Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules in Favor of OSGC By: Charlene Lemoine
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has released a ruling siding with the Oneida Seven Generations Corporation (OSGC) on a Conditional Use Permit for a pyrolysis staged-incinerator project the City of Green Bay initially granted, but later revoked.
The City of Green Bay’s decision to rescind the CUP was initially challenged in the Brown County Circuit Court. At the Circuit Court Green Bay argued numerous misrepresentations were made when the CUP was approved, including plans submitted to the City that lacked emission stacks and statements there would be no emissions. After approving the CUP Green Bay learned plans submitted to the WI DNR revealed 10 emission stacks with 3 having a height of 60 feet. The DNR permit also identified cadmium, arsenic, chromium, Dioxin/Furans, lead, mercury and other contaminants as potential emissions. The Brown Circuit Court agreed with the City’s action to revoke the CUP. However, the Circuit Court’s decision was reversed at the WI Court of Appeals, District III and ultimately the case was brought before the WI Supreme Court.
On 5/29/15 the WI Supreme Court’s opinion agreed with the Appeals Court stating “We conclude the City acted arbitrarily and without substantial evidence of misrepresentation when it revoked the CUP. Accordingly, we reverse.”
The Supreme Court also agreed “None of the statements on which the City relies can be reasonably interpreted as a promise that the facility would have no stacks or vents. Again, no reasonable person could believe that a gas-burning engine would not produce exhaust, which must be expelled from the facility.”
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack offered a Dissenting Opinion which in part states “I conclude (OSGC) has failed to meet its burden under certiorari review because a reasonable view of the presentations made March 1, 2011, when (OSGC) obtained the conditional use permit, supports the Common Council’s finding that it was misled. . . . Accordingly, I would reverse the court of appeals decision, affirm the circuit court’s affirmance of the Common Council decision, and respectfully dissent from the majority opinion.”
WEAL will continue networking with Incinerator Free Brown County, the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast WI and tribal members who have opposed the project being constructed on tribal lands, in the City of Green Bay or anywhere.