THU AM News: Georgia-Pacific breaks ground on $500M mill expansion in Green Bay; Evers, Kaul announce PFAS lawsuit

— Georgia-Pacific has broken ground on a $500 million expansion to its mill in Green Bay, expected to be complete in 2024. 

Speaking yesterday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Broadway Mill expansion, company executive Kim Burns highlighted the expected impact of the expansion. She’s the vice president and general manager of the retail towel and napkin categories for Georgia-Pacific. 

Burns said the expansion includes a new paper machine, related tissue converting lines, buildings and infrastructure. It will add 100 new jobs to the area after it goes online in 2024. Over 800 employees currently work at the site. 

The new machine will be producing consumer retail projects, marking a change in the facility’s focus. The Green Bay mill has previously made products for the “away-from-home” segment, for use in places like sports venues, restaurants and hospitals. 

“Consumer demand for ultra-premium tissue and towel products is growing significantly, and Georgia-Pacific is well-positioned to serve this growth,” Burns said. 

She added the company’s Green Bay employees and facilities “have a proven track record of delivering results” when investments like these are made. Georgia-Pacific has spent over $1.2 billion on Green Bay facilities since 2006. 

“When Green Bay facilities receive investments, these projects often ramp up more quickly than originally projected with fewer unanticipated problems and become stable operations with consistent, high-quality production within a short period of time,” she said. 

See more on the project in Top Stories below. 

— Gov. Tony Evers and AG Josh Kaul have announced a lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers, arguing the companies knew or should have known the harm their products would have on public health and the environment.

Evers and Kaul filed the suit against 18 companies including Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, 3M and DuPont for “wrongful, deceptive and tortious conduct.” The lawsuit states the companies “publicly denied, downplayed, and distorted” the risks associated with PFAS.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a series of chemicals found in industrial and everyday products, most notably firefighting foam. They are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily in the environment and are linked to several diseases and cancers in humans.

“Every Wisconsinite deserves access to clean, safe water — free of lead, PFAS, and other contaminants that have long been known to harm our kids, families, farmers, communities, and industries across our state,” Evers said.

Kaul said the lawsuit will ensure companies — not taxpayers — are the ones to pay for PFAS remediation efforts.

The suit aims to recover “loss-of-use damages, natural-resource damages, and the costs of investigating, abating, containing, preventing, treating, removing, and remediating PFAS contamination” in the state and requests punitive damages for the defendants’ “reprehensible conduct.”

Evers and Kaul touted the lawsuit yesterday at a news conference held on French Island near La Crosse.

Kaul has also filed a lawsuit against Johnson Controls and Tyco Fire Products to address PFAS contamination from firefighting foam.

Dupont de Nemours spokesman Dan Turner told the company should not be included in the complaint because it has never manufactured PFOA or PFOS firefighting foam.

“While we don’t comment on pending litigation, we believe this complaint is without merit, and is the latest example of DuPont de Nemours being improperly named in litigation,” Turner said. “We look forward to vigorously defending our record of safety, health and environmental stewardship.”

A representative for Tyco Fire Products when asked by for comment said there is nobody at the company to respond to questions from the press because the media liaison retired.

Other companies listed in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

See the lawsuit:

— An assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin says the state is “right about average” for the number of young children being vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Dr. Frank Zhu is also the infection control and prevention medical director at Children’s Wisconsin. In an interview yesterday, he discussed the progress Wisconsin is making in vaccinating children aged 6 months to 4 years following last month’s recommendation from the state Department of Health Services. 

Based on data reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics on July 13, about 3.2 percent of Wisconsin kids in this age range have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s roughly equal to the national average, Zhu noted. 

“Obviously there are significant variations by state … but it seems like we’re right about average,” he said. 

Compared to its Midwest neighbors, Wisconsin is faring better than some but worse than others. Minnesota and Illinois have higher vaccination rates for children aged 6 months to 4 years, with 6.8 percent and 4 percent, respectively. But Iowa, Indiana and Michigan have lower rates, with 2.4 percent, 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. 

Zhu said he feels there’s not “as much urgency” with this round of vaccinations as there was last year when vaccinations began for children aged 5-11. 

“We’ll have to see if the numbers sort of correlate with that, because with the 5- to 11-year-olds, there was like a huge spike in vaccinations in the first month or two, and then they slowly started to taper down,” he said. “We’re about a month into the 6 month to 4-year-olds.” 

He also said “it might be a little bit easier” to get children in this younger age group vaccinated against COVID-19, as many of them will already be going into the doctor’s office for other routine vaccinations. 

“The most important message is we’ve had these vaccines for quite some time now,” he said. “Millions and millions of doses have gone out to … certainly 5- to 11-year-olds and older adults, and it’s been proven fairly convincingly that the vaccines are by-and-large very safe and quite effective.” 

See the latest AAP report: 

Track Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination rates: 

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— UW-Madison has announced Prof. Michael Morgan will be taking a leave of absence from the university after recently being approved as assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction. 

Morgan was recently approved by the U.S. Senate for the role, and will be serving as deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

The release shows he’s spent 27 years at the university, and previously served as division director for the National Science Foundation. His research has included analyzing and predicting various weather systems. 

“I am honored to have been confirmed by the Senate and thrilled to be able to further advance our nation’s capabilities in earth system prediction to allow for timely preparation for environmental threats,” Morgan said in the release. “I have always embraced the Wisconsin Idea, which stipulates that knowledge be widely shared to make life better for all.”

See the release: 

— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is calling for applicants for the 2022 Governor’s Export Achievement Award. 

Submissions will be accepted through Aug. 12, a WEDC release shows. An awards ceremony will be held Oct. 26 following the World Trade Association’s 2022 Global Business Insights series in Milwaukee. 

“Challenging as it can be, exporting is essential for a business to reach new markets and grow,” Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO, said in the release. “The winners of the Governor’s Export Achievement Awards have found success in international markets while contributing to Wisconsin’s exporting strength, setting examples that other businesses should strive to follow.”

Applications must include a cover page, company profile, international activities and significant contributions to Wisconsin’s competitiveness, according to the release. 

Find the application form here: 

See more details: 


# Menominee Tribe partners with Hard Rock to relaunch Kenosha casino effort

# Georgia Pacific breaks ground on $500 million addition to Broadway mill

# Researchers harness algae to ‘grow’ construction cement



– Clark tapped to lead DFW board as chair

– Ramamker chosen as new CFO of CentralStart Cooperative


– Report: Wisconsin industries that grew and shrank during pandemic


– Vivent Health plans $9M project to expand clinic space for HIV patients

– UW Health gearing up for Roll & Stroll for Pancreas Cancer next month


– Wisconsin’s job recovery from pandemic has been quick but ‘uneven,’ according to new policy forum report


– Wisconsin AG sues 18 companies over PFAS contamination


– Raised Grain partners with Bulleit Bourbon, and new beer history exhibit: Beer Biz MKE

– Having raised $700K, Wisconsin candle producer eyes $1M goal for Ukraine relief


– Madison City Council approves $70 million low-cost housing project for the East Side

– Suburbs trumping downtown Milwaukee for office leases since 2020

– A $35.7 million apartment and retail development on the former Bucyrus campus has been canceled in South Milwaukee


– First full-service Levi’s store in Wisconsin opens at Hilldale


– Crescendo’s Monroe Street location to permanently close


– Bucks star, Milwaukee influencer Bobby Portis relishes blue-collar label

– Wisconsin’s second college bowl game to be held at Wisconsin Lutheran College

– ‘It’ll open Green Bay’s eyes’: Milwaukee area soccer fans anticipate large crowd for July 23 match between Manchester City and Bayern Munich

– After a COVID pause, Madison Roller Derby returns to local game play


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.: Wisconsin businesses invited to apply for 2022 Governor’s Export Achievement Awards

Revitalize Milwaukee: Partnership receives $500,000 state grant to cut carbon emissions and utility bills