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Wisconsin DNR’s New Phosphorus Rules: Update – They Are in Effect

In May we reported that the new phosphorus rules for point sources adopted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (“WDNR”) had gone into effect on December 1, 2010, but might not remain in effect for long. The expectation at that time was that the Governor’s Biennial Budget bill would include a two-year delay in the effective date of the rules. See our May 9, 2011 client alert Wisconsin DNR’s New Phosphorus Rules: Are They in Effect?

It never happened. 

The Governor’s original budget proposal prohibited WDNR from promulgating or enforcing phosphorus rules more stringent than those established in the neighboring states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota or Ohio. That proposal met with much concern and the talked-about alternative was to enact the two-year delay. The Joint Committee on Finance considered various options presented by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.  Reportedly, the Senate and Assembly Republicans couldn’t agree on any of the delay options, and chose instead to delete the Governor’s proposal.  As a result, the Biennial Budget bill signed by Governor Walker on June 26, 2011 contained no language on the issue – leaving the adopted rules in place.

Now the talk is about a separate piece of legislation. Since the legislative session is now over, this will have to wait at least until September when the new session opens. What the legislation might say is yet to be determined.

So, the work begins in earnest to implement the rules. There are lots of procedural and substantive issues to address and WDNR is working with outside groups to identify those issues and fashion responses which will form the basis for WDNR guidance.   

©2022 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume I, Number 180

About this Author

linda h, bochert, partner, michael best law firm, environmental regulation
Of Counsel

Linda has spent her career in the arena of environmental regulation. Bringing her 17 years of experience as a state regulator, for 24 years she has continued to help our clients establish and maintain effective working relationships with state and federal environmental regulatory agencies. Linda has served in various policy advisory roles to state agencies, from both inside and outside of state government, including the Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Revenue. 

Clients have consistently benefited from her unique understanding of the workings of regulatory...

David A. Crass agribusiness law attorney Michael best Law Firm
Partner; Industry Group Chair, Agribusiness, Food & Beverage

David’s practice sits squarely at the intersection of the food-water-energy nexus. His work in the areas of environmental, regulatory, agricultural production, manufacturing and distribution, and energy projects gives him the depth of experience necessary to counsel clients who will be feeding and powering a projected global population of nine billion people by 2050—at a time when resource scarcity and consumer confidence require an ongoing commitment to stewardship and sustainability.

David grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and maintains a presence in Michael Best’s Madison, WI...

Leah Hurgten Ziemba, Michael Best Law Firm, Agribusiness and Energy Attorney
Partner, Industry Group Chair

Leah takes a big-picture approach in advising clients as they face challenges on environmental, food safety, and regulatory compliance issues. She draws on experience gained in cases involving the EPA, FDA, and other public agencies.

Leah’s success as a counselor, litigator and negotiator reflects her combination of subject matter expertise, industry knowledge, and creativity. Her work includes:

  • Investigating, assessing, and remediating vapor intrusion issues at sites with historic solvent contamination...