Friday, December 16, 2016

WI DNR's Cathy Stepp grafts biz language on public mission

Attention clean air and fresh water devotees customers - - also known as Wisconsin citizens and visiting humans:

As noted here often, right-wing Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker installed former developer and McDonald's food store manager Cathy Stepp

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
and other senior managers from trade associations and businesses atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources because they had the "chamber of commerce mentality" he wanted to control the former clean-air-fresh-water-healthy-wildlife/science-and-health-driven-public agency he had ticketed ideologically for privatization, downsizing and special-interest servicing.

These ending paragraphs in a recent news release Stepp issued in defense of her agency's latest reorganization shows how completely Stepp is using the language of business and 'mentality' of the private sector to carry out Walker's directive over our shared resources he and Stepp hold in trust, for us.

But Stepp's wording might as well be a section of a corporation's annual report that summarized for shareholders the performance of a troubled subsidiary that led to a cut in the dividend and a reduction in company profits:

I can assure you that we at the DNR take our responsibility of protecting our natural resources very seriously and none of our alignment plans will change that. In fact, this initiative, based on private sector best business practices, will allow us to focus even more on that responsibility.
Like any healthy organization striving to remain relevant and responsive to its customers, we spent more than a year evaluating our assets, liabilities and available human and financial resources. Many of the ideas being rolled out now came from veteran staff members who have expressed frustration with having to spend valuable time on work that doesn't match their field of expertise or their passion for wildlife, conservation or the environment.
We are a customer service agency that also regulates our customers. That's a unique challenge. Our customers include everyone who lives, works, plays or makes anything here. They all expect clean air and water, robust wildlife, world-class trout streams and first-class parks and forests. All of our customers, taxpaying citizens, license and permit holders and visitors also deserve the best possible return on their investment that we can provide. This alignment plan sets us on the path to accomplish that.
On the other hand, there was this just six months ago, among other 'worst practices' findings about contaminating nitrates in the drinking water, runoff and dumping from feedlots, etc.
Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources isn't following its own policies for policing pollution from large livestock farms and wastewater treatment plants, a state audit says. 
The Legislative Audit Bureau report found the DNR failed to send violation notices in 94% of the nearly 560 instances its policies said it should have over the past decade. 
And this first-hand testimonial, complete with photos, provided just last week by a 'customer' living near a big dairy operation who feels ill-served by current DNR management:
Some would argue that this type of manure disposal is not defined as spreading, but rather, "dumping" which is punishable by law.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Secretary Stepp,
The City of Waukesha sella an illegal defective product recognized in it's current form to increase the chances of contracting bone cancer. The city distributes the defective product by a manner outlawed by DNR statutes. Waukesha has been sued twice for these violations by the DNR prior to you appointment and is currently under a stipulation agreement approved by the courts to be fully Radium compliant by June 30, 2018 so we have safe drinking water. Waukesha can meet the court order by installing HMO Radium filteration on wells 5,6,7, and 9 just like it's largest well 10 - which provides 50% of our water at less than half tHe MCL allowed by law.

I recently spoke with your enforcement agency, the DOJ and learned they are in negotiations to extend the deadline, most likely to allow Waukesha to construct the Lake Michigan supply option. However, as you know, the Great Lakes and St.Lawerance Cities initiative has filed a complaint with the Council of Great Lakes Governors and will use in federal court if necessary to protect the Great Lakes Compact from a wrongful decision. Waukesha is likely never going to get Lake Michigan water. If they are, at the very minimum it will be 5 years from now.

Under Governor Walkers administration there has been over 40 recorded violations of the court order. That is a lot.

What Waukesha residents find truly a matter of concern under you agency is that Stipulation 9 is an acceleration clase that requires Waukesha to be in full compliance with state and federal laws of the Clean Drinking Water Act.

This blog post by Mr. Rowen seems to be filled with fact and not opinion and what we've seem in Waukesha and fail to understand is your concern for business over the protection of families, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and anyone who cooks with and consumes water, from government itself.