Read the full article by Chris Hubbuch, Wisconsin State Journal (Wisconsin State Journal)

“An environmental advocacy group has settled court cases against Dane County and the Madison Water Utility after both agreed to release public records relating to hazardous chemicals known as PFAS.

Midwest Environmental Advocates filed the cases in March on behalf of Citizens for Open Government, an anonymous group that had tried for months to obtain government communications about the synthetic compounds, which have for decades been used in firefighting foam and household products and have recently been linked to cancer and other illnesses.

MEA dropped the case against the county earlier this month when the county provided the records — almost a year after the initial request was filed — and agreed to pay a little more than $6,000 in court costs and damages.

Asked in May 2019 for copies of 16 months worth of emails to and from County Executive Joe Parisi and his chief of staff pertaining to PFAS contamination at the Dane County Regional Airport, the county first provided unrelated documents and later said it could not locate records with multiple search terms or phrases such as ‘Air National Guard.’

MEA staff attorney Rob Lee said it should not have taken court action to obtain the records.

‘We tried to obtain the records the right way and even wrote not one but two letters,’ Lee said. ‘Unfortunately it took the extreme of filing a lawsuit to finally get the records’…”