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EPA 2007 enforcement results in record pollution reduction in Wisconsin

Release Date: 11/15/2007
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov, Karen Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07- OPA226

(Chicago, Ill. - Nov. 15, 2007) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 enforcement actions in Wisconsin in 2007 will reduce pollution by more than 173 million pounds - the largest reduction in Wisconsin since EPA began tracking the number. EPA actions also resulted in regulated entities spending more than $528 million on pollution controls to correct past environmental violations and help prevent future ones.

In the past fiscal year, EPA resolved 25 actions against regulated entities in Wisconsin and assessed a total of $2,837,055 in civil penalties for various air, water, hazardous waste, community right-to-know and pesticide violations. As part of settlement agreements, Wisconsin companies agreed to spend $138,200 on supplemental projects to benefit the environment.

"EPA regional enforcement actions in the last year will result in real health and environmental benefits," said Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade. "EPA believes in firm and fair enforcement and working with our partners at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to ensure cleaner air, water and land for the people of Wisconsin."

The two most notable environmental cases in Wisconsin were:

  • A record settlement with Wisconsin Electric Power Co. on air pollution violations covering four plants in Wisconsin and one in Michigan. The company will spend up to $496 million to reduce 72,000 tons per year of sulfur dioxide and 33,000 tons per year of nitrogen oxide emissions and improve its control of particulate matter from each of the plants. The company also paid a $2.8 million penalty and will spend at least $20 million to finance a project demonstrating new technology to significantly reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.
  • Several paper companies are currently cleaning up PCB-contaminated sediment in the Fox River under the terms of two consent decrees. Thus far, about 500,000 cubic yards of sediment have been removed from the river. Cleanup efforts are expected to significantly improve the Fox River ecosystem.

Region 5 coordinates with state environmental agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to enforce environmental laws. State agencies also have authority to pursue their own enforcement actions.

Nationwide, EPA enforcement resulted in a record $10.6 billion in pollution controls and environmental projects.

For more information about the Region's enforcement program go to http://www.epa.gov/region5/enforcement/fy07eoy.htm
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