Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stepp is the perfect pick to depredate the Boundary Waters

Installing - - whew, no Senate confirmation needed - -  former Wisconsin developer, anti-science and inside-the-government pollution enabler Cathy Stepp as director of the US EPA Great Lakes region - - is like giving the oil tanker captain who drove his ship onto the rocks in Alaska the helm of an even bigger ship.

But that's what Donald Trump is doing by positioning Stepp as the political appointee to speed along, among other things, acidic sulfide mining runoff, air pollution, trucking disruption and a host of other environmental, health and safety depredations Trump is aiming at the special Minnesota wilderness known as the Boundary Waters.

Because she's got the experience.

*  Among Stepp's achievements implementing WI GOP Gov. Scott Walker's overtly-right-wing "chamber of commerce mentality" atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: defending the iron mining bill Walker had written for, and with, the sole mining company planning 35 years of deep open-pit mining with eased wetland-filling rules across up to 22 miles of the Penokee Hills and Bad River watershed near Lake Superior.

A company which infused into Walker's political campaign committee secretly-routed donations of $1.25 million.

*  And on her way out the DNR door for new polluting opportunities at the EPA which Trump has turned into a climate change-denying, anti-environmental protection agency mirroring what Walker and Stepp had done with the DNR, Stepp let it be known that she was in love with the precedent-setting Foxconn project in SE WI - - setting precedents not only for the $4 billion in state subsidies fast-tracked to the company, but also through a unique law governing its operations that eliminated environmental reviews and allowed filling wetlands, moving streams and building on lake beds prohibited by the Wisconsin Constitution's Public Trust Doctrine.
Stepp sounds in this Journal Sentinel story more like a Foxconn publicist than the senior state employee purportedly in charge of protecting the people's clean air and water:
State Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said Wednesday her agency supports removing regulatory hurdles for Foxconn Technology Group's massive electronics plant, but she said environmental standards won't be compromised...
Stepp was enthusiastic about Foxconn during a meeting of the Natural Resources Board in Milwaukee, calling the plant pegged for southeastern Wisconsin an "amazing opportunity." The plant would build liquid crystal display panels....
"We want to hit the ground running and make sure that the regulatory processes and bureaucracy are not in the way...
*  Stepp also greenlit a major wetlands destruction for a sand mining project, including the loss of significant stands of trees, reported the Journal Sentinel:
The DNR approved plans by the company to destroy 16.25 acres of wetlands, including 13.37 acres of white pine and red maple swamp. A white pine, red maple swamp is considered imperiled by the DNR because there are few remaining sites in Wisconsin. 
Meteor's plans would be the largest wetlands loss from the sand industry in a decade, according to the DNR.  
With that mentality, you can understand why her agency didn't follow its own pollution prevention rules 94% of the time. 

*  And why the state, championing weakened environmental standards, added a hundreds of impaired waterways over the last few years to the official list .
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
Stepp is the perfect, pro-pollution corporate tool to get the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act out of the way so a Chilean mining company can tear up the land near the Boundary Waters.


Anonymous said...

It is actually a great opportunity for Cathy Stepp and her husband to sell property just across from FoxConn. Her property will probably bought as part of the I94 expansion.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

And I bet she won't get the bargain-basement "eminent domain" price that other locals will get.

Grifting isn't easy but someone's got to do it.

Anonymous said...

No college education needed to obtain all that "experience".....