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La Crosse Voters: Yes to "Clean Water Now" Advisory Referendum

La Crosse Tribune | Published on 4/5/2022

La Crosse County voters made their voices heard on the only county-wide referendum, an advisory question on if the state should establish a right to clean water.

Eighty-six percent of voters said yes to this question:

“Shall the State of Wisconsin establish a right to clean water to protect human health, the environment, and the diverse cultural and natural heritage of Wisconsin?”

The county’s unofficial vote count showed 16,304, or 86%, in favor of the advisory referendum and 2,576, or 14%, against. All precincts were reporting.

The responses from the referendum plan to be sent to various groups around the state and to the office of Gov. Tony Evers. The question stemmed from a statewide campaign known as “Clean Water Now.”

Late last month about 100 French Island residents gathered for a listening session with community and state leaders over the ongoing PFAS crisis.

So far, more than 500 wells on French Island have been shown to be contaminated with above-recommended levels of PFAS, a toxic group of “forever chemicals” that are believed to have stemmed from the La Crosse Regional Airport.

This initiative has passed elsewhere. In the spring 2021 elections, voters in Marquette County (73%), Portage County (77%) and Wood County (76%) approved referendums. The Monroe County Board has approved a resolution on the right to clean water.