Thursday, November 30, 2017

DNR upends its own hearing, fair process, WI environmental protection

We've heard a lot lately about fake news.

In Wisconsin, the real news is about fake hearings. 

I'd recently written that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources had dismissively lowered the public policy and citizen input bar flat to the ground by scheduling five Kewaunee County water-related permit hearings assembly-line style on the same day, thereby giving opponents exactly one-minute-per-permit to address a county-wide Big Ag polluting reality which weak, pro-industry permitting processes helped create:
How low has the bar been dragged for the democratic process in Wisconsin? 
How dismissive of the general public has the DNR become? 
How beholden is DNR management to big corporations which the agency barely regulates in Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' government?
The answers: 
The bar is on the ground. The public can't be more definitively dissed. And DNR management could not more clearly display how deeply in thrall it is to Walker's donors and corporate supporters.
Boy, I was wrong, as the DNR just broke the bar into pieces Thursday and threw then into Lake Michigan by disclosing agency preliminary approval before Thursday evening's long-anticipated public hearing to allow a Walker donor to tear up a nature preserve

fill wetlands and disrupt wildlife to construct a controversial Lake Michigan shoreline golf course.

You might read through this recent posting and see how many observations from advocates, activists, experts and a DNR staffer accurately predict what has just happened.

So preliminary approval - - and who expects a reversal - - before the hearing, while withholding disclosure key components of that approval.

Translation: Walker wants the development. He's got a donor to please, a corporate sector to endlessly satisfy, but go ahead, ye peons, speak a minute or two or three from the heart and change DNR management's mind.

And the DNR's oversight body, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, will no doubt soon follow suit and give away some state parkland adjoining the golf course site so the developers can build an entrance, road, parking lot and maintenance equipment building - - on public land.

What kind of a process is that in a democracy?

Why waste people's time at a hearing, other than to establish a legal record which some day might convince a fair-minded court that takes its dedication to facts and democratic process more seriously than does DNR management.  


Cringe-worthy golden oldie on Walker and passenger rail

As Walker pitches IL rail commuters on jobs in WI, after killing rail in WI, remember this?

I'd written about the billboard in 2014 when the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Chicago, put it up.
train billboard

Stupidity alert: Anti-train Walker pitching WI through ads on IL trains

[Updated from 11/29/17] Scott Walker and the dim bulbs surrounding him are so cluelessly disconnected from his own history, and so ignorant of what young people living outside of Wisconsin like and want and expect from government - - some survey data, here - -  that he is pitching them to move from Illinois to Wisconsin through ads on trains like those he has consistently blocked in Wisconsin.

I've created an updated post about Foxconn which now has more than 100 items and many more links: here is the second on that list put up right after Walker announced the project:
Amtrak line killed by Walker could have fed Foxconn
If Walker hadn't obstructed the Amtrak extension to win anti-Obama votes in Waukesha County during his 2010 campaign and then as follow-through when sworn in, the Madison-Milwaukee Amtrak line would be finished.
And there is already an Amtrak Hiawatha line stop in the Racine county Village of Sturtevant.
So no train serving Dane County workers or others to the west, but Walker wants to exploit what already runs from the south - - out of Illinois.

When did he become Governor of Illinois? 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dissing Milwaukee, Walker pitching Foxconn/WI jobs to IL, beyond

Among the weaknesses of Walker's re-election campaign-tinged bid to lure young workers to Wisconsin:

*  Young people in Illinois will love it, but will keep their residences there and commute on Metro to Foxconn.

*  Speaking of rail, young people like it. You killed it.

*  Young people like welcoming, diverse governance. You and your right-wing echo chamber poison that everyday.

*  Young people like environmentalism. You hate it.

*  There are plenty of potential workers in Milwaukee, particularly in the central city, who could work at Foxconn to which you have mortgaged the state.

*  How many of these ads will feature your face and voice, like other WEDC p.r. and isn't it nice for Walker that they will overlap and tie-in with his campaign and third-party shilling commercials?

Uncontested fact: Walker didn't create a single job in Milwaukee's low-income neighborhoods when he was County Executive, and his disinterest today Milwaukee's under-employed and unemployed labor pool - - except to use those people in dog-whistles to out-state conservatives voters - - is manifestly obvious. 
 

Walker/DNR privatization road show heads to Sheboygan

In his 'chamber-of-commerce mentality' state, Walker has a re-election campaign to wage, Wisconsin DNR management is there to help and Bucky is just a pawn in their game.

While the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Commerce Protection awaits a bigger Walker assignment in suffocating citizen input and environmental protection.

On Tuesday, the DNR ran multiple assembly line-style 'hearings' prior to the all-but-certain continuation or expansion of five large (among many) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, (CAFOs), in manure-saturated, well water-contaminated Kewaunee County.


On Thursday, the DNR will run a hearing and a related meeting in Sheboygan - - again, on a schedule more for its own convenience than citizens' - - where a major Walker donor wants permission to fill wetlands, bulldoze dunes and otherwise convert a wooded Lake Michigan shoreline nature preserve - - and between four and twenty acres in an adjoining state park - - into an upscale golf course.


Other DNR hearings and reviews have led to environmentally-damaging permit permissions for sand mine owners and whomever else wanted some of the people's clean air and water which the DNR is supposed to steward, not broker.


The pattern of corporate favoritism shown by Walker and his DNR managers is indisputable, as noted here.


Though I must point out that at least some mines, manure, and other monied enterprises get some environmental reviews and hearings, albeit insufficiently - - while Walker and his GOP legislative allies went even further and exempted Foxconn from environmental reviews for planned, wetland-filling construction on thousands of acres of water-rich farmland in Mount Pleasant for offices, parking lots, production floors, transportation facilities, and perhaps housing and related smaller businesses.  


Furthermore, if Walker gets his way, the DNR whose science and state parks' budgets he cut, and where inspections and enforcement actions were reduced will move its CAFO 'oversight' altogether to the Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection - - another state agency Walker controls - - and which works closely with Big Dairy and other industry groups which promote milk, cheese, meat and other ag production and marketing.

Maybe Miss Dairyland will show up at CAFO hearings after the transfer and pass around cheese plates.



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

One day, 5 CAFO hearings, and WI citizens each get 5 minutes to react

On, Wisconsin?

How about, Goodbye, Bucky? 


How low has the bar been dragged for the democratic process in Wisconsin? 


How dismissive of the general public has the DNR become? 


How beholden is DNR management to big corporations which the agency barely regulates in Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' government?


The answers: 


The bar is on the ground. The public can't be more definitively dissed. And DNR management could not more clearly display how deeply in thrall it is to Walker's donors and corporate supporters..


As I noted recently, the DNR was planning, and indeed held today - -  five hearings assembly-line style on CAFO expansion and continuation in CAFO-saturated, manure-soaked, well water-contaminated Kewaunee County.


Five hearings - - on the same day - - 

Ma
- - and, I am told by an attendee, five hearings-in-one where the DNR gave people who took time away from their jobs and families a whole five minutes to speak their piece - - one minute per CAFO.

As I wrote and documented a few months ago:

Such is life in Wisconsin - - whether it's to save the Bad River watershed in the Northwest from open-pit mining, destructive golf course construction along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Sheboygan, or drinking water supplies long-contaminated by feedlot runoff in Kewaunee County in the Northeast - - because right-wing GOP Gov. and corporate servant Scott Walker has installed "a chamber of commerce mentality" atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 
Here's the bigger picture.
This time the familiar pattern repeats itself because the DNR hurriedly approved a big sand mine where there are wetlands and rare stands of timber, and environmental groups are going to court to force the DNR to do its job on behalf of taxpayers and the environment spelled out here by the DNR itself.

The so-called CAFO 'hearings' represent precisely the kind of institutional arrogance, thoughtlessness and favoritism cited repeatedly in a recent analysis of the DNR and Walker administration environmental oversight.

As veteran activist Laurie Longtime wrote:
We were used to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation process that ignored public comments and dismissed legitimate concerns, but we expected better treatment and fair hearings at the Wisconsin DNR, where public input was sometimes actually heard and acted on. We expected to have continued citizen input on significant legislation. 
We were wrong.
Here's a media account of this intentional procedural disaster.
It was the first time the DNR held public hearings for multiple applicants at the same time, which drew anger from some of the anti-CAFO faction.
“I’m completely opposed to the idea we’re doing five CAFO hearings all at one time,” said Nancy Utesch, of the Kewaunee CARES activist group. “I’m glad it’s convenient for the DNR.”
And, yes, comments can be mailed. And, yes, there is a deadline, but the message sent by today's hearing process suggests that comments are just another Kabuki formality. (In another context years ago, a public employee who read comments filed with another agency said he gave them the "R and R." Read and reject.)
The DNR will accept written public comments through the end of the day Dec. 5. Comments can be submitted to Casey Jones, Oshkosh Service Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh, WI, 54901, or Casey.Jones@wi.gov

Trump's fake war for coal loses round in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's leading electricity supplier is closing its coal-fired polluting behemoth in Pleasant Prairie. Units there began operating in 1980, company records show.

Big win for cleaner air
Smoke stacks from a factory.
though there is more to do, as the Sierra Club notes:
WEC Energy Group, the parent company to We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, announced that it will be retiring Pleasant Prairie coal fired power plant as early as next year. The coal plant retirement marks the 266th nationally, and continues a shift away from coal that has kept pace under the Trump Administration.
Advocates are calling on WEC to invest in community conversations around a plan that addresses on-site pollution concerns, continues investment in clean energy, and ensures an equitable transition for the workforce.

So Chuck and Nancy didn't come over, but...

Mitch and Paulie agreed to be props in Donnie's game of tax bill pretend pout.


Ron Johnson high-fives Trump, donors & 1-percenters

A campaigning Walker assigns small village sprawl, debt

The purported opponents of big government in Wisconsin just assigned a hefty new debt to everyone in the semi-rural Village of Mount Pleasant that the perpetually-campaigning Scott Walker will use to distract from his failed job growth promises.

Here's the core of Mount Pleasant's unprecedented roll of its collective Foxconn and future financial dice:

The village of about 26,000 residents is pledging $764 million in local borrowing and amenities to Taiwan-based Foxconn.

In return, Foxconn is promising to build at least $1.4 billion in taxable property by January 1, 2023 that is projected to create revenues to more than cover Village and Racine County taxpayer contributions.

For its part, Foxconn will front the Village $60 million for project land acquisition, and a Foxconn-related firm will guarantee about 16% of the locals' $764 million pledge.

Then everyone prays for a strong flat-panel market.

As Donald Trump might say, 'we'll see what happens.'

Set aside the significant environmental and socio-economic issues raised by an unprecedented binge of sprawl development on rural land filled with wetlands near Lake Michigan; the loan payback schedule is pretty ambitious for a project described as three times the footprint of the Pentagon.

A deal that is sure to attract litigation over probable private property condemnation, unique environmental permit exemptions and special judicial favors awarded to Foxconn by the deal.

And everyone seems to think that  disputes will be handled by friendly Wisconsin and US courts, but who's to stop Foxconn from litigating in Taiwanese courts?

How big is Mount Pleasant's legal staff, and what kind of travel or outside attorneys' budgets does it have?

Here is a complete archive of the Foxconn deal.
Image result for scott Walker fishing photo

Monday, November 27, 2017

Get ready for metal mining in Wisconsin watersheds

Toxic metal mining could be coming to the Menominee River.

No one has returned my call to the Governor's Office last week about whether and when Walker will sign Tom Tiffany's toxifying sulfide mining bill - - some people think Walker's looking for just the right photo op spot - - but I don't think he'll head to the WI-MN border and Menominee River
Menominee River | Tom Young
where the Menominee Nation and grassroots opponents are fighting the Back 40 mine open-pit mining plan.
As a result of our undeniable es and long occupa on of the Menominee River area, we have numerous sacred sites on the Menominee River, including the area of the proposed mine. Much like our brothers and sisters in the NODAPL movement we also know that water is essential to life. The Menominee River is the very origin of life for the Menominee people. It also provides life to Michigan and Wisconsin residents and the natural wildlife within the Great Lakes ecosystem. 
The harmful threats to this area and the interests of all who depend on the Menominee River, far outweigh the corporate interests of a Canadian exploratory company and justify the denial of the necessary permits for the proposed mine. 
The proposed open pit of the mine would sit a mere 150 feet from the banks of the Menominee River, which forms the boundary between Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and ows into the Green Bay of Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes contain 20% of the world’s fresh surface water and 95% of the U.S. surface water. An es mated 663 million people, or 1 in 10 people in the world, lack access to safe water and threats to this precious resource should not be taken lightly. 
This project proposes to not only extract minerals but also process the minerals onsite. Sulfide mines pose serious threats associated with the leaching of sulfuric acid, which is extremely hazardous to freshwater rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater. Mine related water contami- na on would have compounding impacts for sh, birds, animals, insects, plants and humans whose existence is dependent on clean water from the Menominee River and the greater Great Lakes ecosystem. 
The permitting for this mine rests with Michigan and the feds, but a cooperating Wisconsin could move this mine- - and others - - forward, faster. .

Great that opposition and information about the mine was brought to Milwaukee's lakefront during the summer festival season.



Undercovered Foxconn water questions demand answers

Many Foxconn questions asked, many not answered, so let's bring up just a few:

As the Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County are set to commit a fortune - - $764 million to Foxconn - - on top of Wisconsin's precedent-setting $3 billion, let's again ask for information about a), Foxconn's apparent need for a diversion of Great Lakes water to serve at least a portion of its huge project site.

And b), exactly what will Foxconn do with the polluted water its manufacturing processes are known to generate, what precisely is in it, and can either Racine or Mount Pleasant handle it without budget-breaking infrastructure upgrades?

Here's a 2013 story about Foxconn and water pollution allegedly flowing from its Chinese factories.


Chinese Apple suppliers face toxic heavy metal water pollution charges

Foxconn denies allegations, Apple reiterates zero-tolerance stance


Walker, WI GOP defame Wisconsin's environment, conservation legacy

[Updated, expanded, from 11/26/17] No doubt 2018 campaign ads will show Walker and his GOP legislative allies decked out in hunting and angling gear.

So when you read Lee Bergquist's stellar summation of the environmental giveaways bestowed on corporations by Scott Walker and his business-compliant legislature, or this compilation of expert and insider commentary on our GOP-degraded environment, or follow the unprecedented and costly environmental and financial favors awarded the Foxconn project by Walker and his GOP lieutenants, try and also remember these foundational truths, too:

*  Just as he did with his closely-held Act 10 cards, Walker hid his damaging environmental intentions when he ran for Governor in 2010 - - but in a classic example of political deflection and false projection accused Democratic opponent, Tom Barrett, of harboring a secret environmental agenda:


Walker ran & won in '10 on a political and environmental lie

So let me, for the record, re-post what I wrote on 12:01 a.m. January 3rd, 2011, - - the first minute of the day Walker was sworn in publicly, but had already appropriately taken the oath of office privately:
Meet Wisconsin's Radical Environmentalists
During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Scott Walker ran an ad that claimed opponent Tom Barrett had a "radical environmental agenda."
What a whopper and deliberate political diversion that was - - but two weeks later, right on schedule and closer to the election, there was the "radical environmental" bogeyman in scary tones from the National Rifle Association, lauding Walker for his opposition to "radical environmental regulations enacted by the DNR."
...And here's the kicker:
It was Walker all along who had the radical environmental blueprintthe 'Cut It, Gut It, Pave it, Fill It' plan to help the home builders and road builders help themselves to the state's wetlands, forests, and from inside the DNR.
*   So since Day One, Walker, his legislative allies, a friendly Attorney General and donor/special interest organizations have been busy taking control of and privatizing public resources for private gain, laid here here. recently.
How Walker is privatizing and selling off Wisconsin
Some support for the argument:
* Remember that among Walker's first actions as Governor in January, 2011 was to administratively suspend state review of a wetland-filling permit application filed by one of his donors to speed along a development near Lambeau Field.
* This post among others explains how a donor's privately-owned golf course has gotten the attention and action from the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Administration and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.
* This post among others explains how special interests sent specific, hand-delivered demands for control over the public's waters to GOP legislators who, through coordination between GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel, and the GOP-run Assembly and Senate, got legislation adopted which implemented those private interests' demands.
* This post among others explains the relentless pursuit by special interests for control of the people's water; a group of Walker donors did win permanent high-volume groundwater pumping permits from the DNR which are blocked, for now, by a Dane County Circuit Court judge.
* This post among others explains how major Walker donors, water users and large animal feeding operators will get even more favored treatment through Walker's move last week - - without hearings or legislative action - - to transfer from the DNR those large animal feeding operators' permit reviews and already weak inspection and enforcement actions to the another state agency - - Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection - - which by law promotes and helps market milk, cheese and meat products. 
*   The same corporate special interests to which Walker and the GOP-run legislature are handing Wisconsin water, wetlands, air quality - - and, if they fully prevail, a physical promotional presence at state parks and even hotly-contested private domain over acreage within a popular destination like Kohler Andrae State Park - -  have nailed down control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court through campaign funding and written no-foul conflict-of-interest 'rules' which allow Justices and state judges to rule on cases involving donors to their campaign committees:
Realtors, WMC, wrote WI Supreme Court's no-foul ethics rule
So, of course, the WMC would lead the charge in the Legislature to exempt Foxconn from environmental reviews, rules and regulations - - 
WMC fills wetlands filling 'debates' with polluting nonsense 
  - - while the Foxconn bill the WMC pushed to adoption also speeds any litigation at unique speed in Wisconsin straight to the State Supreme Court where a friendly majority awaits.

*  This generation of Wisconsin Republican politicians has no interest in conservation, or environmental protection, or the state Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine which they are repeatedly obliterating. 

Their interest is pure partisan self-preservation funded by the very special interests to whom they are giving away our public land, fresh water and clean air.

Except to pose for pictures in which their feigned appreciation of the environment and waters which by law belong to all the people of the state defames the legacy left to the people by the legends of Wisconsin environmentalism and the public interest, like John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson.
Image result for scott Walker fishing photo

Saturday, November 25, 2017

13 more reminders that Walker, Ryan, et al, helped give us Trump

Reading through these disturbing low-lights from Trump's Thanksgiving visit with the American military personal located closest to his taxpayer-paid golfing holiday serves as another of the reminders I post from time to time that Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan's official Speaker photo. In the background is the American Flag.
Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, Jim Sensenbrenner and a host of other Wisconsin corporate tools stood with and campaigned for Donald Trump to become President, Commander-in-Chief and the country's moral leader.

Badger rail to the MN game today? Walker said 'no.'

Wisconsin's GOP Governor and anti-rail ideologue Scott Walker didn't just wreck vacations, business travel, rail-induced development and a burgeoning transportation industry when he blocked construction of federally-funded Amtrak service that was to connect Madison to an upgraded regional passenger rail network.

Imagine how much fun it would have been to ride a Badger Special festooned with red and white decorations from Madison to the Twin Cities where Wisconsin this afternoon on a gorgeous fall afternoon goes for Paul Bunyan's Axe, Big 10 bragging rights, an undefeated UW season and BCS/bowl playoff assignments. 

Conservatives in Wisconsin talk a good game about choices, but when in power repeatedly limit or eliminate choices when it comes to local controls, women's health services, and certainly to transit alternatives opposed by well-heeled highway, automobile and petroleum lobbies.
These Amtrak trains were assembled in Milwaukee, then shipped out of state because Walker prevented them from serving Wisconsin riders.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Maybe Walker just likes free vacations

News from the right-turn corner of ideology and cheap.

I assume the Republican Governors Association which he chairs, or the Republican National Committee or Friends of Walker or some generous PAC or donor or 'interest group' would pick up the tab for Walker to hobnob next month in Florida with some of the nation's leading ultra-rightists:

*  Remember the free, 'once-in-a-liftetime' Alaskan cruise he and First Lady Tonette Walker were supposed to take earlier this year?

*  And last year's free family vacation to see the Packers play Atlanta?

*  On the heels of a February, 2016 speech to Republicans in Hawaii which I was paid for by the host committee.

In Wisconsin, the high life is more than a Miller branded lager.


Walker headed to sunny Florida with top tier Trumpistas

Looks like Walker will shift his WI re-election campaign to sunny W. Palm Beach stop - - Mar-a-Lago? - - with Don, Jr., Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, The Mooch, ultra rightists, et al, as Christmas approaches.

By the way, where are the other elected officials? And remember his 2012 Palm Beach fund-raising foray
From the Palm Beach Daily News [link has died, but I copied out text: 
Embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker strode into the Town Hall council chambers Wednesday afternoon, briefly interrupting a coastal protection discussion, said basically hello, and was on his way...
He also left Palm Beach $200,000 richer in contributions, with more to come from pledges following a luncheon Wednesday organized by Town Council President David Rosow and Lee Hanley, who hosted the event at his Palm Beach home.
“This is the ATM of American politics,” said Councilman Bill Diamond, who spends much of his time raising money for Republican candidates.

Are road-kill deer tested for CWD?

The Cap Times says deer carcasses are piling up along state highways and some officials say a sloppy hand-off of the job from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Transportation is to blame.

I'd written about these matters in the spring when Walker's proposed budget called for shifting deer carcass removal tfrom the DNR to WisDOT - - after he failed ailed in an earlier budget to hand off this messy job to already-fiscally strapped county governments - - and the Cap Times story allows me to call further attention to one part of the issue I'd emphasized in my earlier blog post which is still under-covered:
 
Does WisDOT, with budgetary and mission problems galore, have the right contractors, staffers and equipment statewide a) to make sure deer carcasses are promptly and safely picked up, and b) to guarantee the carcasses will be professionally incinerated - - not landfilled - - in case they carry chronic wasting disease, (CWD), which is known to be spreading while Wisconsin officials slow-walk towards a solution?
I have been told that deer carcasses should be tested for chronic wasting disease before being landfilled.
You'd have to examine the contracts which WisDOT has signed with haulers and verify the follow through to ascertain whether anyone is putting a CWD focus on the matter.

I see a further connection from the issue of deer carcass disposal to the disregard of Wisconsin wildlife summarized in a section of this analysis of damage done to the wenvironment since Walker's 2011 inauguration:
Like water, Wisconsin wildlife - - another public trust - - in "ongoing decline."
Like our Wisconsin water resources, our state’s wildlife—deer, birds, and predators alike—are held in trust for current and future generations of Wisconsin citizens. But, regrettably, the last few years has shown an ongoing decline in regulatory oversight over our wildlife, placing this invaluable resource in jeopardy and creating public safety and health risks to the public at large.
While the elimination of Wisconsin DNR’s Science Services Bureau speaks volumes in and of itself, the state’s de-prioritization of science bodes particularly poorly for wildlife management and complies with a harmful trend toward increased deregulation as highlighted below.
Wisconsin’s Deer Herd and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): 
As well reported, it is evident that Walker’s DNR and Wisconsin’s legislative leadership have demonstrated a remarkable lack of will to combat the spread of CWD, in particular, the will to protect the state’s wild deer population in any manner at odds with business interests of the captive deer farm lobby.
Rather than taking a proactive approach with respect to CWD-infested deer farms or following the lead of Michigan and Illinois’ wildlife agencies, Wisconsin’s DNR has been aptly characterized as a “mute, powerless observer” in the face of the CWD threat. 
Even regulation as basic as CWD monitoring has precipitously declined; compared to more than 40,000 deer tested in 2002, 6,129 deer were tested in the 2016 hunt - - resources, here and here and here

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Advantage, pollution: Feds "no" on lakeshore golf hearing

There's an insiders' tag team underway by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin DNR as the state government/Walker donor steamroller bulldozer aims to convert a 247-acre nature preserve into a privately-owned golf course adjacent to - - and partially within - - Kohler Andrae State Park,

It's like counting on the second opinion you lined up by an independent claims adjuster because you know your insurance company was likely tp selling you out after a flood wrecked your house - - and then discovering that your independent firm isn't going to do the separate analysis because it already decided your insurer's notes and reviews were good enough.

So if you plan to attend the hearing the Wisconsin DNR has scheduled on its golf course plan reviews in Sheboygan on Nov. 30th - - a week from today, and to which Friends of the Black River Forest urge your attendance - - and you've been thinking that the US Army Corps of Engineers would was available as an honest, independent back-stopping reviewer which would put the protection of Lake Michigan and the lakeshore and dunes and wetlands and groundwater from fertilizer runoff and related degradation as priority #1 - - note:


The Corps of Engineers has decided not to hold a hearing of its own, and will rely on the DNR's processes and reviews and assessments which, to date, are working to the golf course developer's advantage, as explained in the comments from Friends of the Black River Forest, here.


The Corps of Engineers has said by letter, below, "there is not a valid public interest to be served by conducting a public hearing at this time." 

Also available, here:


Army Corps of Engineers Letter - No public hearing needed for permit to discharge dredged material or fill in wetlands. 10/3/17

And you know that after a DNR permit is issued, the Corps of Engineers is likely to say 'well, too late now.'


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New WI DNR Secretary D. Meyer just like 'chamber of commerce' Stepp

At the WI DNR, it's out with the old, in with more-of-the same, as more small government conservatives sign on to big government big jobs.

Scott Walker's hand-picked 'chamber of commerce mentality DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp has gone to help run Trump's pro-business US EPA, so new DNR Secretary Dan Meyer is fielding much the same type of pro-business management team, per this email circulating in the agency:
Message from Secretary Dan Meyer
Greetings! I'd like to start off by thanking each of you that I've met this past month traveling around the state. Your professionalism and knowledge is exceptional and I feel very fortunate to lead such an outstanding organization.
To those I have not met yet, I look forward to meeting you and learning more about your programs and the work you do here at DNR.
That said, I am happy to announce three new members to our agency's Department Leadership Team (DLT) as well as a couple other human resources-related changes.
Jake Curtis
First, I am happy to announce the appointment of our new Chief Legal Counsel, Mr. Jake Curtis. Jake holds a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School and was admitted to the State Bar in 2009. Jake has a B.A., summa cum laude, in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He resides in Grafton with his wife and children, where they frequently visit Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve. Growing up, Jake spent his summers in Waushara County. Now, Jake and his family enjoy frequenting Vilas County in Wisconsin's Northwood's.
 Luke Fuller
Second, please join me in welcoming Mr. Luke Fuller as our new legislative liaison. As some of you may already know, Tim Gary recently joined our Management and Budget program earlier this month, creating this vacancy 
Prior to joining the DNR, Luke worked in issue advocacy for the last two years. Luke previously served as State Senator Leah Vukmir's Chief-of-Staff and began his career in state government in the Governor's Office. Luke lives in Fitchburg with his wife Michele and their daughter Eleanor. 
When he isn't working he enjoys hiking the Ice Age Trail, reading and watching basketball... 
In closing, I would like to wish you and your friends and family a very Happy Thanksgiving. If you are traveling or are planning on deer hunting, please be safe and enjoy this special time of year.
Dan
Note that a more complete Jake Curtis biography includes additional information about his previous and more recent employment, political and campaign background: 

Jake Curtis

Associate Counsel & Federalism Litigator

Jake Curtis is an Associate Counsel and Federalism Litigator at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty’s Center for Competitive Federalism. He is a frequent contributor to Right Wisconsin and his work has been featured in National Review Online.
Prior to Joining WILL, Jake served as Wisconsin State Senator Duey Stroebel’s Policy Director and as a litigation and government affairs associate at both Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren in Milwaukee and a boutique Mequon firm specializing in municipal labor and employment matters. He previously served as an Ozaukee County Supervisor as well as a special appointed Assistant District Attorney in Milwaukee County.
In addition to his role as an attorney, Jake has been actively involved in Wisconsin politics since 2004.  He previously served in key advisory roles to Assembly, State Senate, Judicial, and U.S. Senate campaigns.  Most recently, he served as a Wisconsin advisor to the Ted Cruz presidential campaign.
Jake holds a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he was a member of the Moot Court Team, and a B.A., summa cum laude, in political science from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, where he was the 2005 co-recipient of the Karl Andresen Scholarship.  He resides in Grafton with his wife and children.