Wisconsin DNR Changes and Challenges

Jan 10, 2017 | Citizen Advocacy, Water Policy

We’ve seen a recent proposal to reorganize the DNR. We’ve heard of a plan to dismantle the DNR. We’ve watched an agency with a proud tradition of evidence-based resource management reject the scientific consensus on climate change. And all this after bi-partisan actions that have stripped funding from the DNR for two decades.

We don’t know exactly what’s in store for a few months. But if the pro-polluter caucus in the State Capitol follows-up on their long-held and barely concealed plans, we can expect a few things:

  • Wisconsin taxpayers will be left with the bill for ineffective and expensive administrative jiggering.
  • Wisconsin anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts will see little effort to protect and properly manage wildlife.
  • Wisconsin communities will grapple with more policy produced by corporate lobbyists instead of informed by broad input and the best scientific analysis.
  • Civil servants who dedicate their professional lives to the public and our precious natural resources will be vilified by a handful of ideologues in the Wisconsin legislature.
  • Everyone who appreciates a manure-free glass of water will once again see the state agency tasked with environmental protection thrown into chaos.
  • It’s as if disruption, disorganization, denial and disarray at the DNR is the goal of some in the Capitol.

River Alliance members believe turning away from Wisconsin’s commitment to preserving and restoring public resources for the benefit of all of us—not just the big corporations, or the wealthy few—is a tragic, shortsighted mistake. A state named after the river that runs through it should loudly and proudly defend a natural legacy that defines us as a people. A dedicated state agency with the resources and mandate to protect Wisconsin air, land and water is the very least we can do.

River Alliance members also know that as pressures of climate change and a global economy build, it is not a moment to reject science as the lens through which we make public health and resource management decisions. Leaders around the world and in the U.S. have come together around ambitious goals to address the causes and impacts of climate change. Wisconsin has chosen instead to ally itself to a small group of industry players and ideologues determined to deny reality while they profit from pollution.

We can do better. We must do better. And with your support, we will do better.

Some quick things you can do right now:

Most importantly, insist that your voice is heard. You won’t be alone – thousands of River Alliance members will be right there beside you.