It's a kind of shell company that doles out get-out-of-jail free cards instead of money for the environments worst offenders.
On the outside it's called the DNR, but technically its been transformed into an advertising arm of the Walker administrations to promote the parks and attract big business. Concerns about the environment, water, air matter only when it affects what corporate special interests can plunder most and get away with.
This was the final nail in the DNR coffin, which pretty much explained the DNR's new role, not just at the fair:
The DNR will no longer operate a major venue at the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis. Effective this year, the DNR will no longer offer fisheries, wildlife or environmental management booths, casting clinics, archery, a children's nature play area, Smokey's Schoolhouse and a number of other attractions.
It will continue to provide information only on state parks … DNR spokesman Jim Dick said the agency's presence at the fair would focus on the state park system, state forests and state natural areas, which he described as “places we can promote as premier destinations for outdoor activities. This is an opportunity to educate visitors, many from urban areas, on what recreational locations and activities are available not far from home."
News of the changes shocked many in the Wisconsin conservation community.
Here's a little history:
Two years ago, Walker and lawmakers enacted a budget that cut 18 DNR science service bureau researchers amid complaints that their research related to climate change, pollution and wildlife habitat were controversial and unneeded. Now the science services bureau is being dissolved and its remaining scientists moved to program offices that use their research. Former DNR secretary George Meyer said placing the researchers in program offices may make them subject to a variety of pressures that could affect the way they design their research on controversial topics such as chronic wasting disease in the deer herd.
A frequent critic of the DNR said the move will give more control to DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, who was appointed by Walker in 2011 to make the department friendlier to business. “I think it’s a more disciplined approach where the leadership of the Department of Natural Resources really directs that research,” said Sen. Tom Tiffany, a Republican and part of the GOP majority on the Legislature’s budget committee.
Stepp should be able to ensure that research benefits sportsmen and the DNR should be better able to prevent further research that takes climate change into account, Tiffany said
Two years ago the DNR stopped publicly laying out its research plans and priorities.