Thursday, November 21, 2013

Effort To Return WI DNR Secretary Appointment To Natural Resources Board, But...

Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislature have introduced a good public-policy bill to return to the Natural Resources Board the authority to name the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and thereby reverse a Tommy Thompson-era change that gave that appointment to the Governor and put the Secretary in the Cabinet.

The bill would also correct a devastating blow to a less-partisan/top-down DNR delivered regrettably by former Gov. Jim Doyle, (D) who, through a late 2009 veto, gift-wrapped the Cabinet position and its special-interests' opportunities to Scott Walker.

You can find the bill's text, sponsors, lobbyist registrations (gun owners, bear hunters, builders against, environmental groups in favor) here.

Also the fact that the bill has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee, where Republicans will kill it.

The Committee has a 3-2 GOP majority - - and Republicans are just fine these days with a system that has permitted Gov. Walker to name former builder, DNR critic and open-pit mining advocate Cathy Stepp as Secretary.

The committee is chaired by State Sen. Neal Kedzie, (R-Elkhorn), formerly a moderate on the environment before Walker, the Tea Party and big corporate power began deregulating environmental protections statewide, with Kedzie's leadership.

Also on the committee: State Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R-Hazelhurst), lead backer of legislation to strip local governments of sand mining controls and also to fast-track the proposed and controversial open-pit iron mine in the Bad River watershed.

Doyle's veto of the bi-partisan appointment restoration bill was a bitter pill for conservationists statewide looking to restore the traditional arrangement, remove some of the agency's politicization and open up decision-making at the DNR somewhat (Governors were to retain their Board appointments, as they do under the current bill, too) because Doyle during his first run for Governor had pledged to sign such a bill.

Some history, here.


Anonymous said...

With "Nature's Miracle" Kedzie AND "Taconite" Tommy declaring that "CERTAINTY" is needed at the Dept of Natural Resources there is not a snowballs chance in winter that this needed and important bill will survive. Wouldn't you think that just once these guys would climb out of the clown car and approve something that helps the state rather than just their special interest donors. They give new meaning to the term "Bought and Paid for!"

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this isn't one of the reasons Doyle was so unpopular in the last year of his term. That and the economy of course.

Laurette McGovern said...

I will never, EVER, forgive Doyle for that

Pops said...

This type of issue is why Democrats should have an open primary, before the party "leaders" (bosses and money)anoint a candidate.
There are many questions that should be answered so that voters have a clear idea of a potential governor's priorities.
Just because it didn't work all that well with Doyle doesn't mean we should abandon the process and listen to the so called experts.