Thursday, February 23, 2017

WI DNR climate change censors continue deleting

Along with the agency's Great Lakes climate science web page and earlier global warning material scrubbing, Scott Walker's anti-science Department of Natural Resources "chamber of commerce mentality" top management - -  
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
- - has also deleted several climate change and science web pages from the children's education resource program known as EEK!, including a teachers' activity guide and K-12 information, here.

Those links bring up the dreaded "Page Not Found - - the Web page that you are looking for is no longer on the server. Please check the page location. If you had this page bookmarked, please remove the bookmark from your browser."

Some of this may have been reported earlier, but I had not focused on it, so want to catch up now.

Still on the DNR website, however - - so you might want to save this post and all the useful links - - is this information-rich page about tree planting as a climate change antidote - - full text below.

Most of the links are external to the DNR, but information distribution about climate change can still be performed unwittingly by this agency - - like this Canadian educational program about climate change for children - - even as it scrubs pages and will lose its popular magazine provided for 99 years and enjoyed now by tens of thousands of satisfied customers if Scott Walker gets his way.


Youth and school planting projects

Example of free seedlings available from the state nursery; 3-year old white spruce
Take action! Motivate kids to plant trees as a classroom or community project.

Climate change lesson plans

Motivate students! Bring climate change concepts and activities into your classroom.

Climate change activities

Reduce your carbon footprint!

Climate change information

Be informed! Learn what’s happening with climate change.
Youngsters help plant street trees in Sparta.
Youngsters help plant street trees in Sparta.

Carbon calculators

Calculate your impact! Carbon sequestration is the process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass (branches, foliage, roots) and soils.

The Trump-Devos war on already-stressed children

Cue the bullying, as transgender kids are now at the mercy of states-rightists, and the equally cowardly Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy Devos. 
The Trump administration on Wednesday rolled back protections for transgender students instituted by the Obama administration that allowed children to use school bathrooms and other facilities that correspond to their gender identities.
Devos - - 
Betsy DeVos.jpg
- - had a chance to make a real stand for children and parents and their civil and human rights, but after some initial objections threw in with Sessions after a meeting with Trump to keep her job. 
...she sided with the administration's position, arguing that the issue of transgender students and restrooms is “best solved at the state and local level.”
Excellent discussion, here
...the government has sent a deeply disturbing message to transgender students that they are less than other students and unworthy of protection.
That would be a damaging thing for the Department of Education to do to anyone. But it is especially troubling here, given that transgender students already are subject to more violence and harassment — both by other children and by adults — than their peers. 
These obstacles help explain why many transgender students drop out of school, why nearly half of transgender children have considered suicide and why at least a quarter of them have attempted it. What’s more, discrimination in schools has far-reaching and lifelong consequences for transgender people — psychologically and financially.

Walker ignores State gov't, geography, hydrology, physics, etc.

Right-wing GOP Gov. and frequent flyer Scott Walker flew off to a big conservative convention in DC today and in his boiler-plate endorsement of states rights displayed a surprising ignorance of what amounts to routine high school science as well as some very recent Wisconsin state government history.
...Walker called for giving more power to the states, saying the federal government should not be responsible for anything beyond the military, Medicare and Social Security. 
“I think just about everything else is done better by the states,” he said. 
For example, environmental regulations should be handled by states, not the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Walker said. That was an idea Walker first floated in 2015 during his short-lived bid for the presidency.
Set aside for a moment the Civil War, Federal currency, federal highway dollars Walker desperately needs to fix his over-spent road 'budget,' the US Postal Service, the instantaneous, electronic movement of capital,  etc. and just focus on his belief that environmental regulations should be handled by the state.

*  Walker has so deeply cut staff and mission at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that the agency doesn't even follow its own pollution enforcement rules.

Wisconsin’s water quality regulators failed to follow their own policies on enforcement against polluters more than 94 percent of the time over the last decade, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau said in a report released Friday...
In pointing out that the DNR didn’t follow its own enforcement policies, the audit appears to contradict previous DNR statements defending dwindling enforcement action in recent years by saying the agency was working hard to obtain voluntary compliance from polluters through informal negotiations.
*  Walker also might want to review other basic rules of physics and hydrology, because one state's rivers or air pollution can seep or fall into another state.  Did Walker forget this incident at one of Wisconsin's very passively-'regulated' frac sand mines a few years ago?
A spill at a sand mining facility in Wisconsin has dumped an unknown amount of sand and other sediment into the St. Croix River and wetlands near the Minnesota border, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources confirmed Thursday. 
*  And it's been known for years that wind carries air pollution across borders, which is why we have national standards now under assault by Donald Trump, Walker and others obeisant to the fossil fuel industry designed to minimize air pollution effects like these
white paper in advance of [a 2017] study said ozone concentrations in the United States are highest along coastlines. For Lake Michigan, scientists noted research dating to 1976 shows cooler lake air keeps urban emissions close to the shoreline and can be pushed north from other states by prevailing warm winds in summer. 
In Sheboygan, the modeling by the consortium suggests that less than 10% of ozone comes from Wisconsin sources, while Illinois and Indiana and commercial shipping contribute two to three times the amount of pollutants that form ozone in Sheboygan.
These patterns were noted as far back as 1995, as the Racine Journal Times reported at the time: 
This summer saw mostly winds blowing to the northeast, and communities along Michigan's western shoreline saw higher peak ozone averages. Pollution from the Chicago and Milwaukee areas also contributed to Michigan's higher ozone levels, [officials] said.
How would having 50 sets of clean air and water rules and procedures in 50 states deal with these realities? Quick answer: there would be a crazy-quilt of intentional inconsistency, chaos, compliance costs - - and more pollution.

All of which is fine with the Walkers and Trumps and their mutual friend, the oil-and-gas captive Scott Pruitt who is now 'running 'the US EPA:
Wisconsin’s water quality regulators failed to follow their own policies on enforcement against polluters more than 94 percent of the time over the last decade, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau said in a report released Friday.
The Walker administration is spelling out its case against a federal proposal to cut air pollution from coal-burning power plants, and reduce the impact of climate change. The incoming chairwoman of the Public Service Commission took the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan to task at a forum in Milwaukee. 
And in 2014:
Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that would give wastewater plants, paper mills and food processors up to 20 years to comply with the state’s phosphorus limits.
Walker doesn't know or care that the air and the water is all connected - - which is why rain washes manure into residential wells, or why Green Bay fed by polluted rivers and streams has a large dead zone - - or that dirty air moves back and forth across the Great Lakes, and a successful national attack on acid rain moving West to east is just one of many examples of progress he'd just as soon give back.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WI must have surplus State Patrol officers

If 17 of them can volunteer for DAPL duty.

I was out in the Zoo Interchange morass in both directions mid-to-late afternoon today, and didn't see a trooper or any speed enforcement in traffic which moved way too fast through the construction zones. Very aggressive driving, passing on the right, even in narrowed lanes, and so on. Just saying...

Slowed down to take a signage file photo...
Realized someone missed the signage

Wind energy attractive; MG&E adds more

Despite the many obstacles thrown up by right-wing GOP Gov. and fossil-fuel servant Scott Walker, consumer preference and economics - - here's one big picture view - - continue to make renewable energy attractive:
Madison Gas & Electric plans to build a wind farm in northeast Iowa that could generate up to 66 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 47,000 homes.
From the car, I-80, Iowa, not long ago:

Water is life, but not to WI GOP leaders

There was news this morning that some pipeline protesters in North Dakota, facing an expulsion deadline laid down by the now-Donald Trump-directed US Army Corps of Engineers, were abandoning their shelters near the Missouri River.

These indomitable protectors of land and heritage put "water is life" into the national vocabulary, as well as an awareness that there is no end to the big businesses and compliant politicians who constantly threaten the water that sustains everyone and everything - - whether it's the aged, at-risk Enbridge oil line that runs under the Great Lakes Straits of Mackinaw, or the ruinous iron mine that Scott Walker and friends would have carved out of the blown-up hills and wetlands in the Bad River watershed, or the 26,000-hog farm and manure spreading operation they want to bring from Iowa within smelling distance of Lake Superior and the pristine Chequamegon Bay.

"Water is life" is about as basic as it gets. 

School children are taught that their bodies are mostly water, as is the planet. It's why just about everyone flinches when they see someone throw a beer can into a lake. It's why the Milwaukee Riverkeeper always has an overflow of volunteers to clear plastic bags and tires and rusted appliances during its annual spring river clean-up, even if the weather is nasty.

And "water is life" has been in literature for a long time.

You might be familiar with Frank Waters, the aptly-named chronicler of life in the US Southwest. I first read his best-known novel, "The Man Who Killed The Deer," almost 50 years ago, and I have been plowing my way through his extensive catalog ever since.  

Not long ago, I picked up for $5 in a used book store one of his shorter books, "People of The Valley," a rich little story published in 1941 about the uproar in a fictional New Mexico village after some rich outsiders in cahoots with the government decide to build a dam and change all the traditional ways of distributing water.

 "Water is life," Waters wrote more than three quarters of a century ago. "It permeates everything. The hand of God drops it at birth. It trickles down the snowy peaks, the little streaks feed rito and acequia, the great rivers rise down to the sea...what is life without water?" 

But as noted above, there are greedy corporations and their self-interested, thoughtless politicians who carry their water and team up to disregard the "water is life" truth - - corporations and their servants eager to grab more than their fair share of a finite supply of water and even pollute what they don't withdraw or leave behind if they rig the system in their favor.

Nitrate in water widespread, current rules no match for it
Enter Wisconsin GOP State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Right on schedule, Fitzgerald took the marching orders he and other legislators got in a brazen, hand-delivered letter from the state's big dairy operators, corporate farms and other big water users not long ago and turned it into the latest.effort to make it easier for the biggest users of water to hold on to their high-volume well permits with the least public oversight and without regard to the impact their withdrawals could have on nearby streams, lakes, rivers and residential water systems and wells.

The Little Plover River can run dry when Big Ag's big pumps are running.
The special interests running Wisconsin right now have their ducks in a row.

*  Walker continues to weaken what's left of the traditional public-interest mission of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources now openly remade into what he promised that his agency Secretary would run with "a chamber of commerce mentality."

So headlines like this do not surprise:

Audit: DNR doesn't follow own policy on enforcement
*  Fellow corporate captive Wisconsin GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel gave legislators the opinion they sought to help make Fitzgerald's predictable bill fly, as I wrote last May:
[Updated from 1:44 p.m. Tuesday, 5/10] Now look for blatantly pro-corporate legislation to land on the desk of our pro-corporate Governor to implement a pro-corporate opinion from Wisconsin's pro-corporate Attorney General that will eventually be affirmed by our pro-corporate State Supreme Court that says our pro-corporate Department of Natural Resources legally cannot regulate water withdrawals and the downstream and neighboring quality in the public interest - - as the State Constitution has long mandated.
An action coordinated by the corporate interests running the State Capitol these days and predicted on this blog last week.
And predicted, for years, as this 2013 post indicates:
Ultimate GOP Environmental Target In Wisconsin Is The Public Trust Doctrine
To these people, water is profit and power, not life, despite all the evidence right in front of them. 

And here's thing: they want more.

And just might get it this time.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Gauntlet thrown; will US accept dirty air and water?

Trump is ordering major rollbacks to clean water and air protections:
One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing.
A second order will instruct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to revamp a 2015 rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule, that applies to 60 percent of the water bodies in the country. That regulation was issued under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which gives the federal government authority over not only major water bodies but also the wetlands, rivers and streams that feed into them. It affects development as well as some farming operations on the grounds that these activities could pollute the smaller or intermittent bodies of water that flow into major ones.
We'll see if that's what people thought they were voting for - - more smog in their kids lungs and manure in the drinking water.
The fight is on.

Walker would destroy WI Parole Commission

Right-wing Wisconsin Gov. who-has-never-visited-a-prison-as-Governor/granted-a-single-pardon-Scott Walker plans to virtually wipe out the Wisconsin Parole Commission through his election-year 2017-'19 budget by reducing it to a single employee with a salary the Corrections department would have to cobble together internally.

That way, as high-profile Wisconsin defense lawyer Lester Pines points out, parole will be hard to find.

So, Catch 22, thousands of Wisconsin inmates: Feel free to apply for parole. The parole commission Director will 'consider' your application, if the Director got paid that month and there was an intern around to open the mail and put your parole application paperwork on the bottom of the pile.

And not to make light of this new Walker move on people he disregards, and on the state government he is hell-bent on demolishing, but it's not surprising that Walker would throw a monkey wrench into the "parole" system - - a French term incorporating promised commitments of trust and honor required of parolees prior to their release.

But here's my question. 

Don't expectations of trust and honor flow both ways? 

Don't inmates, potential parolees, families and friends correctly assume that there is trust and honor on the government side?

That government maintains a system with basic procedures in place based on the government funding and financing a parole process beyond a single place-holding Director so that there might be justice at the end?

Walker has a history of coordinating Executive power with his one-party allies in the Legislature and the State Supreme Court to ignore and overturn the status quo - - collective bargaining, local controls, environmental protections, unfettered voting, women's health financing, etc.

Instead there has been a continuing lack of honor and trust in this administration from the beginning, enabling the intentional exercise of power over people who have far less.

Wisconsin, under Walker, is a state growing long without parole, now about to have even less, come what may in the state's prisons.

The big picture - - no parole, non rein. Nada.

Echos of Nixonian double-speak in Flynn's firing

Want some historical context for Donald Trump's defense of the fired National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn: 
Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence...I was not happy with the way that information was given. He didn’t have to do that, because what he did wasn’t wrong... 
So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.
Here's a reminder of the way former President Richard Nixon framed the departures of chief aides H. R. Haldeman and John Erlichmann
Richard M. Nixon, ca. 1935 - 1982 - NARA - 530679.jpg
for their role in the Watergate scandal which eventually cost Nixon his Presidency:
Today, in one of the most difficult decisions of my Presidency, I accepted the resignations of two of my closest associates in the White House—Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman—two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know.
I want to stress that in accepting these resignations, I mean to leave no implication whatever of personal wrongdoing on their part, and I leave no implication tonight of implication on the part of others who have been charged in this matter. 

CT's Dave Zweifel wants the DNR's magazine saved

Dave Zweifel, lifelong journalist and editor emeritus of the Madison Capital Times, urges his "Plain Talk" column readers to subscribe to the Department of Natural Resources' popular magazine 
Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine cover photo
which the Walker administration wants to wipe out - - like it did with climate change information scrubbed from agency web pages - - even though the magazine is completely supported by its 88,000 subscribers.

The column headline nails it:

Send a message to Scott Walker by subscribing to threatened DNR magazine
I wrote about the threat to the people's 99-year-old magazine last week on my blog and signed up for a three-year subscription for only $21.97. 

One or two year subs are only slightly more per year; all are less than $9 annually.

Here is a link to an online subscription form. 

Walker's goal is completely ideological, regardless of whatever story line the administration puts out about bureaucracy and efficiency.

The magazine had reported, sometimes unsuccessfully, on the impact of climate change on Wisconsin's environment, and that eyes-wide-open approach to public information probably put it in Walker's budgetary cross hairs.

After Walker took office in 2011, his appointees and other top managers at the DNR insisted on seeing every article before publication, said Natasha Kassulke, who left the DNR last summer after 15 years, including five editing the magazine.
The scrutiny grew tighter after the magazine carried a special section on climate change produced by the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Kassulke said.
DNR managers spiked an article on how climate change affects Wisconsin mammals, as well as a piece on an endangered species whose primary habitat was around the proposed site for a controversial iron mine that was being promoted by Walker and GOP lawmakers, [the former editor] Kassulka said.
Remember the administration's ham-handed, failed schemes to get the public mission role of the UW system deleted from the Wisconsin Idea?

Remember its slippery plan to make the Open Records law essentially useless?

Government by deletion is anti-democratic and only serves special interests.

Thanks to the Cap Times for Zweifel's public service column.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

More about Trump's post-words America

It was probably the hungry Trump talking out of his stomach last night when he said "Look what happened in Sweden." 

He might have been thinking about that scrumptious meatloaf he forced on the passive, hapless, McDonald's delivery boy Chris Christie, then segued to a happy memory of Ikea meatballs, and then, you know, "Sweden."

Or maybe he meant to say "Chicago," since they're as similar as "Atlanta" and "Orlando."

Donald Trump official portrait.jpg
And as with "Bowling Green" and "massacre," words and other facts in Trump's world need not necessarily be tied together in reality.

If the words come from the gut, that's good enough. 

Am I right? 

Bigly. The Colbert character has been actualized, and he is in charge.


This could become more than an issue of diction or syntax if Trump got hungry again and the word "lunch" becomes "launch."

Boston needs a wall. No hoax.

Much of Boston Harbor is only about a food above normal high tide levels, putting 90 thousand residents and $80 billion worth of real estate at risk because sea levels are rising as polar ice melts in a warming planet.

Tourist walkway along the harbor
Rotterdam, Venice and New Orleans have already invested in building barriers against the rising seas levels which are already here, New York City has begun the conversation, and Boston is beginning serious planning with a 2050 completion date in mind.
...a 2013 World Bank report ranked Boston as the eighth most vulnerable major city in the world to property damage from rising seas, among 136 studied.
Basically, Super Story Sandy won't be a one-off, and Trump's Manhattan development background could be driving the issue.
But will the Trump administration waste all the lead time and funding to build a different wall for ideological reasons, and because it believes climate change is a hoax invented by Chinese officials to help sell their exports?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump's EPA suppression echoes Walker's takedown of WI DNR

[Updated from 1/25/17]

I'm adding to this recent post because:

*  The ideologically-driven, corporately-attuned Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, soon to lose at Gov. Walker's directive its subscriber-funded, 99-year-old monthly magazine, was accused this week of having made political changes to articles at the expense of science and climate change information, adding to years of political pressures with the DNR that have stripped the agency of mission, character and depth.

The ideologically-driven, corporately-attuned oil and gas captive Scott Pruitt won US Senate approval this week to run the EPA.


The denial of climate change, the contempt for facts and a preference for the "alternative varieties," the disdain for science and public service, and the all-purpose elevation of right-wing ideology has spread from the Trump campaign to his administration and now to the US Environmental Protection Agency, where we learned today that the so-called "political appointees" will review scientific information and papers before they are released:
The Trump administration is scrutinizing studies and data published by scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, while new work is under a "temporary hold" before it can be released.
The communications director for President Donald Trump's transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review extends to all existing content on the federal agency's website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth's climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame...
...the Trump administration was mandating that any studies or data from EPA scientists undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public.  
This is a disaster for public health, and the truth, and, regrettably, there is precedent for it in the formerly progressive State of Wisconsin now entering its seventh straight year of one-party, far-rightwing, corporately-obeisant Republican Party rule:

The abusive manipulation of facts and data by political appointees is precisely what led to the scrubbing of crucial material from Wisconsin right-wing Gov. Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources climate change web pages, documented here.

And this costly politically-managed management of facts and censorship of science at the very public agencies charged with implementing the scientific protection of the people's air and water and land was pointed out by DNR experts and insiders and included in a long investigative analysis I posted and updated last year, excerpted below:

The DNR, once a nationally-regarded science-based resource protection agency, has been disregarded, defunded and degraded by management "deliberately and proudly uninformed," according to one first-hand observer among several whom I surveyed over the course of ten days.
Wisconsin's far-right Governor Scott Walker set the DNR's downfall in motion when he appointed at the beginning of his tenure Racine developer and unabashed DNR-trasher Cathy Stepp...  
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Walker has reduced DNR budgets, pared its long-standing, bi-partisan land acquisition program, slashed science and other staffs, enabled reduced pollution inspections and enforcement actions  - - read this 2012 enforcement summation and a 2016 followup - - and wants to turn over agency permit drafting to 'regulated' applicants already enjoying eased permit reviews... 
I decided to survey people with direct knowledge of the DNR. I asked them to comment on agency issues, including morale, impact of budget cuts, reorganizations, and senior staff leadership/competence.
Here is some of the feedback:
*  A lobbyist noted DNR policy and procedure changes that have tilted agency activity and decisions towards regulated businesses:
Decisions on permits, policies, responses to FOI's [freedom of information requests] are all made by Division Administrators (political appointees)... 
* Another former staffer said:
...morale among the long-time staff is not good. Many are old enough to retire... but feel they can't. I've also heard that senior management (division admins and up) "listen" to advice of technical staff but often don't follow it.
*  A second lobbyist said:
...for retired DNR workers...there's deep dismay about the selling off of the agency, the trashing of its mission, the disrespect for agency workers (and all public employees, for that matter, by the Walker regime). 
   *  A third former staffer said: 
The most alarming issue to me is the great waste of decades of sound science, compiled overtime in on-going studies and data collection. WI had more information about our natural landscape than most states. Abolishing science services put an end to decades long studies vital to maintaining and recovering rare and endangered plants and animals as well as understanding natural communities as information on resilience for climate change. 
* A current employe on personal time echoed many of the lobbyists and former staffers' observations:
Under Walker and Stepp, science is not a priority. Scientific knowledge is ever-changing but in Wisconsin our staff are being left behind. We no longer have a statistician to help interpret data, a library to provide journals or books, or researchers that monitor fish counts, wildlife health, air quality, water quality and etc….employee scientific knowledge and data specific to WI is stagnant...we cannot do the best job possible for our state. 
The DNR is currently run by people who understand public relations spin but not the complexity of the natural resources they are responsible for...Communications staff, generally not trained specifically in resource communication, answer questions with talking points..usually developed by upper management - political appointees - and legal staff. The information provided is biased and superficial.
Act 10 and the pay cuts related to that have been hard on a lot of staff...we can no longer hire and/or keep the best and brightest and that is sad. Especially looking back at some of the really ground-breaking research and resulting policy work done here 20-30 years ago. We now do the minimum to protect resources...
Updated, 6/21/16:
With his permission, I am adding comments from Gordon Stevenson, an engineer and former senior DNR manager, who now serves Midwest Environmental Advocates as board chairman: 
 At an MEA water program in Milwaukee, Stevenson said, in part:
For the majority of my career, water policy decisions were based on the strong bond between law and science, the people in charge of making those decisions had conservation and environmental protection credentials, and my colleagues and I shared the belief that Wisconsin's true and sustaining wealth is its clean water.
Much of that is now changed at DNR. Wisconsin DNR's water quality permit program has been found seriously deficient by the US Environmental Protection Agency. DNR is failing to protect downstream water from upstream pollution sources, they are allowing already impaired water bodies to get worse and they are suppressing the public's ability to challenge water quality permit decisions.
Wisconsin DNR's authority to protect Wisconsin's water resources is delegated from EPA. Under the delegation agreement, DNR is obligated to administer the federal Clean Water Act. DNR is not doing so. On behalf of 16 Wisconsin citizens, Midwest Environmental Advocates has filed a Citizens Petition for Corrective Action with the US Environmental Protection agency to correct these deficiencies. The petition seeks to restore the credible water quality protection program that we once had in this state.
We're arriving at an important crossroads in Wisconsin. We have our own version of Flint, Michigan in Kewaunee County where citizens cannot drink the water and we have our own version of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. A dead zone now also exists in Green Bay that runs from the City of Green Bay all the way up to Marinette.
While I am alarmed, I am also encouraged . We are pleased to report that more than 70 people like me, DNR retirees, along with other credible scientist and partners have signed on to support the Petition for Corrective Action along with our original 16 Wisconsin citizen clients. And the number of people supporting the petition is growing daily.
But in a larger sense. I am even more encouraged that so many Wisconsin citizens believe like I do: that water policy decisions should be based on the strong bond between law and science, that the people in charge of making water quality decisions should have the credentials to do so, and that Wisconsin's true and sustaining wealth is its clean water."
In an email to me, Stevenson also said:
In addition, DNR management has made it clear to staff that environmental advocacy is no longer the core mission of DNR and staff are disallowed from doing so. What was once a guardian of Wisconsin’s natural heritage is now reduced to a rubber-stamping vendor of licenses and permits without oversight.
One more thing:

Remember that the Wisconsin DNR wiped references to climate change from its climate change web page.

So are you surprised at this breaking news?

Trump Administration Tells EPA to Cut Climate Change Page From Website
The page was restored, For now.