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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Council Supports Legislation On PFAS Rules

Issue Date: February 6, 2020

At its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4 Peshtigo City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting four bi-partisan bills currently being considered by the Wisconsin State Legislature to address PFAS pollution issues. The vote came after hearing three speakers request approval during time for public comment near the start of the meeting.

The resolution supports bi-partisan action on PFAS-related bills AB842 and AB843 and related Senate bills SBTBD and STBTBD, and stares that PFAS are man-made chemicals used in industrial and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets,some cosmetics, some fire fighting foams, and "products that resist grease, water and oil;

It goes on to state that research suggests that PFAS impacts human health in various ways including increasing cholesterol levels, decreasing how well the body responds to vaccines, increases the risk of thyroid disease, decreases fertility in women, and is a known carcinogen.

It says PFAS at levels exceeding the Health Advisory Limit have been found in southeastern Marinette County surface and groundwaters and are known to be in materials land spread in parts of the county (apparently referring to wastewater treatment plant sludge from both Marinette and Peshtigo facilities.

It goes on: "...people are at risk to consume PFAS by way of drinking contaminated water, eating fish caught from PFAS-contaminated water,consuming contaminated meat ad dairy from animals drinking/eating contaminated water/crops, or accidentally ingesting contaminated soil or dust."

The resolution states the City of Peshtigo supports AB842 relating to providing funding related to PFAS programs and positions, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation, and AB 843 relating to PFAS standards and grant programs, providing blood testing for certain individuals, requiring a cancer cluster study, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule making authority.

The resolution is to be forwarded to local legislative representatives Nygren and Hansen "in support of actions that result in making them law."

Malke noted she had received some correspondence in support of the proposed resolution, and added, "I support clean water as well." She said the City of Peshtigo is well aware of the problem and "our friends in the Town of Peshtigo know that we're there for them." She said in response to a request from Peshtigo Town Chair Herman Pottratz the city had offered several scenarios in which the city could supply water to the Town of Peshtigo for a municipal water supply.

Those who used the public comment opportunity to ask the Council to approve the PFAS resolution included

Supervisor Tom Mandli, who represents portions of the town of Peshtigo on County Board, along with Marinette resident Ken Holdorf and Town of Peshtigo resident Andi Rich. At the January Council meeting Rich had asked the Council to support PFAS-related bills SB302 and AB321, which were developed and promoted locally as "the Clean Act," but like the current resolution, urged the state and the state DNR to act quickly on PFAS rules.

Mandli noted he serves with Aldermen Mike Behnke and Jillian Schutte on County Board, where a resolution very similar to the one he was asking Peshtigo to support was approved by a 28 to one vote. Mandli said he is well aware that Wisconsin Counties Association and many communities are opposed to this legislation, but added the PFAS problem exists in this area, "and we are telling residents that we have their backs."

Holdorf told of a farmer who had to put down his entire herd due to health problems caused by ingesting PFAS, and of a person who said there had been 12 cases of cancer in a single residential block in an area with PFAS contamination.

He said purpose of this resolution "is to tell our state legislators that we want these bills passed." He said shortly after the city of Marinette approved a resolution similar to the one Peshtigo was about to consider Assemblyman John Nygren (a Republican) and Senator Dave Hansen (a Democrat) had agreed on a bi-partisan bill they could both support, and this resolution supports their bills. He said there are many other pieces of proposed PFAS legislation that are muddying the waters, and the bills supported in the resolution are those the local advisory group would like to see adopted. He said speed is of the essence because in a few weeks the legislature will adjourn for the year and legislation would be put on hold.

Council approval of the resoluton was prompt and unanimous.

Malke expressed thanks to city employees and residents who participated in the Menominee Winter Fest and Da Yooper Plunge for helping the City of Peshtigo win the "Best of the Cities" award for the third consecutive year. City employees who took the icy plunge included Becky Barrett, Jared Biehl and Jason Stibbe. Kathy Crabtree and several members of her team - Kade Laack, Nolan Driscoll, Derek LaBombard, who entered the outhouse race and did the outhouse push for the City of Peshtigo.

In other action aldermen unanimously supported Mayor Cathi Malke's appointment of recently appointed Fire Chief Chuck Gardon to the city's Ethics Committee to replace former Chief Steve Anderson, who has retired from his fire department and city official responsibilities.

Council also approved Parks and Recreation Committee recommendations to partner with New Life Church to establish a ice skating rink on the church property and authorize Parks and Recreation Director Shawn Northrop to organize a schedule of events and start programs and scheduling of rink use, and authorized Northrop to apply for grants to help develop a city-owned pond parcel adjacent to the highway 41 bypass at the east city limits into what will be known as Veterans/First Responders Park, and to apply for grants to help finance proposed projects for Badger Park Campground and Ballfield No. 4.

Northrop was also authorized by Council to advertise for four adults and two students to fill summer positions with the Parks and Recreation department.

On recommendation of the Streets and Drainage Committee council approved sale of the 2004Ford Explorer Sport Trac vehicle to Carl Malke, the highest bidder at $526. Mayor Malke said there were only two bids received, and wished there had been more bids submitted.Also approved was a special event license for St. Mary's Catholic Church for a Denim and Diamonds fund raiser dance on Saturday, May 8.

Alderman Mike Behnke reported that the Fire, Lighting and Building Committee had authorized Fire Chief Gardon to seek proposals for purchase of a Commercial Fire Pumper Unit with a bid opening set for 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24.


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