Thursday, March 12, 2009

Whose Appointment Is It Anyway?

A few weeks ago, when I didn’t attend Conservation Day in Madison, Wisconsin, I did read the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voter’s Priorities for 2009. In a nutshell, the priorities involve preservation of ground water, doing as much as possible to stop global warming and climate change, protect drinking water, and restore conservation integrity. It was that last item that I had to read more about because as a newcomer to environmental issues in Wisconsin, I wasn’t sure what that meant. I did skim the WCLV materials, but mostly I enjoyed the pictures.

This morning Steve Lund, Editorial Page Editor of the Kenosha News, did a good job of summarizing the issue so that even people who never read the WLCV materials will understand. The issue is whether the Secretary of the Wisconsin DNR Board (Department of Natural Resources for other newbies) should be appointed by the Governor as has been the case since 1995 or by the DNR Board, as it used to be before then Gov. Thompson changed things. A bill restoring the original method has been introduced into the legislature for the past 14 years. However, although the bill has a majority of votes from both the House and Senate, it does not yet have a veto-proof majority, according to an editorial today in the Green Bay Gazette and posted on the WLCV blog.

Maybe I am wrong but both ways seem political. It just depends on where you are standing how you view the issue. However, Mr. Lund does a good job of summarizing DNR activities of the past the 14 years and why the old way of doing things might be better.

Only one thing- a typo in the print version of the column changes the meaning of the last paragraph of Lund’s piece. He says, "Bring back the old days. Let the Natural Resources Board appoint the governor, let everyone else complain about the DNR having too much power...." Appoint the Governor? I thought we voted for the Governor. I think what he meant was “let the Natural Resources Board appoint the Secretary” or am I missing something in this argument?

I know what Mr. Lund meant to say, and he told me it has been corrected in the on-line version. I agree with the position and I will write a letter my State Senator, Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie) who is sponsoring the bill to restore the original way of appointment. Thanks, Steve, for writing the editorial. More people in Kenosha should now understand what this is all about.

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