MADISON - Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton) and Rep. Jonathon Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) held the first listening session of their Save Our Water Tour, which accompanies the reintroduction of the Save Our Water Act (Senate Bill 176).
The listening session offered an opportunity for concerned citizens and water experts to discuss the varied and growing threats to our shared waters and to learn about the crucial steps needed to best safeguard our waters. Future listening sessions are being planned for Appleton and Madison.
“We live in perilous times where climate change, lead, invasive species, overuse, pollution, and privatization threaten our shared waters. As we learned today from water experts and our neighbors, these growing threats to our water cannot be ignored. Today’s listening session made it clear that we must protect our water as an invaluable resource and safeguard access to clean water as a basic human right in order to ensure the health, safety, and security of our communities,” said Senator Larson.
Rep. Stuck noted that water is one of Wisconsin’s most precious resources.
"It's something which we all rely on whether living in big cities like Milwaukee, along once polluted rivers like Appleton, or relying on ground water for drinking and agriculture. Our abundance of water is something that sets our state apart," Stuck said. "We heard from many people about the challenges facing our water and the need for Legislators to work on efforts to increase the quantity, quality, and sustainability of our fresh water in Wisconsin.”
Brostoff said water is for everyone.
“Water is a fundamental and sacred human right, plain and simple. That right is more important than the profits of the already wealthy out-of-state shadow interest groups that are putting Wisconsin communities at risk for their own short-term gains," Brostoff said. "This bill is a clear statement of our values: The people of Wisconsin come first.”
Last session, Republican legislators pushed for a bill to allow out-of-state, for-profit companies to come into Wisconsin and buy up our public water utilities, even limiting transparency and citizens’ ability to stop such takeovers. While the bill passed the State Assembly, it never received a vote in the State Senate and did not become law.
Sen. Larson and Rep. Stuck introduced the Save Our Water Act, an anti-privatization legislation in response and were joined by Representative Brostoff in reintroducing that legislation this session.
The Democratic lawmakers said in a statement that the "GOP takeover bill, combined with the tragedy in Flint have helped build awareness to the threats facing our water."