Walker Tried to Kneecap the Department of Natural Resources
From Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
MADISON – As part of its Field Guide to Taking Back Wisconsin campaign, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters released its third entry in
its Walker’s Wisconsin series today. The series recounts Gov. Scott Walker’s extreme anti-conservation agenda and outlines just how far he’s
taken our state, once considered a conservation model, to somewhere that’s hardly recognizable.
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters will update the Walker’s Wisconsin series via media releases, website, and social media every two
weeks until Wisconsin elects a new governor in November. Walker’s Wisconsin concentrates on five categories – air, climate change,
democracy, land, and water.
To read more, visit the Field Guide at conservationvoters.org/field-guide.
Walker picked on wind turbines rather than fossil fuels
In an era dominated by fossil fuel energy – well documented to have negative human health impacts from exposure to soot, mercury, and other
toxins – wind power is a safe and reliable source of clean and renewable energy in Wisconsin. In a 2014 report, the Wind Siting Council
concluded that wind turbines do not have a direct and negative effect on human health. Yet, in a gift to the fossil fuel industry that pays for his
elections, Walker proposed $250,000 in his 2015-17 budget for the Public Service Commission to study the health effects of wind turbines on
humans, duplicating recent studies and ignoring the true threat: fossil fuels.
Walker tried to kneecap the Department of Natural Resources
In his 2015-2017 budget, Walker tried to convert the Natural Resources Board into an advisory entity with no oversight capabilities. The seven-
member board represents a diverse geographic and professional cross-section of people. It helps direct the agency and is responsible for
providing public input on natural resources decisions. Without it, Walker’s appointee would alone set policy for the agency, further centralizing
Walker’s power over our natural resources. Thanks to huge public outcry, the move was pulled from the budget.
Walker underfunded state parks, then hiked fees
Walker has increased fees for state parks and zeroed out state funding for them, a model that has failed in other states. Wisconsin State Parks
are often the first place people experience the outdoors, and act as economic engines that bring in tourism dollars. Walker’s 2015 budget
resulted in a $1.4 million deficit for the state parks. He then hiked fees in his next budget. Wisconsin now has the highest fees for daily state
parks admissions in the Midwest. The financial burden to access the state’s most beautiful places has a ripple effect that targets lower income
families and makes the outdoors inaccessible for many Wisconsinites.
Walker reduced the ‘boots on the ground’ fighting run-off pollution
In his 2015-17 budget Walker tried to reduce staff funding to county soil and water conservation departments by $800,000, falling well short of
the program’s required $9,379,800. County soil and water conservation departments provide essential testing and monitoring services across
Wisconsin. These departments assist farmers with designing and constructing manure storage facilities, help establish conservation
cropping practices, and aid in nutrient management planning. The county departments also help landowners find cost-share funds for
conservation work. Without full funding for county conservationists, Wisconsin communities lose their first defense against water pollution.
While the Joint Finance Committee increased funding by $675,000 per year, the funding was still $1 million short of its required budget.
Walker praised frac sand water thieves
In 2014, Walker visited the frac sand mining company Hi-Crush’s new facility in Trempeleau County where he praised them for “maintaining a
positive relationship with the Wisconsin communities surrounding their facility.” He also said that we can “balance our strong commitment to
maintaining clean water, clean land, and clean air with an operation investing in Wisconsin.” It was an ironic visit since Hi-Crush essentially
stole water. The facility paid $52,000 in penalties for operating two high-capacity wells on its site without state permits and operating one well
at a higher pumping rate than its permit allowed. Of course, the company’s executives donated $10,000 to the Walker campaign.
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Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision
makers accountable, and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin's public health and