Our Legal Work

legal-hold-polluters-accountableFor more than four decades, Clean Wisconsin has protected our natural resources and the places that make Wisconsin a wonderful place to live, work and play through strong and effective legal actions.

Legacy of victory

Starting in the 1970s, Clean Wisconsin brought several foundational lawsuits that established the state’s cornerstone environmental law, Wisconsin’s Environmental Policy Act (WEPA). WEPA requires decision-makers to consider the full spectrum of environmental impacts before issuing permits for a proposed project or before it instituting a new policy that would affect our natural resources. Over the last 44 years, we have sued both polluters and state agencies to bring justice where an environmental wrong has occurred. Read more about our victories here.

Strong, expert backing

Achieving victories for Wisconsin’s environment requires strategic advice and assistance from experienced members of Wisconsin’s legal community. To that end, we’ve established our Legal Advisory Council, which includes practicing and retired lawyers with extensive subject matter and legal expertise, including mining, energy, air, water, solid waste and Native American Law, and more.

Some highlights of our current work:

Utility rate cases

Utilities across the state are proposing to increase the “fixed charges” on electricity bills, which will result in higher bills for many homeowners and small businesses, Clean Wisconsin is working to ensure that utilities do what’s best for customers and the environment.

Clean water for Kewaunee County

With nearly one-third of the wells in Kewaunee County testing positive for nitrates and bacteria, Clean Wisconsin, in conjunction with other groups, have filed an emergency petition with the EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act to study the source of the pollution and provide clean drinking water to citizens. Read more about our legal work in Kewaunee County here.

Groundwater Quantity

As high-capacity well withdrawal approvals have increased by 40% over the last three years, more and more communities, especially in the Central Sands, are seeing the impacts of water scarcity. Clean Wisconsin is engaged in a lawsuit to defend DNR’s authority to regulate against industry interests that seek unbridled use of this resource.

Cleaning up coal plants

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of air pollution in Wisconsin. Clean Wisconsin has sued DNR over an air permit that would allow the Weston plant to emit additional mercury into our air. We are fighting for a lower permit limit that would better match the limit that the facility is already designed to meet.

Transmission lines

As Wisconsin’s and the Midwest’s energy infrastructure evolves to meet modern distribution needs, Clean Wisconsin has intervened in siting decisions to advocate for routes that would avoid environmental impacts, such as disrupting sensitive habitats and destroying valuable wetlands.

Clinical Program for Law Students

Clean Wisconsin offers law students from any law school the opportunity to learn about and practice environmental law. Get more information here.

Experts List

Clean Wisconsin staff are available to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise.
Find an expert here.