Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Give Walker The Benefit Of The Doubt About The DNR Remake?

The Journal Sentinel is willing to give Scott Walker the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his plan to remake the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources into a first-ever, so-called Charter agency.

I am not.

I think Walker gave up the right to that benefit when he sprang his plan to wipe out public employee bargaining on an unsuspecting electorate - - a move that the paper said would have cost Walker the election had he been forthcoming about that plan during the campaign.

Did Walker indicate during the campaign that he had such a radical plan in mind for the DNR - - (here is a DNR draft leaked to me that lays it out) - - and that he intended to do it through Executive Order, and not via legislation that might have led to hearings, and input from the public?

Not that I recall. Though he did accuse opponent Tom Barrett of harboring a radical environmental agenda - - a feint that suggests that Walker had something up his sleeve.

The newspaper remains committed to Walker, and to his jobs-creating focus, so I understand why the editorial board, even with its pro-environment caveats, would line up with Walker on this issue.

But given Walker and this legislature's related actions or plans - - giving Walker more power over administrative rules, cutting back on wetlands' filling permission processes, rushing the Gogebic mine to permitting, and other matters - - he even chose not to acknowledge Earth Day 2011, though doing so as a tribute to former Gov. Gaylord Nelson would have been appropriate, even classy - - I think environmental protections and public input into decision-making is already headed for the back seat.

And this DNR 'reform' will continue that imbalance. I can't summon up the faith that Walker will use the remake to strengthen Wisconsin's conservation tradition.

Make Walker prove his good intentions. Then, we'll see,


Anonymous said...

Ever notice how Scooter can't seem to look you in the eye when he talks with you?

Don't believe a WORD of what he says. He's proven himself to be a liar, and once a liar, ALWAYS a liar.


Anonymous said...

Secretary Stepp, Matt Maroney, and Scott Gunderson (and others) met with staff in GEF 2 and statewide to let us know how great this plan is. They told us that it was just a proposal, and that they had fully intended to release it to staff before letting it go public. They extolled the many benefits without telling us what a charter is. They were unable to tell us how the WI model compared to the Iowa and WA charters. Al Shea expected us to believe that he really didn't know which agency in WA state had a charter when in fact, he has been communicating with the governor's office for weeks. In short, they sat there and lied repeatedly. Only Scott Gunderson seemed to understand why the employee who told them that she didn't trust them, might be telling them that in fact she had good reason to not trust them. And he didn't look happy that not all of us were fooled. What was really sad was that some employees thought this was a great idea. Maybe it's because they don't understand how this is really going to work. Scott Walker is not setting us free from the evil DOA. He is taking oversight away from the elected legislature and putting into the hands of Stepp (okay, Gundy) and Walker. They don't need to create this charter to do the things they propose doing. They just need to change policy. DOA is a cabinet agency. The secretary can make whatever changes Scooter wants without this charter. We were told it was a pilot and that all the ideas for changes detailed in the proposal came from us - the employees. That point was made several times. I cannot wait until November when I can help recall these people and yes I am working on the Senate recalls now.

Anonymous said...

Some of the many reasons Walker should not be allowed to make any environmental decisions:

■Walker signs Wetlands Bill to avoid DNR review of building projects
■Walker appoints Cathy Stepp, previous critic of DNR and wife of a building company owner, as head of the DNR
■Brian Deschane is appointed to oversee environmental and regulatory matters
■Mazomanie wins approval to develop 200 acre watershed after years of local opposition

■DNR will no longer warn us when air quality standards begin to reach dangerous levels
■Gogebic Taconite contributes huge dollars to Walker campaign
■Environmental impact questioned in proposed Gogebic Taconite mine particularily in regards to water and air quality
■Easing of water quality standards
■Koch Ind. was Scott Walker's biggest campaign contributors (While I'm not okay with deceiving others to get information, the Walker/Koch prank call does show how Scott Walker's agenda may be influenced) -------
■Kock Ind. is a huge polluter and is one of the biggest contributers to studiest intended to disprove the effects of global warming
■Koch Ind. gains from Scott Walker's delay of pollution laws
■Walker moves state environmental laws backwards

JB said...

Interestingly, the leaked plan for the remake indicates that the employees should be told about it simultaneously with Walker's announcement of it, not that staff would find out first.

And haven't the Iowa and Washington charter agencies done rather poorly?

Anonymous said...

The Iowa charters (there were 6) were tried for five years then discontinued because they didn't save the state money and all the merit pay went to the agency secretaries. The Washington Charter was to create a new agency to deal specifically with IT and has not yet been tried. I don't know if it has been scrapped. What was leaked is really the roll-out and not a description of the charter. No one really knows what the charter is including, apparently, it's authors.

Boxer said...

To Anonymous 7:16 pm:
Whatever the charter includes, you can bet it will be bad for the environment, the public and the DNR rank and file.

To Anonymous 6:51 pm: Go DNR Resistance! Keep sending Notes From the Underground and up-to-date on the crazy antics of DNR Barbie, Gundy, and Moron-y. I like your style.