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Local conservationist would welcome change in direction by DNR

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A new governor, a new direction for natural resources protection?

That’s the hope from conservationists and environmentalists in Wisconsin, fatigued after fighting eight years of a pro-business model to natural resources by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.

“Quite honestly, the department is somewhat lost in its public policy initiatives,” chair of the La Crosse County Conservation Congress, Marc Schultz said.

Under Walker the DNR has seen a decrease in scientists and wardens and the elimination of any information about global climate change from the agency’s website.

Schultz, to start, would like to see even the smallest of changes in communication from the DNR.

“Hopefully there can be some new direction in respect to letting this staff provide their professional opinions to the public,” he said.

That’s a simple process of the new DNR secretary allowing more openness. An even better process, Schultz noted, would be to return to the practice of having the DNR board, rather than the governor, appoint the agency secretary.

“Fewer political appointees,” he said. “More professionals. And, ideally, it would be a secretary appointed by the DNR board.”

A secretary appointed by the DNR board, however, cannot happen without legislative action.

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