Marinette County is the latest to approve a Clean Water Now resolution.

On December 19, 2023, the Marinette County Board voted 24-3 to support a Clean Water Now resolution. With guidance from the county conservationist, county administrator and corporate council, the statement lends support to the county’s Land and Water Conservation Division to work to protect water resources and asks for more support from the state legislature and the Governor.

Residents of Marinette County have been particularly troubled by PFAS contamination in their drinking water since the Ansul Company, which is now known as Tyco Fire Products and a subsidiary of Johnson Controls, conducted tests of firefighting foam in Marinette. Water testing shows elevated levels of PFAS contamination where the foam was used on land and washed into the Marinette sewer system and impacted nearby Peshtigo.

Marinette is the third Wisconsin county to approve a resolution on clean water. Monroe County passed a Clean Water Now resolution on March 22, 2022 (download the resolution PDF). On October 9, 2023, Ashland County also approved an inspiring resolution in support of clean water (download the resolution PDF).

In 2021 and 2022, voters supported Clean Water Now advisory referendums in large margins in ten counties across the state. However, through a bad deal with Governor Evers over shared revenue funding, state legislators took away citizens’ rights to add advisory referendums to local ballots. State legislators may take away our right to voice our opinions directly on our ballots, but they can’t deny the overwhelming success of the Clean Water Now referendums or our basic right to clean water.

Fortunately county governments are more responsive to the needs of local voters. County governments also bear the responsibility of local watershed protection and restoration efforts. Approving Clean Water Now resolutions are an important step for county governments to express to state governments why they need more resources to protect our drinking water, rivers and lakes.