January 5, 2018


Madison - State Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) and State Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) issued this statement after the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) referred complaints to the state Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding Milwaukee-area Mid-America Steel Drum refurbishing plants.


“Given the concerns we have heard from our neighbors, as well as reports from investigating state and federal agencies, it remains clear that immediate action is necessary to protect the health and property of residents living and working close to these facilities. The air pollution and hazardous waste complaints against Mid-America Steel Drum Company, owned by Greif, Inc., sent by the state DNR to the Wisconsin DOJ for possible prosecution, are an important step in safeguarding our communities.


“While we remain frustrated that the health and well-being of our neighbors were not earlier top priorities for the Walker and Trump administrations, the fact that the DNR has now referred these complaints to DOJ provides much needed hope that polluters who callously calculate the profits of disregarding our environmental and health laws will be stopped and held accountable.


“We vigorously call upon Attorney General Schimel to act immediately on these complaints and back-up his claim that DOJ is an environmental enforcer. Our neighbors who continue to face the threat of dangerous chemical pollution want and deserve justice. The AG and his agency have a moral and legal obligation to hold those behind this pollution accountable. Business leaders who allow such pollution must be held personally accountable. The damaged health and wellbeing of our neighbors must not remain mere profit losses future companies build into their business models in order to continue similar polluting practices.” 


“We commend our neighbors for demanding action, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporters for their in-depth reporting on this hazardous industry, and DNR staff for their investigation of the three Mid-America plants in the Milwaukee area, including the facilities in St. Francis and Oak Creek.”