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Kaul reaches $242K settlement on manure spills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Attorney General Josh Kaul has reached a $242,000 settlement with a factory farm and a manure applicator to resolve pollution violations stemming from manure spills several years ago.

Kaul announced the settlements with K&D Manure Handling, Inc., its owner, Kevin Hintz, and Wild Rose Dairy LLC in a news release on Monday. He brokered the deals earlier this month.

The settlements resolve state Justice Department allegations that Wild Rose and K&D caused manure spills in Otter Creek in Vernon County in 2017 and 2019, resulting in significant fish kills each time. The agency also alleged that K&D and Hintz caused a spill in Bostwick Creek in La Crosse County in 2019.

The agreement requires Wild Rose Dairy to pay $57,000 in forfeitures, surcharges, court costs and attorney fees. K & D Manure Handling and Hintz must pay $185,000 in total in forfeitures, surcharges, court costs, DNR costs and attorney fees. This includes $126,000 for the fish killed by the three manure spills.

Republican lawmakers passed a lame-duck law in 2018 that requires Kaul to get permission from the Legislature’s GOP-controlled budget committee before he can enter into settlements. Kaul got around that requirement by brokering the deals without filing a lawsuit.

Assistant Attorney General Emily M. Ertel represented the state. DOJ officials said the agency worked closely with the DNR to obtain the settlement.

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