AG Schimel Announces Environmental Protection Unit Enforcement Results
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Environmental Protection Unit has released its environmental enforcement results for the third quarter of 2017. The unit obtained judgments in 12 state enforcement cases and in one federal Superfund case that was prosecuted jointly with the U.S. Department of Justice. The state judgments totaled $249,009 in forfeitures and related surcharges, plus an additional $705,500 in projects designed to further protect public health and the environment. The joint federal case secured an additional $200,000,000 in remediation commitments for the ongoing PCB removal and restoration work in the Fox River.
“DOJ continues our important work enforcing the state’s environmental laws and helping to protect and restore our state’s natural resources,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “I am also pleased that we are continuing to make progress working with our federal partners to address our most contaminated sites through aggressive implementation of the nation’s Superfund law.”
Of the 12 state enforcement actions, six involved civil prosecutions for unpermitted discharges or other threats to surface water and wetlands, one addressed asbestos abatement and material handling violations, one involved hazardous waste management requirements, one involved a significant petroleum spill at a gas station, and another targeted the removal of abandoned underground storage tanks containing residual petroleum products. The state also criminally prosecuted an individual for an intentional hazardous waste spill, and strengthened an existing agreement with the City of Waukesha to require emergency backup pumps for key drinking water supply wells and contingency planning for additional water treatment equipment should there be delays in the implementation of the Lake Michigan water diversion project.
To date, DOJ has completed 34 state environmental enforcement cases in 2017 resulting in $735,485 in forfeitures and related surcharges and securing an additional $762,500 for environmental projects, for a total judgment value of $1,497,985. The two joint federal Superfund cases settled in 2017 have secured $242 million in future restoration commitments for both Chequamegon Bay along the shores of Lake Superior and the Fox River, which flows into Green Bay and Lake Michigan.