use of firefighting chemicals cause PFAS contamination

PFAS contamination in the Marinette and Peshtigo area

PFAS contamination has been detected in the Marinette and Peshtigo area in soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, private drinking water wells and biosolids.

Does Your Community Water System Test For PFAS? Probably Not, Finds WXPR Investigation



WI DNR Logo WI DNR Logo  


Gov. Evers’ Executive Order #40 directed the DNR to create the PFAS Coordinating Council, now known as the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council (WisPAC), in partnership with other state agencies. WisPac will develop and coordinate statewide initiatives to address the growing public health and environmental concerns regarding PFAS. Meetings are open to the public.

Wisconsin DNR Resources https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/contaminants/marinette.html

If you have questions call 888-626-3244 or email DNRJCIPFAS@wisconsin.gov

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/


Stop Poisoning Our Water-Local group dedicated to information & remediation lnk S.O.H2O

Dark Waters Movie that documents how Rob Bilott, a corporate defense attorney, took on an environmental lawsuit against a chemical company that exposes a lengthy history of pollution. Very strong parallels to what is happening in Marinette/Peshtigo https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9071322/

Wisconsin DHS Resources  https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/chemical/pfas.htm

EPA website https://www.epa.gov/pfas


    Four Videos from DNR Listening Session:

Eagle Herald re 12/19 listening session https://ehextra.com/Content/News/News-Articles/Article/Kaul-hears-PFAS-concerns/12/35/58903?fbclid=IwAR2jiUqmZfo9kXwE8CvzIsA6F_AyvmigU7N0L85DmFnSK415SoPpiMbxwO4

Eagle Herald -JCI details cleanup efforts https://ehextra.com/Content/News/News-Articles/Article/JCI-details-cleanup-efforts/12/35/58935

Video 12/19 Lisa Miller https://www.facebook.com/1369224169894935/videos/457235928508235/?fref=mentions&__xts__[0]=68.ARDhEu4bsb4Qz_wL9XToQhVq7lnrsa-_CULjx9u2vpSPdBN0OH0Gx-yvsKVkZE5s2viu4G4SDi-jl6b78vklezkZJI1tsCGNdFXQ_5owReJmxYwvrL11ROzNAb5IOBd6F2MAGhKaq5qA1u_kIEll4P7ulmBokgxfPqZ-bR12fv-zbrPgVACW6uen6uBtMQ1ChmzkodRN2Y2y9xh61tTJ8Q4HjuhCDg9njeuslD0WiNS0yXnHthTPiQgmuI2fj1unlPVm-MvJGAH4wwCivEXGN4WqPWLW1-kkm4sqPeYQw_zPmuF3pBVbHsH0Xx691H4IM4MqUKA2PjXr0qBt1QHhBGrzPANvCIRi&__tn__=K-R

Video 12/19 Dale Schroeder https://www.facebook.com/andi.rich.7/videos/10162494246560532/UzpfSTEwODE4ODEyMzU6MTAyMTc2NDQ0MDU0NzY4OTg/

Concerns rise over tainted sewage sludge spread on croplands https://www.wisfarmer.com/story/news/2019/09/12/concerns-rise-over-tainted-sewage-sludge-spread-croplands/2308338001/



MA Sets New Limits On Toxic PFAS Chemicals https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2019/12/13/massachusetts-pfas-chemicals-drinking-water

High levels of arsenic found in bottled water sold at Walmart, Target, Whole Foods https://www.cbs17.com/news/high-levels-of-arsenic-found-in-bottled-water-sold-at-walmart-target-whole-foods/

Our family’s “Dark Waters” story https://www.salon.com/2019/12/21/our-familys-dark-waters-story-how-my-fathers-cancer-and-my-sons-first-film-role-are-connected/

How the EPA and the Pentagon Downplayed a Growing Toxic Threat https://www.propublica.org/article/how-the-epa-and-the-pentagon-downplayed-toxic-pfas-chemicals%C2%A0

‘Dark Waters’ Tells the True Story of the Lawyer Who Took DuPont to Court and Won https://time.com/5737451/dark-waters-true-story-rob-bilott/

Madison, Fond Du Lac Fire Departments Stop Using Firefighting Foam Containing PFAS

Environment - PFAS -Rhinelander

Environment - PFAS - Rhinelander

Rhinelander has had to close two drinking water wells due to PFAS Contamination. Rhinelander Mayor attended the Dec 18 DNR Listening Session in Marinetter.

Does Your Community Water System Test For PFAS? Probably Not, Finds WXPR Investigation



(Note – limited access for non-subscribers)

Guild updates city residents on well testing

Lab owner concerned about administrator’s interpretation of test results


DNR questions language used by city administrator in notice to water customers

Elmore: There’s no reason to question the accuracy of the PFAS sampling results


Mayor confirms second well taken out of service


Mayor releases DHS letter supporting closure of Well 8

Fish samples taken from the Wisconsin River


DNR issues directive to airport in connection with PFAS contamination


DNR: Rhinelander airport the ‘most likely source’ of PFAS contamination


Commission hires consulting firm to assist with PFAS investigation


Airport commission grapples with PFAS puzzle



PFAS Found In Rhinelander Well, Drinking Water Safe, Crescent Spring to be Tested

https://www.wxpr.org/…/pfas-found-rhinelander-well-drinking-water-safe- crescent-spring-be-tested

Jul 23, 2019 … City officials released information today to Rhinelander Water Utility customers related to a recently published health advisory regarding PFAS ...

Foam Tests On Peshtigo River Reveal PFAS Levels Of 17,000 Parts per Trillion

https://www.wxpr.org/…/foam-tests-peshtigo-river-reveal-pfas-levels-17000- parts-trillion

Oct 31, 2019 … Levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in foam samples on the Peshtigo River spiked well above what may be safe, the DNR …

Rhinelander Keeps Water Well Active As Levels Of PFAS-Family Chimicals Rise

https://www.wxpr.org/…/rhinelander-keeps-water-well-active-levels-pfas- family-chemical-rise

Nov 7, 2019 … This summer, tests showed Rhinelander’s Municipal Well 7 was contaminated with PFAS chemicals. However, the most recent tests show no …

DNR: New PFAS Rules Likely To Have ‘Significant’ Economic Impact

https://www.wxpr.org/…/dnr-new-pfas-rules-likely-have-significant- economic-impact

Nov 19, 2019 … The DNR admitted putting new rules on PFAS in groundwater, drinking water, and surface water will have a “significant” economic impact on …

PFAS Compounds No Longer Detected In Rhinelander Well; Guild Raises Idea of Mistaken Original Tests

https://www.wxpr.org/…/pfas-compounds-no-longer-detected-rhinelander- well-guild-raises-idea-mistaken-original-tests

Nov 6, 2019 … The latest testing on Rhinelander’s Municipal Well 7 showed no detection of the two best-known per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) …

Wisconsin Solid Waste Professionals: ‘We Don’t Generate PFAS Foam’, Form Coalition to Address Issue

https://www.wxpr.org/…/wisconsin-solid-waste-professionals-we-don-t- generate-pfas-form-coalition-address-issue

Dec 11, 2019 … Wisconsin landfills are concerned they’re taking the blame for PFAS contamination. But a new coalition of solid waste professionals points out …

PFAS Found in Crescent Town Spring: Water Not Safe to Drink

https://www.wxpr.org/…/pfas-found-crescent-town-spring-water-not-safe- drink

Aug 19, 2019 … Now that the test results have come back as positive for high levels of PFAS, the recommendation not to drink the water at the Crescent Town …

Michigan Develops Comprehensive, Enforceable PFAS Regulations

https://www.wxpr.org/…/michigan-develops-comprehensive-enforceable-pfas -regulations

Oct 28, 2019 … Wisconsin’s neighbor will soon become one of a few states with enforceable PFAS regulations on the books. Michigan could have strict …

DNR Defends Accuracy Of Rhinelander PFAS Tests, Asks City To Make Test Results Publicly Available

https://www.wxpr.org/…/dnr-defends-accuracy-rhinelander-pfas-tests-asks- city-make-test-results-publicly-available

Nov 19, 2019 … Note: this story has been updated to include comments from the DNR’s Kyle Burton in a Tuesday interview. Rhinelander City Administrator …

Fire-Fighting Foam? An Old Dump? Exploring Possible Sources of …

https://www.wxpr.org/…/fire-fighting-foam-old-dump-exploring-possible- sources-pfas-near-rhinelander

Sep 19, 2019 … But a month ago, testing found the water had high levels PFHxS, a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) drawing attention in …


Back 40 Mine
Links to activist organizations Facebook sites

Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River http://jointherivercoalition.org/ https://www.facebook.com/jointherivercoalition/

Citizens Against the Back Forty Mine https://www.facebook.com/nobackfortymine/

Menominee Indian Tribe No Back 40 Mine https://www.facebook.com/NoBack40Mine/

Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition – Mining Action Group http://savethewildup.org/

The Front 40 http://menomineeriver.com/how-can-i-help/about-the-front-40/

Wisconsin Resources Protection Council – Links to Organizations Opposing Sulfide Mining in Wisconsin and Around the World http://www.wrpc.net/links/


Environment - PFAS
Foam found on the banks of Starkweather Creek showed high concentrations of a contaminant called PFAS Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

PFAS Contamination Links to information regarding Wiscosnin PFAS contamination sites


Issues regarding mining and impact on the environment

Link to information about the Back 40 Mine proposed on the Menominee River:


Other reading resources:

95 Environmental Rules Being Rolled Back Under Trump

PFAS found in drinking water

Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands – The New York Times

Trump’s Latest Attack on the Environment May Be His Most Alarming Yet