Sunday, July 2, 2017

Before Trump, EPA's Pruitt came WI's Walker, DNR's Stepp

When it comes to exposing the public to corporate favoritism and pollution, Wisconsin has been Donald Trump's dirty air and brown water proving ground.

Scott Pruitt is the pollution industry's secret email buddy now busy dismantling on Trump and corporate America's behalf the US EPA and the clean air and water public health protections that is the agency's reason for existing.

While Pruitt's highest profile act of science nullification has been his removal of the agency's climate change page and encyclopedic collection of studies and links, he's been busy on Trump and Big Polluter's agendas by negating a wider range of commonsense and science-based protections which will take a toll on clean air, clean water, public health and people's lives.

Since February, the EPA has announced some two dozen major regulatory actions on climate, water pollution, pesticide use and other areas. Trump’s executive orders calling for the elimination of Obama’s Clean Power Plan and of a rule protecting small and intermittent waterways rank as the highest-profile moves. 
Pruitt also reversed his own science advisors and kept a dangerous pesticide on the market as its manufacturer Dow Chemical had urged, and later fired most of the EPA's science advisory board members so he could replace them with industry representatives.

All we can say in Wisconsin: been there, suffered through that.

Right-wing GOP Wisconsin Governor and corporate bellhop Scott Walker put known DNR antagonist and GOP partisan Cathy Stepp atop the state's Department of Natural Resources, added more senior managers from the ranks of major businesses and lobbies and directed her to run the agency with what he called "a chamber of commerce mentality."

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
A summary post is here.

Since his 2011 swearing-in, Walker has drastically cut the DNR's science staff, thus intentionally weakening its traditional and logical mission to oversee the state's resources which the state is supposed to manage as the people's trustee.

He has either tolerated, ordered or signed into law provisions that eased or rolled back protections for shoreline, wetland integrity and drinking water purity near farms and feedlots.

Little wonder that Wisconsin keeps adding impaired waterways by the hundreds to an annual report it must file with the EPA - - though I'm sure the EPA under Pruitt will get rid of that requirement.

Tut tut, ye anglers and boaters and swimmers: you don't need to know what Walker and Trump's polluter friends are putting in your waters.

Significantly, Stepp deleted - - as first disclosed on this blog - - the agency's climate change page before the EPA's Pruitt did, and just as Pruitt is firing science advisors in favor of industry insiders, Stepp in 2013 booted nearly everyone from the DNR's wolf stakeholders committee who didn't support the state's highly-controversial, dog-assisted, large kill wolf hunt and replaced them with pro-hunting advocates.

This year, the long-standing Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wolf Science and legislatively mandated Stakeholders Committees were wiped out by order of the DNR secretary. In their place, the Wolf Advisory Committee was created, membership "by invitation only" from the DNR Secretary. Twenty-five of the 26 members are wolf removal agents.
Walker and Stepp don't have as big a sandbox to play in as do Trump and Pruitt, but that doesn't mean the Wisconsin corporate servants can be as intentional about soiling it.

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