Sunday, October 9, 2016

Walker's corporatized DNR gets EPA investigative visit this week

As I'd noted, the US EPA is coming to Madison to inspect the Wisconsin DNR's files in response to a complaint from citizens that the state agency has failed to enforce the US Clean Water act and fulfilling its role as the legal guarantor of healthy water in Wisconsin.

It's a heavy allegation, but Walker has dragged his feet since 2011 to fix what the EPA said was out of compliance - - cited here:

Not even a subsequent 2011 letter from federal officials citing a jaw-dropping 75 "omissions and deviations" in Wisconsin's management of the US Clean Water Act has slowed the flow of proposals or actions by the Governor, state agencies and the Legislature to [enable pollution].
So enough is more than enough, especially as large cattle and pig feeding and manure-producing operation permit reviews are pending, and this administration, sharing special interest sway over the Attorney General's office, the Legislature and the State Supreme Court, has abandoned any pretense of neutrality when it comes to clean water management.

I appreciated Steven Verberg's account of the EPA visit in the Sunday Wisconsin State Journal.
Federal regulators plan to spend four days this week in the Madison headquarters of the state Department of Natural Resources paging through files on state enforcement of water pollution laws. 
Technically, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency probe is aimed at determining whether the federal government should take the extreme step of revoking the state’s authority for enforcing those laws in Wisconsin. 
But typically states make changes to avoid the embarrassment of being stripped of their environmental authority, said Emily Hammond, a George Washington University law professor who co-authored a study of federal investigations like the one now targeting Wisconsin.
Though, frankly, Walker and his private-sector managers at the DNR are impervious to being shamed into action because they'd relish the opportunity to run to Walker's fossil-fuel, land developer and ideologically-motivated donors and scream 'fight the Obama/big government takeover.'

As as I have said for years, props to the activist lawyers and the good citizens supporting Midwest Environmental Advocates for forcing the Walker "chamber of commerce mentality" version of the degraded agency to explain itself to the feds and make sure the polluters can be reined in here.

1 comment:

Bernie Starzewski said...

When I ran for Assembly in 2012 my primary opponent (and eventual primary winner) alleged Democrat and Manitowoc County Board Chair and City Alderman Jim Brey said on his Wiseye interview that his top legislative priority was to repeal the "unfunded mandate" of the Clean Water Act which required cities to control surface water into Lake Michigan.
He also said that "Liberals cannot get elected to local office anymore."
He won the primary in a 4 way race with 41% of the vote.
I came in 2nd losing by 198 votes.
He lost by more than 4000 votes to Republican Paul Tittl.

It seems that we were damned if we did and damned if we didn't.