Legal Action

Our legacy of legal victory has been the cornerstone of protecting Wisconsin’s environment since our founding.

Our Legal Work

For over half a century, Clean Wisconsin has protected our natural resources and the places that make Wisconsin a wonderful place to live, work, and play, through strong, effective legal actions.

for over 60 years

A 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 instituting a new policy that would affect our natural resources. Over the last five decades, we have sued both polluters and state agencies to bring justice where an environmental wrong has occurred.

Recent Wins

Preserving Rare Wisconsin Wetland

Meteor Timber v. Wisconsin Division of Hearings and Appeals, et al

The Court of Appeals handed a major victory to Clean Wisconsin and its partners, ensuring a rare, critical Wisconsin wetland will remain protected. Atlanta-based based Meteor Timber, LLC had planned to fill the wetland and build a frac sand loading facility on the site.

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Protecting Rivers, Lakes & Streams in the Central Sands

Clean Wisconsin vs. DNR

Clean Wisconsin filed nine lawsuits against the Department of Natural Resources in 2016, after the agency failed to live up to its duties under the Public Trust Doctrine, putting rivers, lakes, and streams in the Central Sands at risk of depletion from unsustainable groundwater withdrawals to feed the region’s ever-expanding irrigated agriculture industry.

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Protecting Water Resources from Manure Pollution

Clean Wisconsin Vs. Kinnard Farms, DNR

For the first time, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is using its permitting authority to require a large-scale dairy operation to monitor groundwater pollution around farm fields where it spreads manure. The move stems from last summer’s Clean Wisconsin v. DNR state Supreme Court ruling.

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Fighting Ozone Pollution

Clean Wisconsin vs. EPA

In a major victory for Wisconsin’s air quality, a federal appeals court judge ruled that the EPA failed to protect Wisconsin residents from ozone pollution when determining which counties met health standards for the pollutant.

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MG&E Rate Case Settlement

Madison Gas and Electric agreed to lower its fixed charges for electricity, which had been among the highest in the state, after Clean Wisconsin and other advocacy groups intervened in its latest rate case.

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Law Student Internship & Externship Programs

Clean Wisconsin offers law students from any law school the opportunity to learn first-hand about the practice of environmental law. Students participating in the clinical program learn valuable practice skills and apply their coursework in administrative law, legislation, environmental law, natural resources law, energy law, political science, and many other areas. Students work side by side with Clean Wisconsin’s in-house attorneys to analyze legislative proposals, participate in administrative proceedings, draft discovery, motions, testimony, and briefs, and participate in hearings. Clean Wisconsin aims to provide law students with “hands-on” experience that will prepare them for real world environmental law practice.

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