Wisconsin Court Voids State’s Hazardous Substance Designation for PFAS

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had a policy of treating “emerging contaminants” including PFAS as falling within the definition of “hazardous substances” under a state law pertaining to spills, without specifying which emerging contaminants or levels could trigger the spills law. The DNR’s policy was struck down by a Wisconsin state appeals court, which “conclude[d] that the DNR’s regulation of emerging contaminants as hazardous substances, and at certain concentrations, amounts to unlawfully adopted rules” that were promulgated without the proper procedures. The appeals court underscored the “fundamental principle” that laws “must give fair notice of conduct that is forbidden or required.”

March 6, 2024 | Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Inc., et al. v. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, et al., No. 2022AP718 (Court of Appeals of Wisconsin).

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