Wisconsin’s Spills Law protects our water: what we’re doing to defend it

Jun 17, 2021 | Agriculture, Clear Water Farms, Drinking Water, Groundwater

Today, Midwest Environmental Advocates filed a request to intervene in a lawsuit initiated by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce that seeks to undermine the authority of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to regulate PFAS and other hazardous substances under Wisconsin’s Spills Law.

Midwest Environmental Advocates filed the request to intervene in Waukesha County Circuit Court on behalf of concerned Wisconsinites including the River Alliance of Wisconsin, Citizens for a Clean Wausau, Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin, Wisconsin Environmental Health Network, and Doug Oitzinger, a former mayor of Marinette. Intervention is a process that allows an organization or a person who is not an original party to a lawsuit to participate and defend their interests in the case if they will be directly and substantially affected by the outcome.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and Leather Rich, Inc. filed a lawsuit in February to sue the DNR to limit the agency’s ability to investigate environmental contamination and require responsible parties to clean up contaminated sites. The lawsuit threatens to fundamentally undermine the Spills Law, a bedrock environmental and public health protection that has protected the people of Wisconsin for more than 40 years.

River Alliance of Wisconsin chose to intervene in this case because preserving the integrity of the Spills Law is crucial to the DNR’s ability to protect Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers. The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce assault on the Spills Law is a significant threat to Wisconsin’s water resources, to public health, and to all the sectors of our economy — including tourism and agriculture — that rely on clean water.

The idea that the Spills Law could be gutted and that we could return to a time when polluters weren’t held accountable for cleaning up contaminated soil and water is unthinkable. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s at stake in this lawsuit.

River Alliance of Wisconsin joins others to defend our water. Join with us by making a donation today.

Media coverage of this issue included stories in the Wausau Pilot & Review, Wisconsin Public Radio, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital Times, and the Wisconsin Examiner.


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