Wisconsin employers face an uncompetitive and often hostile regulatory environment. Many environmental regulations in Wisconsin are more stringent than what is necessary to protect the environment, and more stringent than what is required by other states. These “Wisconsin only” regulations add to the cost of doing business here. Businesses must often wait longer to get environmental permits in Wisconsin compared to other states. A recent survey of WMC members found overwhelming concerns with Wisconsin’s regulatory burden, with 97% saying Wisconsin regulations are more costly than other states, and 72% saying Wisconsin regulations significantly impact their ability to retain employees.

To address these problems, WMC is actively pursuing the following agenda for reform:

  • Enact comprehensive reforms to Wisconsin’s regulatory rulemaking process to ensure state agencies follow the law when proposing new regulations.
  • Provide a level playing field by conforming Wisconsin regulations to those of corresponding federal laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
  • Pursue environmental permit streamlining reforms to shorten the permit approval process, and reduce the need for individual negotiated permits.

Recent Accomplishments:

WMC helped author and pass a new regulatory reform law (2011 Act 21) that accomplishes numerous pro-business objectives, including:

  • Allowing the Governor to veto new regulations
  • Requiring detailed cost vs. benefit analyses for all new regulations
  • Prohibiting agency regulations that are more strict that state law
  • Invalidating requirements in regulatory permits that are not explicitly authorized by state law or administrative rules

WMC led an award-winning campaign to defeat a state global warming bill that would have forced costly and devastating requirements on Wisconsin businesses. A study predicted the bill would have killed 43,000 Wisconsin manufacturing jobs had it passed.

And, WMC repealed the Wisconsin-only total suspended particulate (TSP) standard to help simplify the air permitting process.


  • Continue the effort to pass legislation streamlining the air and water permit approval processes.
  • Provide regulatory relief to businesses by working with the DNR to have counties designated as “nonattainment” for ozone reclassified to “attainment.”
  • With the help of WMC members, identify duplicative and unnecessary regulations and work with DNR management to change or eliminate them.
  • Enact iron mining permit reforms to help create and sustain thousands of Wisconsin jobs.
  • Pass comprehensive wetland permit reforms to streamline the regulatory process and increase wetland mitigation opportunities.

Staff Contact: Scott Manley   Follow Scott @ManleyWMC