I've written repeatedly here since 2007 about the special interest attack on Wisconsin's environment and previous Governors' records by Scott Walker, including the legacy left by Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, and old-school GOP Gov. Warren Knowles.
And how people have to spend their own money fighting both special interests and the taxpayer-funded DNR to try and get environmental justice.
[Environmental] lawsuits are a good sign that citizens are not going to accept the one-sided and dirty hand this administration is handing them - - another example is the strong citizen opposition to the proposed Kohler golf course along Lake Michigan and on a nature preserve for which the DNR already has a thumb on the regulatory scales - - but it's wrong that the state can default its clean air and water obligations which forces people to spend money from their own pockets to do the state's proper job.And about how this all got jump-started when then-GOP Governor Tommy Thompson upended the long-standing public prosecutorial Office of the Public Intervenor which had been created with bi-partisan backing.
(You might check out this 2012 posting which includes a link to a definitive 2004 Marquette Law Review article on the matter by Midwest Environmental Advocates Atty. Jodi Habush Sinykin, too.)
This final blow in this costly and intentional assault on in the public protection dike which Thompson created, and Walker has exploited, was thrown by GOP AG Brad Schimel when he removed in 2016 Tom Dawson, the last of the early public intervenors still on duty, so Schimel could fully staff what is essentially a pro-industry boutique law practice inside the Department of Justice.
All very Scott Pruitt-ish, and by design.
Now thanks to the good folks who have created an online archive of works by late environmental writer, Madison radio personality and progressive stalwart George "Papa Hambone" Vukelich - - my ally and mentor, too - - I pass on this gem from yesteryear.
The 4-13-95 column below is from Isthmus of Madison and was based on an interview with former WMC President Paul Hassett back before the WMC became just another reflexive big funder of far rightwing candidates and causes.
I know the image is a bit hard to read, but the boxed quote sums it up:
"Tommy Thompson's decision to eliminate the public intervenor's office is wrong," says Paul Hassett.And From the heart of the column:
"The public intervenor's office is the only state agency that can function over other state agencies. It's a watchdog over the Department of Natural Resources, it keeps the DNR on its toes. Well, you remove the watchdog and you force people into court; the costs money, and the cases stretch into big, long cases that can on for two, three, four, five years."And the kicker:
"In my oldest dreams, I could not envision Warren Knowles making a power play like this."I'll pass along a better image if I can get it.