Madison, WI—In a decision issued today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to take up a lawsuit involving Meteor Timber’s request for a permit that would have allowed the out of-state frac sand company to destroy rare wetlands in Monroe County.

 

Today’s decision marks the end of nearly five years of legal proceedingsin which Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) represented the Ho-Chunk Nation.

 

MEA and the Ho-Chunk Nation joined Clean Wisconsin in filing an initial challenge to the permit in 2017. The permit was invalidated by an administrative law judge when evidence revealed the permit had been granted by DNR managers over the objections of scientific experts within the agency. Experts testified that the project would have destroyed irreplaceable white pine-red maple wetlands that serve as habitat for threatened and endangered species and provide critical ecosystem services like flood prevention.

 

MEA and Clean Wisconsin successfully defended the initial legal victory when Meteor Timber tried to persuade the DNR Secretary to reverse the decision to invalidate the permit. MEA and Clean Wisconsin were again successful in defending the decision when Meteor Timber subsequently sought judicial review in Monroe County Circuit court and by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

 

MEA Staff Attorney Rob Lee said, “After nearly five years of litigation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision puts an end to Meteor Timber’s attempt to destroy these irreplaceable wetlands once and for all. Today’s ruling is a victory for the Ho-Chunk Nation, for Wisconsin, and for all those who value our natural resources and the public’s role in protecting them.”

 

Ho-Chunk Nation District 2 Representative Conroy Greendeer, Jr. said, “Many laws and regulations have been enacted in an attempt to provide a minimum standard for humans to survive. If Ho-Chunk people had written the laws, we’d incorporate the rights of nature to thrive, not merely survive. Meteor Timber’s permit application was clearly deficient. We won’t take any time to rejoice–this planet is still suffering from overexploitation. Our next generations simply will not survive if we allow polluters to contaminate our beautiful landscape without remediation and without remorse. While Meteor Timber may have lost this case, it is the Earth that bears the scars of the battle.”

 

Learn more about this case here.

 

The Ho-Chunk Nation is a federally recognized tribe. The Nation has several hundred enrolled members within the area affected by frac sand mining. The Nation’s government is dedicated to protecting their people and their lands for this and future generations. The expansive and permanent destruction of the landscape, including wetlands, for industrial sand mines threatens the Nation’s people, land, and cultural heritage.

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