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Railroad Ordered to Pay Penalties of $49,000 for Violations of State Storm Water Management and Wetland Protection Laws at Rail Expansion Project in Chippewa County


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that Progressive Rail Incorporated and its division Wisconsin Northern Railroad have been ordered to pay $49,000 in forfeitures, assessments, costs and fees for violations of Wisconsin's water and wetland protection laws. The railroad committed the violations in the course of constructing new side and spur tracks as part of an expansion of a transloading facility for truck-rail transfer of frac sand and other commodities in the town of Eagle Point and the City of Chippewa Falls, Chippewa County, in October 2011.


Wisconsin law prohibits discharging pollutants to wetlands without a certification from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that the discharges comply with state water quality standards. Wisconsin law also requires that owners of construction sites where an acre or more of land will be disturbed, submit a notice of intent to the DNR and obtain coverage under a water pollutant control permit regulating storm water runoff before commencing construction. These permits in turn require that property owners implement best management practices for protecting state water resources from storm water runoff.


In addition to paying a judgment of $49,000 for the violations, Progressive Rail will obtain an after-the-fact wetland water quality certification for its project and will fund a Wetland Creation Project through the Chippewa County Department of Land Conservation & Forest Management, as part of the Little Lake Wissota Stewardship Project.


According to the complaint filed by the Attorney General at the request of the DNR, runoff pollution is the major cause of polluted waters in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin is losing 300 acres of wetlands a year.


"Wisconsin law requires that property owners obtain and follow permits designed to prevent pollution and to protect public rights in the state's wetlands and navigable waters," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's water resources are safeguarded through compliance with the law."


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case for the State.


Copies of the Stipulation and Order for Judgment, and Judgment are available at the following links: