Public finally scores a victory on Wisconsin water

water

The Wisconsin DNR has long been the guardian of the state’s lakes and rivers, until Scott Walker and company got their hands on the department. That’s why this week’s Dane County Circuit Court ruling provides a glimmer of hope that the current DNR and Republican AG Schimel can at least somewhat be reined in. > Cap Times

Judge throws out industrial well permits scientists said would harm public waters

wells

A Dane County judge has thrown out eight high-capacity well permits the state granted to businesses despite warnings from its own scientists that the heavy water withdrawals would harm vulnerable lakes, streams and drinking water supplies. > Wisconsin State Journal

Conservation group opposes two bills on air quality

air

Two air quality bills are circulating in the state Legislature, and a conservation group opposes both. The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters says the first strikes down all state standards for determining what’s a pollutant, while the second prohibits the DNR from including data from the monitoring site in Kohler-Andrae State Park. > Public News Service

New DNR chief is ex-GOP lawmaker with mixed record on environment

meyer

When Dan Meyer, Gov. Walker’s newly named DNR chief, represented an Assembly district from 2001 to 2012, the League of Conservation Voters gave him an approval rating of under 37 percent. But the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation said his grasp of how environmental protection improves hunting and fishing may make him an improvement over Walker’s last appointee. > Wisconsin State Journal

Walker names new DNR chief

meyer

Gov. Scott Walker on Monday announced he was appointing Dan Meyer, a former chamber of commerce director, as state DNR secretary. Meyer replaces Cathy Stepp, who Walker appointed in 2011, saying he wanted someone with a “chamber of commerce mentality” in charge of the department. > Wisconsin State Journal

Meteor Timber seeks changes to wetland permit for Monroe County frac plant

sand-mining

Wisconsin environmental regulators are considering new conditions for a controversial Monroe County frac sand plant that would require what environmentalists call “massive” wetland destruction. > La Crosse Tribune

If governor, Tony Evers would call for independent DNR secretary

evers

Calling for a return to a more independent state DNR, state schools superintendent and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers said he would return the power to appoint the DNR secretary to the Natural Resources Board, as it occurred from the 1920s until 1995. > Wisconsin State Journal