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Rep. Kind meets with La Crosse-area leaders to discuss PFAS contamination

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 7:09 PM CDT
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FRENCH ISLAND, Wis. (WEAU) - Plans are continuing from the federal level down to local communities on how to reduce PFAS contaminations in the Coulee Region.

Rep. Ron Kind met with community leaders in the Town of Campbell Thursday to get an update on how PFAS is impacting local residents.

Kind says additional funding he pushed for through the American Rescue Plan will help with PFAS mitigation.

“I made sure in that legislation that one of the allowable uses of those funds that are coming back to the Town of Campbell, the City of La Crosse or the County of La Crosse, can be to address PFAS issues,” Kind detailed.

Jennifer Giegerich with Wisconsin Conservation Voters says the main issue continues to be a lack of testing across the nation.

“The reality is, in communities all across this country we are not testing for PFAS,” Giegerich said. “While there is a serious issue here in French Island and we know of 60 other communities in Wisconsin, most notably Peshtigo and Marinette, most communities do not know if their water is safe to drink.”

Kind agrees that more action is needed through the federal government.

“There are hotspots throughout the state of Wisconsin, throughout the nation, and so I’m sponsoring legislation at the federal level to establish good, scientific standards, and also an action plan on grants that would be made available to local communities on how to address it,” Kind said.

Newly-elected Town of Campbell Board Chairman Josh Johnson says the contaminated water supply is hindering the way of life on French Island.

“A lot of the stuff that I do and our tourism industry revolves around is water, and water is a finite resource,” Johnson added. “Your body is 66% water, if you contaminate so much of it there’s none left, you can’t sustain life.”

Christopher Donahue of French Island is pleading for a solution to ensure the safety of his loved ones.

“These are my friends, these are my family, I have many family members on the island,” Donahue expressed. “This is where I grew up, this is my home, it just hurts to even think about that there’s anything endangering your family or the people that you know, or even people you don’t know.”

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