Penalties in Environmental Cases Handled by Wisconsin Justice Department Increased in 2017

Financial penalties involving state environmental enforcement cases totaled $1.45 million in 2017 — the highest in Attorney General Brad Schimel’s first three years in office.

Under Schimel, penalties totaled $734,127 in 2015 and $449,253 in 2016. In 2017, the agency handled 49 environmental enforcement cases totaling $1,450,026.

In a series of emails, Justice Department spokesman Johnny Koremenos said its case load is dictated by the volume and types of cases referred to the agency from the DNR and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

For 2016, the DNR referred 25 cases to the Justice Department — down 36% from the 39 cases referred to the attorney general in 2015, according to records provided to the Journal Sentinel.

In addition, the agency reported that the state was part of settlements in federal Superfund pollution cases in 2017 totaling $242.3 million. That included a $200 million settlement by NCR Corp. for the longstanding cleanup of toxic chemicals from paper companies in the Fox River in the Green Bay area.