Wisconsin Plant Recovery Initiative (WPRI)
The Wisconsin plant recovery initiative is a DNR effort to help communities expedite the cleanup and revitalization of industrial and/or commercial facilities that have recently shut their doors.
Like many states across the country, Wisconsin has witnessed a large number of business and plant closings in recent years. In addition to the impact of losing jobs, tax revenue and local business, a plant closing may also leave real or perceived environmental contamination that hinders any efforts to clean up and redevelop the property.
Having an impact
The Remediation and Redevelopment Program has published a two-year report that looks at what has been accomplished since the launch of the Wisconsin plant recovery initiative in March 2010, including the number of actions the DNR took at closing plants, jobs impacted and sites that received assistance from the Wisconsin assessment monies (WAM).
How DNR can help
Under the Wisconsin plant recovery initiative, the DNR wants to speed up the return of these facilities to productive use and encourage economic revitalization by offering a variety of cleanup and redevelopment tools. These tools include:
- DNR staff assistance on regulatory, environmental and financial issues;
- emergency assistance for any spills or contamination that presents an immediate threat to public health or the environment;
- free contractor services as part of Wisconsin assessment monies (WAM) to assess closing or closed plants;
- other state and federal environmental assessment and cleanup funds;
- liability exemptions and liability clarification letters for local governments and private parties; and
- technical oversight to ensure the proper cleanup to state standards of any contamination at shuttered properties.
Each time a company announces a plant closing, the DNR will offer to work with company officials and the community affected by the closing, outline the company’s responsibilities to safeguard public health and the environment and discuss the brownfield resources available to both parties to help assess, clean up and redevelop the property. Our goal is to organize a green team meeting with the company and comprehensively discuss the DNR obligations associated with air, waste, water and land issues.
In addition, there are many businesses that have already closed their doors, and the DNR will utilize this Initiative to address those properties as well.
The RR program has funding available as part of the Wisconsin assessment monies to assess the environmental condition of closing or closed plants. This funding (known by the acronym WAM) is designed to minimize the environmental unknowns associated with these properties.
Green team meetings
The DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program staff are willing to meet with communities and companies via our Green team meetings to discuss any issues that may arise from a closing/closed plant. We may also include other DNR, state or federal agency staff as needed.