Right across the Mississippi, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is aggressively pursuing the interests of the polluters, and incredibly blacklisting Wisconsin clean water activists.
On the very weekend of the Minnesota summit, it was reported the Scott Walker administration maintained a blacklist of Wisconsin citizens about whom the Department of Natural Resources agency staff was ordered to not to respond with any communications, and to ignore all communications from these 16 Wisconsin citizens.
Report Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The state Department of Natural Resources blacklisted a group of 16 citizens and activists with complaints about how the agency managed wildlife and administered clean water and other rules.
Being put on the 'do not respond' list was supposed to mean that going forward agency staff would not respond to the complainants except for those responses required by the state's open records law.
Blacklisting citizens now.
The news of the Walker administration's blacklisting of citizens follows by some two weeks Scott Walker's signing Republican-passed legislation "overhauling the state's century-old system of merit hiring and firing," which will incorporate a system where politically vetted state workers will have access to confidential citizen information maintained by the state bureaucracy, (Stein and Marley, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).
Easy to contemplate a blacklist of citizens—viewed with suspicion and hostility—veering into an enemies list as state workers become political instruments of the Walker adminstration.
Criticism of the black list is already growing across the state, especially among clean water advocates.
Writes Criste Greening of the clean water citizens' group, Protect Wood County and Its Neighbors, in a widely circulated email this weekend:
Friends and concerned Citizens,Back in Minnesota, reports J. Patrick Coolican in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Once again, politics at its best when it comes to our current administration in Madison. Lynn and Nancy Utesch [of Kewaunee CARES (Facebook)] are great friends of mine and vocal advocates for the land and waters of the state that are becoming increasingly polluted by industrial agriculture. Please read the forwarded correspondences below and remember these tidbits of information when election time is upon us.
The Utesch family are family farmers in Kewaunee County, where 1/3 of private drinking water wells have been made unusable because of pollution attributed to manure runoff from the 16 dairy CAFOs in Kewaunee County. They, like 15 others, have been blacklisted by the DNR for requesting internal information pointing out the DNR's lack of enforcement. Does anyone think this is a level playing field for citizens of Wisconsin? With DNR enforcement down by half over the past few years, citizens are compelled to protect their water, and barring them from requesting information, or delaying it, contradicts the open records laws.
Agency people and politicians copied here, please explain how this is justifiable. Citizens blind copied here, please remember this when you vote.
Gov. Mark Dayton sought to unify Minnesotans around solving the state’s emerging water challenges at a St. Paul summit Saturday that brought together hundreds of activists, farmers, lobbyists, legislators and regulators.
But even as those present spoke of hope and resolve, the costs and conflicts surrounding water issues were immediately evident, as a group of demonstrators interrupted Dayton’s opening remarks to protest the construction of oil pipelines they said would threaten water quality and cultural touchstones like wild rice farming in tribal lands.
After Dayton promised to meet with the protesters, they left the stage, and he continued, not by proposing laws or regulations, but by sounding more like a pastor, [preacher], of water.
'What we really need is to establish an ethic of clean water practices,' he said. 'I urge you, and I ask you, to spend today establishing our ethic: that clean water practices are every Minnesotan’s responsibility. That anything less is unacceptable. And that it’s achievable if all of us do our part.'
Can anyone imagine Scott Walker understanding much less preaching the ethics of fresh, clean water?
One has to ask is Scott Walker so deluded, so ignorant, this man-child is not aware clean water is the lifeblood of Earth?
The Scott Walker administration's BlackList includes the following Wisconsin citizens:
Lynn and Nancy Utesch
The Sprecher family: Terry, Dawn, and Milton