DNR Audit Underlines Consequences of Starving State Government
DNR underfunding, understaffing causing lack of enforcement, accountability
(MADISON) – Today the Joint Legislative Audit Committee had a hearing about the results of the Legislative Audit Bureau’s (LAB) 2016 audit of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wastewater Permitting and Enforcement program.
“This audit reveals the consequences of starving our state government,” said Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), ranking Democratic member of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
“This is what happens when the Governor prioritizes pollution over sustainability and the Department Secretary not-so-surprisingly requests to cut twenty-five fewer employees over the last six years, pays her staff less than the maximum, and rolls back oversight to benefit corporate special interests. Our DNR is anemic because it’s so severely underfunded and understaffed.”
“There are literally not enough people to actually enforce the laws on pollution and contamination–the Governor and DNR Secretary have made sure of it. They’re expecting polluters and CAFOs to self-regulate their own contamination and pollution and then they act surprised when they discover that polluters aren’t complying with state law and regulations.
“This audit reveals the impacts of repeated attacks, cuts, and the hard work of special interests who’d rather increase their own profits than protect and conserve our natural resources. It’s disgraceful, but it’s certainly not surprising.”
Melissa Sargent is a State Representative in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 48th Assembly District, which covers the east and north sides of the City of Madison and the village of Maple Bluff.
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There’s no excuse for the lack of transparency or accountability with this much on the line for Wisconsin taxpayers.