But some in the Wisconsin Legislature have decided they're smarter that the professionals. The Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules killed the proposed health standard this month. Since the state's ground water law was passed in 1984, health standards have been set for 130 chemicals, but this marked the first time the Legislature has killed a regulation on an agricultural chemical sought by state health and environmental agencies.
At the forefront of efforts to kill the regulation was Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, co-chairman of the rules committee. This is the same legislator who claims expertise in endangered species issues, fighting with the DNR to de-list the Butler garter snake from the state's list of threatened species so that development might proceed in the Milwaukee suburbs.
Grothman, an attorney, offered his own scientific appraisal of Lasso, saying he believes there is little danger from the chemical at the levels it is found in most wells. He added that few wells tested in the state actually exceeded the proposed standard of 20 parts per billion.
Going back to the old well of anti-DNR sentiment, Grothman took a whack at the department, saying among other things that "they just don't like people or what people do." With Lasso showing up in 28 percent of state private wells and 40 percent of the wells in southern agricultural areas, one is left to wonder whether it's Grothman who doesn't like people.
I never used to wonder about this back before Glenn beat Mary Panzer. He was approachable and conversant and hadn't had his wardrobe rearranged and colors done by some media consulting group. Since then it's been nothing but stranger every week.