October 26, 2014

DOJ files lawsuit against Madison-Kipp

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed suit against a Madison company, in connection with decades worth of alleged environmental laws violations. The lawsuit, filed at the request of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, alleges that Madison-Kipp Corporation released an industrial degreasing agent from the late 1940s until 1987, contaminating the surrounding neighborhood. PCB contamination is also alleged.

“As with any environmental violations that get referred to us by the DNR, we put in an attempt to settle them,” said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. “If we don’t believe we can do so to the satisfaction of everybody, then we will go through the judicial system.”

The DNR became aware of the contamination nearly a decade ago and since then has overseen Kipp’s cleanup efforts. “Obviously as a general deterrence, we want to make sure that people of companies don’t commit environmental violations,” said Van Hollen. “And we want to make sure, in this case in particular, that we do everything that we can to clean up the mess that has occurred, to restore property.”

According to the state, there is contamination originating from the Madison-Kipp facility on at least 39 properties in the neighborhood. A Madison-Kipp spokesman told the Associated Press that the company was not surprised by the filing and has been working to resolve the state’s claims, and that there are no elevated health risk to employees or the plant’s residential neighbors.

“I’ve made it very clear that our goal is to resolve these cases, not necessarily to sue companies and grab headlines,” said Van Hollen. “The process certainly can go to the point where we can’t come to a meeting of the minds and litigation is something that at least is initiated.”