Environmental groups sue DNR over Monroe County frac sand permits

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Midwest Environmental Advocates and Clean Wisconsin have challenged the Wisconsin DNR’s approval of a Monroe County frac sand operation, saying it would be the largest single destruction of wetlands in the state for an industrial frac sand project. > La Crosse Tribune

GOP aims to rein in DNR scientists who rebelled on climate change

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Two years ago, Walker cut 18 DNR researchers amid complaints that their research on climate change, pollution and wildlife habitat were controversial and unneeded. Now in the current budget, the science services bureau is being dissolved and its remaining scientists moved to program offices that use their research. > Wisconsin State Journal

Committee keeps but reduces DNR mag, okays higher park fees and forestry tax cut

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The budget committee voted Wednesday to reduce the popular Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine to four issues a year but rejected Gov. Walker’s plan to end publication. The committee also said it would accept Walker’s controversial proposal to eliminate the forestry tax and his plan to allow another round of higher state park fees. > Wisconsin State Journal

Scheduled votes for the budget committee today

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The budget committee will vote today on Walker’s plans to cut property taxes by moving the forestry tax; raise state park fees according to parks’ popularity; eliminate the Parole Commission; give judges a 2 percent raise in each of the next two years; increase pay for DAs and public defenders; and shutter the DNR magazine. > Beloit Daily News

Killing popular DNR magazine would cost state $778K. Committee votes today.

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The cost of shuttering the state’s popular, subscriber-supported Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, which gained more than 1,000 new subscribers after Walker announced his proposal to eliminate it, would be more than twice the cost estimated, according to new Legislative Fiscal Bureau calculations. The budget committee will vote on the magazine’s future today. > Wisconsin State Journal

DNR approves sand mining project with large wetlands loss

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A timber company’s plans to develop a $65 million sand processing facility between Tomah and Black River Falls that would destroy a large swath of wetlands were approved by the DNR Friday. Sand is a key ingredient in fracking, used under pressure with water to prop open pockets of oil and gas. > Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

DNR ended social dinners after lawsuit, but they’re back with public notice

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The DNR policy board will gather for a social hour followed by an informal dinner meeting in a pub this month despite promising in October to end the practice amid complaints such meetings shut the public out of decision-making. A spokesman noted this month’s meeting is different because it’s been publicly announced.  >  Wisconsin State Journal