Wisconsin District Court Issues Significant CERCLA Ruling


A significant CERCLA Opinion and Order was issued on March 18, 2015 by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Northern States Power Company v. The City of Ashland, Wisconsin, et al. Northern States is cleaning up a CERCLA site located adjacent to Lake Superior in Ashland, Wisconsin pursuant to agreements it had entered into with EPA in 2003 and 2012, and it has filed cost recovery lawsuits against the defendants, including Ashland County. Northern States alleges that Ashland County was a former owner of the facility many years ago, and that it was vested with sufficient ownership and control as the result of a tax delinquency. Contemporary newspaper accounts confirmed, for the Court, that the County appears to have played a direct role in the demolition of onsite facilities and the resulting historic releases of hazardous substances, and the County’s request for summary judgment was denied.