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MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen released the following statement on the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin's approval of the lodging of a consent decree to settle the Sierra Club's action alleging Clean Air Act violations at the University of Wisconsin's (UW) Charter Street Heating Plant:
As Attorney General, I have the authority to settle cases on behalf of defendant state agencies and officials represented by the Department of Justice (DOJ.) In the Charter Street case, we represented Department of Administration officials (DOA,) as well as UW officials who were dismissed from the suit.
In consultation with our client defendants and their agencies, as well as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR,) who was not a party to the suit, we were able to arrive at a settlement that should ensure environmental compliance at all state-owned heating plants. We were able to do this while limiting the state's growing exposure to Sierra Club's attorneys' fees and without the need for additional litigation. I believe Wisconsin is best served when compliance can be achieved by agreement, rather than protracted litigation. And I also believe this settlement is in the best interests of the State.
I acknowledge the extensive effort put into this case by Assistant Attorneys General Thomas Dawson and Thomas Dosch, as well as the hard work by officials and staff at DOA, the UW, and DNR. This agreement demonstrates that officials and staff in state government, including the Governor's office, DOA, DNR, and DOJ, are committed to ensuring compliance with environmental laws.