Local Conservationist Hopes Science Returns To DNR Decisions

Nov 8, 2018

Wisconsin's Green Fire board member Bob Martini
Credit Wisconsin's Green Fire

A change in Wisconsin's Governor has some conservationists hopeful that the next few years will feature more science in environmental decisions.

Rhinelander's Bob Martini is a board member of Wisconsin's Green Fire and is with Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association.

Martini says from what Governor-elect Tony Evers has said during the campaign he thinks the approach by the state toward the environment will be different...

"..The past 8 years not only have not been good for the environment but they haven't been good for science. Science-based management of natural resources is really the only way to go. it was a campaign issue. Tony Evers said on several occasions that he wanted to restore science into natural resources management. That would be a major change. He also says he wants to restore the independent nature of the DNR secretary which is really important..."

Martini says since Governor Tommy Thompson's time, the secretary was a political appointee. The power to appoint the secretary was taken away from the independent Natural Resources Board.

Martini says one example where politics played a role over science was when Attorney General Brad Schimel advised the DNR to not use cumulative impacrts on the watershed regarding high-capacity wells..

"In this case, the Secretary of the DNR decided to implement the cumulative impacts advice of the Attorney General, which is disastrous for issuing science-based high capacity well permits..."

Martini says he was somewhat surprised by the margin of the advisory vote by Oneida county residents saying they didn't want the county board to pursue a mine in the Town of Lynne. Two out of three voters rejected pursuing a mine. County Board Chair David Hintz told WJFW TV that the chance of pursuing a mine now was 'remote'.