Joint Finance Committee unanimously approves settlements in pollution, consumer protection cases

By: - November 16, 2022 5:00 am
Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee at a news conference

Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee at a news conference

The Wisconsin Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee unanimously approved five settlements between the Wisconsin Department of Justice and state companies that had violated the law on Tuesday. 

The settlements involved two companies that had violated state environmental rules and three companies that had violated state consumer protection rules.

In the first settlement, involving paper company Ahlstrom-Munksjo, the state Department of Justice reached a pre-lawsuit agreement with the company for violating its air pollution control permit. The company agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty for its violation. 

The largest settlement approved by the committee on Tuesday involved Container Life Cycle Management, a company with sites around the Milwaukee area that cleans 55-gallon steel drums and large plastic containers so they can be reused. The state alleged that at the company’s facilities in Oak Creek, St. Francis and Milwaukee, the company exceeded its air pollution limit and stored hazardous waste without a license to do so. 

In a joint action involving the state DOJ, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, the company entered a negotiated consent decree with a monetary penalty of $1.65 million. Wisconsin will receive $850,000 through the settlement. 

The committee also approved settlements with three companies for a combined total of more than $600,000 in penalties for violations of the state’s consumer protection laws. The state alleged that the companies, US Automotive Protection Services, American Tax Solutions and NCWC Inc., sent direct mailers to customers containing false information, made telemarketing calls to Wisconsin residents without being registered as a solicitor or called people on the do-not-call registry. 

Since the 2018 lame duck session in which the Republican-controlled Legislature stripped powers from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, the state DOJ has had to go to the committee to get approval before entering into certain settlements. 

Despite its members’ insistence that it must have control of state settlements, the committee has largely provided little pushback on DOJ’s negotiated settlements. With the exception of the state’s settlement in a massive lawsuit against opioid companies, the committee has approved most settlements this year on unanimous votes.


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.