Scott Walker’s DNR Fails To Protect Public Waterways
A most damming news story is released today about how Wisconsin is failing to keep public waterways up to the mandated standards due to a willful lack of applying enforcement procedures.
This news comes after years of budget cuts and careless policy making during Governor Scott Walker’s years in office. Where once this state was noted for our pristine air and water now those long-time characteristics have been replaced with a conservative, and uneducated handling of our resources. It can not be left unsaid that both Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and Walker are not college graduates and the mess that has been created as a result of their time in office underscores that point.
It is simply a most shameful example of what is happening to our state with severely misguided leadership. Whereas tax or educational policy can be reversed quickly (if the voters demand it) there is no quick turn around when our natural resources are damaged. To have the levers of power in the hands of those with no knowledge of what they are dealing with leaves all state residents vulnerable.
Wisconsin’s overworked pollution regulators failed to follow their own policies initiating enforcement action against violators of water quality laws more than 94 percent of the time, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau said in a report released Friday.
The bureau’s 124-page audit of state Department of Natural Resources protection of public waterways from industrial and municipal waste water said agency actions generally declined from 2005 to 2015, a period when elected officials have reduced agency staffing.
Notices of violations were issued to polluters in just 33 of 558 instances serious enough for such citations under DNR policies, the audit found.
And some DNR inspections of large livestock farms — 6.5 percent of the total — took place after the agency reissued the farm’s concentrated animal feeding operation permits instead of before, a violation of state and federal law aimed at ensuring the CAFOs keep waste out of water.