Saturday, January 17, 2015

Targeted pay to play - - money to mine - - undermining Wisconsin

A national report shows how frac sand mining companies at the local level in Wisconsin have escaped some regulation through cash and annexation:
Sometimes there’s cash upfront. One company offered $1.5 million to the City of Blair — population 1,379, plus two mines — if the city annexed another site.
Cities like Blair and Independence also offer more-permissive rules for mines than the county. “We let them work 24 hours, ‘round the clock, you see, where the county don’t,” says Blair’s mayor, Ardell Knutson. Rules around noise can also be less strict.        
Reminds me of current Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp's famous rant against changing the rules to fit the players - - a rant that got her the DNR job when Scott Walker wanted a "chamber of commerce mentality" and intentional de-regulation to run the agency.

So what was a basic partisan GOP/developer/anti-government talking point a few years ago is now how the Wisconsin DNR, corporate interests and local enablers routinely do business.

This is a perfect example of the Walker-Wisconsin story which needs to be reported as context for Walker's presidential run.

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