Wisconsin AG obtains judgment against Wisconsin Electric Power Company

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 10, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced a judgment Tuesday against Wisconsin Electric Power Company to resolve allegations of environmental violations that occurred during the construction of a retention pond.

The Department of Natural Resources alleged that WE engaged in environmental violations when constructing a retention pond at its Oak Creek-based power plant. On Oct. 31, 2011, a bluff collapse on the south end of the WE facility resulted in the release of approximately 22,720 cubic yards of material, some of which was released into Lake Michigan.

The collapse resulted in the carrying of debris from the construction worksite, including heavy machinery and vehicles, into Lake Michigan.

Following the collapse, WE responded to the collapse by placing containment devices and conducting a geotechnical analysis of the bluff's stability. The company also excavated and removed the material and debris that was released during the bluff collapse, competing the work in November 2011.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the DNR alleged that WE excavated waste materials and constructed the new retention pond in areas that were not approved by the DNR, failed to notify the DNR when grading of the project reached 50 percent completion and failed to revise its erosion control plans after the retention pond was moved.

Under the terms of the judgment, WE agreed to pay $100,000 to the state, including $53,397.03 for response costs, $3,000 for court costs and $43,602.97 in additional costs and surcharges.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the cleanup and remediation conducted by WE cost approximately $12.1 million.

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