Thursday, May 10, 2012

Walker's DNR Puts Another Bullet In its Foot

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel advances the Department of Natural Resources waste-hauling story scandal first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal last Sunday by letting former DNR secretaries rip the agency's laissez-faire regulatory practices during its sixteen months under Scott Walker's "chamber-of-commerce" (his words) administration:

In newsroom parlance, here's the lede:

Two former state Department of Natural Resources secretaries on Wednesday criticized the agency's leadership, calling top officials' handling of environmental cases "unprecedented," "outrageous" and "indefensible."

Former Gov. Anthony Earl, who was secretary from 1975 to 1980, and Scott Hassett, who was secretary from 2003 to 2006, condemned the DNR's handling of an enforcement case against an Oconomowoc waste hauler.

The former secretaries, both Democrats, also questioned the drop in environmental enforcement cases since 2011, after Republican Gov. Scott Walker appointed businesswoman and former lawmaker Cathy Stepp as secretary, builders association executive Matt Moroney as deputy secretary, and former Republican Rep. Scott Gunderson of Waterford as executive assistant.
But sharp readers know you always have to read to the end of stories, and in this case, reporter Lee Bergquist serves up a wonderful "kicker" to close out a story about reduced enforcement by Walker's small-government/corporate crowd:
In an interview, [Deputy DNR Secretary and former Builders' official Matt] Moroney predicted more aggressive enforcement by the DNR in the future as vacancies are filled.

"Big picture: Once we get fully staffed, I think you are going to see the number increase," he said.
But remember that when Walker won the right to make the DNR a charter agency, one of its new powers was easier hiring without certain strictures imposed on other agencies.


Say What? said...

So essentially he's saying that violations exist and they are ignoring them and IT'S NOT WORKING.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. Why aren't they fully staffed now?

Man MKE said...

Moroney's comment is disingenuous. DNR was a few hundred staff positions short under Gov. Doyle, and yet enforcement did not suffer. Weak, weak excuse. But also note how having too few state employees is suddenly an explanation why important work isn't being done, when previously the Walker administration's posture has been that government is too big (except, of course, when he set out and received legislative approval for a record-high two-year spending plan).

dave said...

Most companies would never intentionally allow use of altered data for any purpose, let alone regulatory compliance. Self-reporting forms the basis of the Green-tier program as it does with other regulatory programs.

If the quality control/quality assurance process is compromised the entire program falls apart. And that opens the door for reinstitution of a more direct regulatory approach from the Feds.

So, unbeknownst to the perpetrators at DNR, their too-clever by half approach to rewarding political donors may just backfire.

Max Berger said...

The Secretary of the DNR has misspoken again: it appears the DNR HAD the staff to enforce, but not the WILL.