America’s Dairyland also prizes its lakes and rivers. But as high-capacity wells proliferate in Wisconsin, agriculture and other groundwater users are posing risks to the amount and health of the water, bringing to the legal forefront disagreements about access to the waters that lie beneath.
Projects to gain energy efficiency to reduce costs are top of mind for commercial building owners, but financing through traditional lending practices is hard to come by. Property Assessed Clean Energy programs are a new statutory financing mechanism that provides a new opportunity for general-practice attorneys to offer building-efficiency upgrade solutions for a variety of clients.
Nov. 5, 2014 – The Great Lakes Region, at about 20 percent the world’s surface fresh water, stands to play an important role in the world’s global water market. Jenny Zook suggests this future demand for water is an opportunity for lawyers to effect policy and help safeguard Wisconsin’s natural resource. Here are some resources to get you started.
Given the large scale and rapid growth of frac sand mining operations in Wisconsin, some conflict between mines and their neighbors probably is unavoidable, but mine owners can promote good relationships by adhering to existing health and environmental laws and regulations.
The State Bar of Wisconsin National Mock Trial planning team is calling on attorneys, judges and experienced teachers and coaches from around the state to step up to the bench and volunteer to serve on a judging panel during the 2014 National High School Mock Trial Championship on May 9 and 10 in Madison.
Following Rock-Koshkonong Lake District v. Wisconsin DNR, the bedrock principles of the public trust doctrine in Wisconsin – the civil right of the public to use and enjoy navigable waters, and the broad rule of standing to protect that right – remain firmly intact.
March 20, 2013 – A new mining law relaxes environmental standards for permitting and operation of a mining site in Wisconsin. But advocates for an iron ore mine up north face an uphill battle. In this article, Madison lawyer Elizabeth Wheeler explains the new law.
2011 Wisconsin Act 167 changes the DNR’s permitting authority and requirements for navigable waterway permits. Effective Sept. 1, 2012, the new law eases requirements for private entities seeking to fill navigable waterways by shortening timelines, removing public participation requirements, and creating presumptive approvals. The changes have significant implications for the state’s administration of the public trust doctrine.
July 18, 2012 – Greenwashing describes vague unsubstantiated or misleading environmental marketing claims. In this video, David Gilles and Matthew Kemp discuss Wisconsin's standards for labeling recycled, recyclable, and degradable products and the requirements for substantiating the energy savings created by certain products.
March 21, 2012 – In this video, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney briefly explains legislative changes and other updates to shoreland zoning, wetland reforms, and pier regulation. In addition, Moroney discusses the "hot topic" issues the department will tackle in the foreseeable future.
March 21, 2012 – In March 2011, the legislature suspended the Public Service Commission's wind siting rules for the uniform local regulation of wind power, Wis. Admin. Code chapter PSC 128. With the close of the 2011-2012 legislative session on March 15, 2012, those rules have now gone into effect.
Feb. 1, 2012 – Attorneys who engage in real estate development, land use, environmental, municipal, or general practice or who represent a land-use-related industry will want to attend the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE™ Current Issues in Land Use Law seminar on March 15 in Madison, offered simultaneously via webcast.
Jan. 4, 2012 – Assembly Bill 426, introduced Dec. 14, 2011, makes sweeping changes that would affect permit applicants, local governments, neighboring property owners, citizens' groups, and the state itself. Elizabeth Wheeler of Clean Wisconsin explains that these changes span a range of issues, from permit fees and tax revenues to permitting timelines and environmental standards as applied to iron mining.
April 20, 2011 — In March 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules, in an unusual step, suspended proposed PSC rules for the uniform local regulation of wind power. Attorney Edward Marion summarizes the provisions of 2009 Wisconsin Act 40 limiting local control over wind energy systems, discusses the draft PSC rules, and sketches out the current state/local scheme for regulating wind energy systems.
The Working Lands Initiative is a cooperative state and local government and private effort to save farmland, protect the environment, and minimize land-use conflicts. A new law provides enhanced tax credits for farmers whose land is protected for agricultural use and who adopt sound environmental practices. The law provides new opportunities for public-private partnerships, and encourages a renewed community focus on farmland preservation and land-use planning.
"Going green" is an increasingly popular building protocol, with more governmental units offering tax or capital incentives to more developers in more municipalities. Lawyers well-versed in the green building protocol can help clients articulate their motivation for going green, identify the opportunities and benefits, and suggest creative solutions to minimize the significant risks inherent in green development.