Incoming DNR chief promises to lean on science in running the agency

Preston Cole promised that science will be given a higher priority in decision-making when he takes over next month as secretary of the state Department of Natural Resources. Gov.-elect Tony Evers appointed Cole, a top city of Milwaukee official, on Wednesday to head the 2,500-employee agency at a news conference in the city. > Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Should Walker be the next Department of Interior chief? Former DNR heads weigh in.

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With Gov. Scott Walker on the short list for the U.S. Department of Interior secretary position, what is his record on conservation issues? Two former secretaries from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources weighed in on Walker’s eight years in the statehouse and whether he would be qualified for the Cabinet position. > Channel 3000

Poll: 1st District voters support Land and Water Conservation Fund

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National Wildlife Federation officials are urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund after a poll in the 1st District showed overwhelming support for it. Seventy-one percent of poll respondents said they want to renew the program, which expired in September after Congress failed to reauthorize it. > Janesville Gazette

Great Lakes Compact Council approves changes to rules guiding water diversions

A council that manages and protects the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin is changing the rules for communities that want to withdraw and use water outside the watershed. But Great Lakes mayors and environmental groups say the changes don’t go far enough to strengthen their multi-state agreement. > Wisconsin Public Radio

Did politics play role in DNR’s OK of golf course?

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Opponents of a championship-caliber golf course planned by the Kohler Co. along the shoreline of Lake Michigan say political interference played a role when a state agency approved a key permit to fill wetlands for the controversial project. > Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Despite GOP resistance, Tony Evers can restore some environmental protections

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Even without cooperation from lawmakers, there are some potentially significant moves Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul will be able to make on the environmental front when they take office in January, as they attempt to revise various laws that have loosened environmental protections since 2010. > Wisconsin State Journal

Former DNR employee: Staff pressured to OK Kohler golf course on rare wetlands and state park

Despite their assessment that rare wetlands would be impacted, the agency okayed the wetland permit for the 18-hole course, which would also require removal of up to 120 acres of forest. > Wisconsin Public Radio