State policies would more strongly support the efforts of Wisconsin employers and farmers to protect the environment under two bills passed by unanimous voice vote today in the State Senate.
State Sen. André Jacque, R-De Pere, author of the legislation, said the measures will remove obstacles which discourage greater participation in conservation programs and strategies that safeguard the environment.
“Wisconsin employers and farmers want to protect our land, air, and water because they know it’s the right thing to, and that their livelihoods depend on it,” Sen. Jacque said. “State government needs to remove as many barriers as possible and promote those efforts.”
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Sen. Jacque said this common sense legislation removes disincentives associated with Wisconsin’s Environmental Compliance Audit Program compared to a similar program offered through the federal Environmental Protection Agency. It was formally requested and unanimously supported by the bi-partisan appointees of the Wisconsin Department of Natural (DNR) Resources Small Business Environmental Council (SBEC), with language suggested by the DNR.
“With different timelines, deadlines, and procedures to follow in order to use the Wisconsin audit program and one of EPA’s audit policies, companies may avoid using whichever program seems less advantageous,” Sen. Jacque said. “With more uniformity, the programs can be used simultaneously and offer greater advantage to employers while still protecting the environment.”
Best Practices for Manure Composting (Senate Bill 113)
Sen. Jacque said that, while composting is one of the more promising approaches for Wisconsin dairy farms to avoid excessive spreading and reduce runoff into our waters, current state requirements make organic products of composting unsaleable in Wisconsin. The bill makes a number of reasonable changes to these requirements, thereby removing an obstacle to the economic viability of manure composting.
“Marketing manure can be a beneficial, low-risk way for livestock producers to manage animal waste on their farms while incorporating a value-added product into their overall business plan,” Sen. Jacque said. “The opportunity to sell a waste product and recoup an economic benefit while protecting the environment is a win-win outcome this legislation will help to create.”
The bills now head to the State Assembly.