Cleaner air and water come at a cost

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published September 1, 2003  | September 2003 issue

In the ongoing struggle of industry vs. environment, Mother Nature may be gaining an upper hand. Over recent months, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has passed regulations to reduce the amount of pollution in both the air and water.

New rules concerning air pollution, passed in April, would toughen standards for 125 pollutants and add 144 substances to the current list of 438 regulated materials. The new regulations benefit the environment, but also add to business costs. Estimates for the one-time compliance costs vary from $2.5 million to a staggering $100 million.

Another set of regulations, passed by the board in June, is designed to decrease the mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants by 40 percent by 2010 and 80 percent by 2015. This reduction should make fish caught in Wisconsin lakes safer to eat. Estimates from the Department of Natural Resources show that limiting emissions could cost utilities between $87 million and $104 million.

These new regulations have yet to be approved by the state Legislature and may face opposition.

Marissa Benson