We Energies to pay $100,000 for environmental violations

MADISON (WITI) -- Following an October 2011 bluff collapse at a WE Energies construction site, the Wisconsin Department of Justice determined on Monday, June 8th, that We Energies will pay the state of Wisconsin $100,000 for environmental violations discovered as a result of the incident.

More than a year-and-half ago, We Energies was constructing a retention pond in its Oak Creek power plant. However, construction did not go as planned and a bluff collapse released approximately 22,000 cubic yards of material - including coal ash - into Lake Michigan, according to a press release from the Wisconsin's Attorney General's office.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to the bluff collapse and discovered We Energies had committed several environmental violations.

Shortly thereafter, the state of Wisconsin brought a lawsuit against We Energies at the request of the DNR. According to the press release, We Energies "excavated waste materials and constructed the new retention pond in areas other than those originally approved by the DNR, failed to notify the DNR when grading of the project reached fifty percent completion and failed to revise its erosion control plans when the retention pond was moved."

In a settlement reached on Monday, July 8th, We Energies agreed to reimburse the DNR approximately $53,937 and the Wisconsin Department of Justice $3,000 for costs of prosecution and forfeitures. We will also pay another $43,603 in surcharges and other costs. The total comes to $100,000.