Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DNR Sec. Cathy Stepp early voice for DNR land sales

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel outdoors writer Paul Smith, in covering the continuously controversial sale of public land by the DNR, noted today:
It should be noted this was the Legislature's idea, not the DNR's.
It's not clear on whose behalf the Legislature was acting, however.
It's a subject I have also reported on repeatedly, and, in fact, just yesterday, too.

And though the link to an industry publication I'd cited and quoted is no longer active, I had copied out enough of it in a 2015 posting that showed Stepp was more than a mere supporter of the idea - - she encouraged it - - so her agency should not have been surprised that the GOP-led Legislature followed through with a directive she and her staffers would need to implement.
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
In that posting, I was criticizing the Journal Sentinel editorial board for emphasizing the Legislature's creation of the plan, as if the DNR, with its hands tied, was only going along with a bad policy when the record showed DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp had backed and encouraged such a plan years earlier:

So I had written:

When selling DNR land was raised in 2011 before the Legislature codified it, [DNR Secretary Cathy] Stepp told a dairy industry meeting that she was all for it so long as the parcels were not environmentally sensitive:
MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said Nov. 29 she would listen to a proposal to sell DNR-owned land as a way to infuse cash into the agency's budget. 
Speaking at the Dairy Business Association's Business Conference, Stepp responded affirmatively to a proposal by Emerald dairy farmer John Vrieze, who suggested that DBA members across the state should come up with a list of properties that are not environmentally sensitive that the DNR could sell and return to the tax roll.
Stepp was put atop the DNR by Scott Walker to bring what he called "a chamber of commerce mentality" to the agency's management, and Stepp, a former developer, had and continues to do just that. 

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