Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cathy Stepp Said To Be In Play For DNR Secretary

Exit a possible early favorite, attorney John Behling, who may have been too insufficiently partisan a Department of Natural Resources Secretary to suit the new breed of GOP legislative leaders/ideologues - - with the result that the far more partisan Cathy Stepp as DNR Secretary now seems the inevitable nominee.

She's has been a Racine County home builder, a former State Senator and, shall we say, about as unlike Gaylord Nelson as you can get.

You can get an idea about her DNR-related thinking from something she posted on a conservative blog last year:

"Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.

The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.

For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with...
O'k, I went waaay wordier than I intended, but here's some language that was inserted into this BudgetPig that should scare everyone--regarding one of our agencies, the Department of Commerce: "it may promulgate the initial rules as emergency rules without the finding of emergency."

Why should this scare you? When (not if, I said WHEN) they give this authority to the DNR there will be more of a whooshing sound as businesses run for the borders.

It's always the fine print in these things that have the heaviest hit.

Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.

Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT."
Stepp's former Senate chief of staff was Scott Manley, now the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce's environmental policy chief.

That would give the WMC an even more direct and powerful conduit in disabling the DNR and substituting the WMC as the state's 'environmental' voice - - especially as Walker is proposing to somewhat privatize the Commerce Department and take some rule-making powers away from the legislature for his own office.

That would help him align the new Commerce Department with a pro-business DNR.

Stepp has been a worker for DNR 'reform' for some time - - reform, as in reducing the role of the agency so that business has a freer rein to develop resources, property owners can have their interests override the public interest, and preservation of resources for today and tomorrow can take a back seat to exploitation.

For context, putting Stepp and her anti-DNR team in charge of the DNR would like appointing a water bottler to oversee the Great Lakes Compact, or installing a coal mine owner to manage the Environmental Protection Agency.

Walker could and should do better.


James Rowen said...

Writes one Madison political observer:

He seems like the perfect candidate for one of my most out-there Walker administration predictions:

Walker will name a lawyer to run DNR – a hatchet man who will orchestrate the splitting of the DNR in two (hunting/fishing and “regulatory”).

No self-respecting administrator who loves natural resources would want to do that and have to deal with the resulting low morale, even mutiny, that action will engender.

Then Walker names two new secretaries: a "wildlife" secretary that will satisfy the orange-vesters enough to split them from the tree-hugger groups.

Then he names a Cathy Stepp-type for "regulatory secretary" to streamline permitting and basically get the DNR out of the way of WMC.

The Recess Supervisor said...

Looks like I won two dollars...

Anonymous said...

It's a done deal now, Stepp is the new secretary. Based on her past performance and statements, she will be a taller, blonder, and dumber version of John Gard; small-thinker, shortsighted and vindictive. You regulators better strap 'em on and cinch it up tight, cuz you are gonna have a rough ride. God help ya.. .

Anonymous said...

It absolutely mystifies me that you would think bureaucracy run amok is a good thing. If your intent was to show how out of step Ms. Stepp is, you failed miserably, and only succeeded in showing how out of step and illogical your thinking is. The unfortunate reality is most laws have been made by bureaucracies in this state, and the procedure used gives the advantage to the bureaucrats. A number of legislators I know are frustrated by the fact that bureaucrats have more power than our elected legislature. That has to change, and I suspect it will.

Ken Van Doren

Anonymous said...

From listening to you crybabies, she's a Stepp in the right direction.

I'm really going to enjoy listening to you lefties complain for the next four--or eight--years.


Anonymous said...

Ken VD:

Obviously you haven't a clue how state government works or worked with the process. Laws are made by the legislature and signed into law by the governor. Agencies have input, as do citizens and interest groups such as WMC, et al. Administrative rules are developed by the agency affected or responsible after an exhaustive review process. In the case of DNR the administrative rule must be approved by the Natural Resources Board, who are appointed by the governor. If Stepp would have paid attention or thought back on her days on the NR Board she would have remembered the process. She probably approved some of the "laws" you are so aggrieved by. So don't blame the agency for the law, and if you don't like the law, get it changed by the legislature.

Anonymous said...

laws are made, but often ignored or interpreted by DNR to suit their plans. for example, the law states commercial fishing must be 'economically viable', yet for 20 years the Legislature and DNR have taken sport license funds, tax dollars and given away fish for free to subsidize commercial fishing. yet public trees are auctioned, why? no deer herd. no perch, no chubs, no smelt, not enough alewives and salmon. so much for NR 1 about 'Fish and other aquatic resources are protected and enhanced'. yea, laws exist, but bureaucracies can just ignore them, and have on occasion.

James Rowen said...

To the last Anon: We won't see the end of rule-making. We'll see rule-making that suits the new administration. It's all situational.

It's like political correctness. Each side has its own definition.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "The unfortunate reality is most laws have been made by bureaucracies in this state, and the procedure used gives the advantage to the bureaucrats"
I can only speak for ATCP 51, the administrative rules for SS93.90, the Livestock Siting Law, which you obviously cannot be referring to. You must not haven read it or seen it in action. If you have read and dissected it, your comments are inexplainable. These rules were written by the Lawyer for a political lobbyist group (Dairy Business Association). Not my opinion - he publicly stated 'we wrote the rules'. I had no choice but to try & work w/ this law and I can tell you, it is not a friend to the environment (inadequate setbacks, incredibly optimistic plant uptake assumptions in NMP, odor scoring model that even DATCP can't find a farm that can fail, completely failing to clearly define what scientifically defensible finding of fact is, and on and on). Repeating talking points from Walker's PR machine is not helpful.