Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Walker replaces scientist on water council with industry donor

[Updated, Tuesday, 12:04 a.m., from 6:32 p.m. Monday] Wisconsin has a statutorily-created groundwater coordination council; Scott Walker has just replaced the council Governor's representative - - UW-Stevens Point professor and water expert George Kraft - - with Stephen Diercks, a potato grower, according to this industry report.

It's another example of Walker's antipathy towards science and anything remotely connected to the Jim Doyle administration (think opposition to voter ID or concealed carry, support for collective bargaining, expanded Amtrak, the Nelson-Knowles Stewardship Fund, state recycling aid, etc.), as Walker only represents and supports the 53% of the electorate which votes for him.

A frequent contributor principally to GOP candidates, Diercks has donated $4,450 to Walker's campaigns since 2009, including $1,500 on June 30, records show.

The same data base shows no contributions from Kraft to former Gov. Jim Doyle, who had appointed Kraft to the council.

Kraft has been a critic of large agriculture users' demands on Wisconsin groundwater, according to this news report.

The Governor's representative is a key position because, as this DNR webpage points out, all the other members are state officials. The DNR webpage has not been updated, so still lists Kraft as the representative, with this laudatory biographical note: 
Governor’s Representative [exit DNR] – George Kraft George Kraft is a professor of Water Resources and director of the Center for Watershed Science and Education, and director of the Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center. He holds appointments with both the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point College of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin – Extension. Dr. Kraft’s position is largely dedicated to serving the citizens, businesses and governments of Wisconsin. He is passionate about outreach in the Wisconsin Idea tradition: “The boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the state.” His outreach involvement includes working on groundwater resource sustainability, both for quality and quantity.
Separately, here is another report, with photos.
The River Alliance of Wisconsin cites the [Little Plover] River's situation as a warning about the consequences of state water misuse; I posted last year these River Alliance Little Plover photos, below, and mentioned the river's problems in a summary blog post from last May that included more than a dozen links cataloguing the many threats to public waters in Wisconsin
Scott Walker and his party's obeisance to businesses which think the state's groundwater and surface water are theirs to deplete, pollute and otherwise expropriate have only intensified the state's water crisis.
River Alliance of Wisconsin photos

Dead Brookie


Anonymous said...

While I have nothing against potato growers, doesn't it stand to reason that the new appointee will have to consult with Dr. Kraft to do what the council does? How does this promote the growers when the council has no power except to award small groundwater research grants, the priorities agreed to by all members? Or does Walker plan to replace all the members?

Anonymous said...

Do you think the people of this state will ever wake up to what this pimp is doing to Wisconsin. He is totally beholden to those who cross his palm with greenbacks and cares not a lick about the resources of this state, its people nor its economy for that matter. The media will continue to turn a blind eye to whatever this goof does and I am simply at a loss as to what has happened to investigative reporting in this state. Sadly there are only a handful of Rowens out there and these blogs are not powerful enough to alert the mainstream of Wisconsin. I would so much like to see Senators Schultz, Jauch and Cullen be given a forum in the major media sites across the state to tell us all exactly what is happening under Walker and his Republican government.

Jonathan Swift said...

Wisconsin leads the nation in the rivers to trails program.

Anonymous said...

The people will wake up after the water is gone or poisoned.

Anonymous said...

Blogs like this, while informative, are for preaching to the choir. How about writing a letter (or several) to the State Journal? Or an article for the Isthmus, with photos? Or holding a protest event at a significant site, that will draw the press?

Anonymous said...

No defender of Walker, I. Yet while no direct criticism of Diercks appears in this post, the bit about the campaign contributions paints him far blacker than he deserves. I can personally attest that he has worked extensively with the University on programs to ameliorate agriculture's environmental impact, for well over a decade. Is a scientist a better choice? I certainly think so. But it's not as if the choice is between "heroic defender of the environment" and "evil ravisher thereof".

James Rowen said...

It is common journalistic practice to report campaign contributions when appointments are made. And those descriptions in quotation marks are yours, not mine.