Sunday, March 17, 2013

Walker's Pro-Business DNR Serving Polluters

You may remember that Scott Walker appointed former Racine County home builder and DNR-basher Cathy Stepp as that agency's Secretary because he wanted someone with "a Chamber of Commerce mentality" - - his words - - at the helm.

And the rest of the team, too:

*  She/Walker appointed as DNR Deputy Secretary an attorney, Matt Moroney, who was formerly Executive Director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee - - one of the WBA's 25 affiliates statewide.

*The DNR also reports that Stepp appointed Pat Stevens, a former WBA general counsel, to run the agency's Division of Waste and Air.
So little surprise that the agency, under Stepp, has punted public protections in key areas - - inspections and enforcement - - and given the Walker's administration's war on public service, the agency response about being short-handed rang pretty hollow.

Here's one compilation of the industries getting a pass from Walker's DNR.

Hence the DNR's no-enforcement-action-to-date reaction to major environmental violations by two pipeline companies in recent months in Southeastern Wisconsin:

* A broken Shell Oil pipeline at Mitchell airport leaked thousands of gallons of jet fuel into the ground and a creek near Lake Michigan.

*  And there was a devastating gasoline pipeline leak near Jackson in Washington County that has left many homeowners with polluted wells.

Is the DNR going to play patty cake with these companies, like it did with the Jefferson County septic tank disposal firm that spread excessive amounts of human waste on farm fields near residences and wells?

Where is the fairness? Who is serving the public's interest?

Water in Wisconsin belongs to everyone under the state constitution, and the DNR is supposed to be the public's advocate in keeping water clean.

And this is the agency that is going to fairly, as a public agency, vet an open pit mine application from an out-of-state company and Walker donor for which the entire Legislative ruling party just rolled over?


capper said...

B-b-b-b-but Scott Walker said that companies were good citizens and would be able to police themselves, with little or no monitoring by the big, bad interfering gubmint. Don't tell me he lied to us. Again.

Anonymous said...

Accidental spills are not planned and do happen and are immediately responded to and fixed. This is in stark contrast to the willful and persistent disregard of EPA standards of a couple of wastewater treatment plants near the shores of lake Superior. The selective outrage is typical of silly Madison liberals.

Anonymous said...

Do you think these things didn't happen under Doyle? Under Thompson? Everything seems to be negotiable. The one thing that seems to have changed under Walker (aside from weakening of the environmental laws) is that the agency is under more scrutiny from citizens and environmental groups. That might considered a positive.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Accidental spills are not planned and do happen and are immediately responded to and fixed.

yeah, like in the Gulf. Still leaking, by the way.

James Rowen said...

Anon 11:16 a.m. The exemptions from env. standards in the mining law are unprecedented.

Anonymous said...

There are no exemptions to environmental standards in the new mining law. All aspects of the project need DNR and EPA approval and the permit cannot be issued if water quality is degraded. Spreading these mistruths did not keep the law from passing and the liberals will be outraged when the mine does not pollute anything but happy to watch tons of ecoli and phosphate dumped into lake superior if the proper race does it.

capper said...

Tiffany said it himself and I would hardly call him liberal.

Anonymous said...

"All aspects of the project need DNR and EPA approval"

The new law requires the DNR to approve the project, making DNR approval meaningless.

Anonymous said...

negative environmental impacts are necessary and permitable when the public interest is better served. The mining bill did nothing to change this. Tiffany simply stated what is reality.