Joint Statement From Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Brett Hulsey on Phosphorous Ruling
June 15, 2005
Madison –Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission Chair Brett Hulsey today praised the federal court ruling throwing out the lawsuit that had been filed against Dane County and the City of Madison’s phosphorous ban.
On June 14, 2005 Judge Barbara Crabb, of the Western District of United States Federal Court (in Madison) issued an order dismissing all six claims contained in the lawsuit challenging Dane County and the City of Madison’s ordinances banning the use of phosphorus in commercial fertilizers. The lawsuit was filed in December of 2004 by a number of entities involved in the fertilizer industry.
Judge Crabb held that the County and City may legally ban phosphorus, even where it is mixed with pesticides in “weed and feed” products. She stated that because he ordinances were created to “maintain and improve the water quality in the area’s lakes and rivers” and will keep additional phosphorus from entering the county’s rivers and lakes by diminishing manufacturers’ incentive to add phosphorus to their products, they do not violate any constitutional rights held by the fertilizer industry.
“This ruling is a victory for our lakes, and all of us who enjoy them,” said Falk. “And it comes at a perfect time, as we celebrate Yahara Lakes Week. The County and City’s phosphorous ordinances are an important step to help keep our lakes blue, while still keeping our lawns green. I want to commend the staff of the City and County, and the Lakes and Watershed Commission, who put so much time into defending our right to protect our lakes.”
“Healthy lakes are vital to making Madison a healthy city,” said Cieslewicz. “This ruling is a major victory for our regional efforts to improve the quality of our lakes, and protect the health of our citizens.”
“This is a great victory for Dane County’s lakes and streams,” said Brett Hulsey, Chair of the Dane County Lakes and Watershed Commission. “We all understand that we each have to do our part to keep our lakes and streams clean.”
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George Twigg (Madison), 608-266-4611
Lesley Sillaman (Dane County), 608-267-8823
Brett Hulsey (Lakes and Watershed), (609) 334-4994