Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Walker the Destroyer

[Updated] Scott Walker's budget contains a direct, ideological and donor-driven attack on science-based conservation and citizen input at the Department of Natural Resources.

The plan is a "purely political" threat to clean water and public oversight of resource management statewide, says the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

His motive: showing the Koch brothers, the pipeline companies, and other fossil-fuel and resource extraction firms whom he wants to fund his presidential campaign that he won't be confused with Koch Light.

So look past the rhetorical tricks and traps and deceptions that Walker's big business backers and media apologists will fall back on to frame it - - greater certainty and flexibility - - and remember:

* This contempt for Wisconsin clean water, open space and other public resources all began when Walker said he was installing a "chamber of commerce" mentality atop the agency.

*  He has been systematically remaking the DNR ever since into a business-friendly entity hostile to anyone who would challenge his corporatist agenda; one of his very first actions after his inauguration suspended an ongoing review of an application by a developer donor to build in a wetland.near Lambeau Field. That was the tip-off that special interests were going to get a free ride while the public interest was going to get shut out.

*  The agency had already cut back pollution enforcement actions and science positions - - giving polluters freer rein - - and the Walker budget will further stunt intentionally these DNR public health functions.

The fix is deeper in for the open-pit iron ore mine in the water-rich and pristine Penokee Hills, should the company ever submit a permit application

Walker and the Legislature allowed GTac mining to help write the sweetheart iron-mining enabling law that weakened environmental standards, cut citizens out of the process and could kick-off massive clear-cutting, deep digging and toxic runoff across a pristine watershed for 35 years on terms most favorable to the company.

Irouted $700,000 behind the scenes to Walker's 2012 recall campaign; demolition of the DNR's historic public interest mission will make any iron mining permit review - - and similar reviews for frac sand mines, huge animal feeding operations and other businesses with environmental impacts - - little more than window dressing.

As the non-profit public interest law center Midwest Environmental Advocates said in a release today:
By demoting the state Natural Resources Board to an “advisory” body and by cutting state Department of Natural Resources staff, among other sweeping changes, the Governor’s budget proposal will in effect leave the future of Wisconsin’s clean water, air and land at risk for all citizens. 
“People in Wisconsin who contact our law center for help have too many stories of contaminated drinking water wells, area streams polluted with green slime or manure runoff, and are told by the DNR that there aren’t enough staff to help,” said MEA Executive Director Kim Wright. “Wisconsin is already heading the wrong direction from the water-rich state we once were. The changes proposed by Governor Walker will only further allow politics to trump science in our state’s natural resources protection.”
The Governor’s budget’s proposed change in policy comes on the heels of the Natural Resources Board’s decision to direct the DNR to conduct a strategic analysis of the impacts of frac sand mining on our health and the health of the environment. Comprehensive in scope, a strategic analysis would be a deeper look into externalized costs and consequences of silica sand mining such as respiratory disease and infection, decreased property values for homeowners living next to frac sand mining activities, loss of wildlife habitat, lack of stormwater runoff controls and more. 
“We don’t need more policies that impact our clean water, air and land to be made by politicians, heavily lobbied by corporations and special interests,” said Wright. “The citizen appointees on policy-making bodies such as the Natural Resources Board are from a spectrum of experience and areas of the state. They serve in order for the people of Wisconsin to be heard and have the public’s interests considered in balancing our state’s needs for economic development and protecting our natural resources... 
“A citizen-led Natural Resources Board provides some checks and balances over environmental policies created on the state level. If the Governor uses his proposed budget to disempower the NRB to being simply ‘advisory,’ it in effect allows one of the last avenues of citizen voices and power to be more easily disregarded and dismissed.


E Robinson said...

You forgot that he also wants to repeal our Complete Streets law, so our roads will be cars-only, and people will have to walk in the street, risking their lives to get to their jobs, home, schools, and shopping.

mrs.e said...

And shelving the Wisconsin Idea. '

I have no words...

Anonymous said...

A Tree and its Fruit Matthew 12:33-37
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Take that preacher boy! (Not that Walker's on a learning curve.)

Anonymous said...

Dude! It isn't walker that is the destroy> It's the corporate media propaganda that is destroying our economy and state.

You always put too much attention on the koch-stooges in FRONT of the cameras and microphones and give the folks that provided the platform to enable it all a free pass.