Dear Editor: The current legislative session is winding down and there are bills about which the Wisconsin Public Health Association has officially registered opposition. This package of bills, introduced by Republicans, would change how our state evaluates and handles air pollution by weakening the power of the DNR.
These bills would be a huge step back in improving the air quality in our state. Poor air quality is harmful and can exacerbate childhood lung diseases such as asthma. Exposure to poor air quality during pregnancy can lead to negative birth outcomes, such as low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It can also negatively impact the elderly or other vulnerable members of the population.
Unfortunately, many of these bills passed out of their respective committees, including SB 466/AB 588, and SB 463/AB 558. These bills are making their way through the legislative process as the session is winding down. It is very troubling these kinds of bills are being rushed through near the end of a legislative session and without much time for the public, or local health professionals, to provide input.
SB 459 and AB 587 are also making their way through the legislative process. This bill requires the DNR to identify and repeal all administrative rules that relate to the regulation of air pollutants, and any law that is not regulated under federal law expires 10 years after this law takes effect.
We need to maintain and improve our air quality standards for the health of Wisconsin. We should expect our lawmakers to pass legislation that moves our air quality standards forward, not backward.
Wisconsin Public Health Association
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