Wednesday, November 2, 2016

WI DNR's Stepp blows off more regulators, even GOP allies

Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker said he put former GOP state senator and developer Cathy Stepp atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to bring a "chamber of commerce mentality' to the agency's work - - something we have tracked for years on this blog with considerable regret given her gleeful antipathy towards the agency's traditional mission and the undeniable damage which has cascaded ideologically and intentionally from her tenure.
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
Today we learn that in addition to her failures to comply with the US Clean Water Act, to react quickly and adequately to groundwater pollution near big farms and feedlots, and contamination near frac sand mines while also green-lighting the politicized sale of state lands, the elimination of science inside the agency and the obstruction of citizen input from without there is yet another group of experts and policy-makers she has flat-out disregarded:

The non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau, an arm of the state legislature, along with the joint legislative audit committee overseeing it - - run by Republicans.

Turns out that the Bureau, along with the oversight committee, asked Stepp for a plan five months ago to comply with an audit and state wastewater standards and enforcement; Stepp, having not forwarded a plan, has asked for an extension without giving any reason why she needed more time.

Maybe too much time lost to her day job playing while partisan introducer at Donald Trump rallies?

Here is the documentation of Stepp's latest arrogance:

November 1, 2016

Ms. Cathy Stepp, Secretary Department of Natural Resources 101 South Webster Street Madison, Wisconsin 53707

Dear Ms. Stepp:

On June 3, 2016, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) published its audit of Wastewater Permitting and Enforcement (report 16-6).

The audit included 17 recommendations related to the administration of the wastewater program by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

In the audit, LAB also recommended that DNR report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by November 1, 2016, on the status of its efforts to address the audit recommendations.

Yesterday afternoon, we received your letter asking us to extend this reporting deadline to November 18, 2016. Your letter offered no explanation as to why such an extension is necessary.

We are disappointed that DNR did not fulfill its responsibility to provide this information in a timely way. We expect that you will work diligently to ensure the information is received by the Committee on or before November 18.


Senator Robert Cowles, Co-chair Joint Legislative Audit Committee

cc: Members, Joint Legislative Audit Committee

Joe Chrisman State Auditor


Anonymous said...

As I said in an earlier comment, Stepp has been absent from the DNR for months now. Its not just Trump. Either its her arrogance or something else is up. Maybe the DNR is set for further destruction, if thats possible, in the upsoming strategic alignment - rumoured to be in December now. The environment, audit, and DNR are just flies in her ointment, to be dealt with only when no other choice.

Anonymous said...

DNR Barbie. Way, way way over her head.

Anonymous said...

New DNR Forestry Head is Papermill Exec. Fred Suba. He never saw tree he didnt want to cut down. The sell out continues.

I cannot say how much I despise Stepp.

Anonymous said...

Also, staff have still not been informed of new Forestry head. Thats what Stepp thinks of staff and any member of the public: they dont need to know anything, she will handle it in her God-like wisdom as she sees fit.

James Rowen said...

DNR site has no one w/ that name. Says Forestry head is Paul DeLong, career DNR. Are you sure of the name you posted?

James Rowen said...

Have asked DNR communications staff for information.

Anonymous said...

Theres a story linked on WheelerReport. Paul Delong left a month ago. They still list people that left a year or more ago. Besides the personal interest, this is indicative of what your story discusses. The DNR does not serve the public, only political special interests.

Anonymous said...

The temporary organization is set up almost as if they are going to split the DNR into 2 agencies. They have been itching to do that and it would allow them to hire a bunch more cronies to run the new agency. But nothing happens until after the election because splitting the agency will be very unpopular. Maybe the form of the alignment is dependent on the outcome of the election.

Also, it is rumored that the Natural Resources Magazine is going away.