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Environmentalists Take on Ethanol Plant

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (CN) - An ethanol plant in Oshkosh dumped more than 400 million gallons of polluting effluents into the Fox River and Lake Winnebago, environmentalists claim in Federal Court. Utica Energy is accused of dumping chlorine, phosphorus, oil and grease and other chemicals into public waters for more than 6 years, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Action Council of Northeastern Wisconsin says the polluting plant has dumped an average of 170,000 gallons of effluent a day for more than 2,390 days. The plant produces about 50 million gallons of ethanol a year, from corn, according to the complaint. Plaintiffs say the plant blew off their repeated notices of violations and requests for monitoring.

The plaintiffs seek remediation and penalties. Their lead counsel is Karen Schapiro with Midwest Environmental Advocates of Madison.

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