Saturday, February 3, 2018

At EPA, Stepp won't review 2 key WI pollution cases

File under 'why we need watchdogs.'

Midwest Environmental Advocates, (MEA), triggered the removal of regional US EPA administrator Cathy Stepp - - formerly the Secretary of the Wisconsin DNR - - from that agency's review ov a major challenge to Wisconsin's clean water compliance with federal law.

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

MEA had initiated the challenge on behalf of a broad coalition after years of foot-dragging by the Walker administration, as MEA notes:
In 2015, sixteen Wisconsin residents filed a Petition with the EPA to ask for a formal review of Clean Water Act pollution permitting in the state. Stepp had decision-making authority over the Petition during her time as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 
The Clean Water Act envisions a meaningful, impartial balance of power between the federal and state government, but this balance would be endangered unless Stepp recused herself from the process now that she leads the EPA office Wisconsinites turned to for help.
A Trump appointee, Stepp manages a multi-state EPA regional office that includes Wisconsin and is headquartered in Chicago.

Coincidentally, I'd urged Stepp's recusal in December, noting that her failure to fix 75 documented water program deficiencies the EPA had put on the DNR's agenda dated to the early years of her oversight of the DNR which Walker wanted run with a 'chamber of commerce mentality.'

The Journal Sentinel also reported that Stepp is removing herself from a high-profile pollution and worker safety case the newspaper has been featuring:
The EPA said Stepp has also stepped aside in another case involving a chain of troubled chemical barrel refurbishing plants in St. Francis, Milwaukee and Oak Creek in which the DNR has also been involved

No comments: