Under Governor Scott Walker, illegal polluters are being let off the hook when they violate the law. In fact, since Walker took office, enforcement against illegal polluters has dropped from an average of 516 notices per year to just 233.
As an example (we hope you are sitting down and definitely not eating), one of those illegal polluters, Herr Environmental, was treating fields with 300% as much human waste as their permit allowed, endangering 40 nearby drinking water wells. They even cooked their books to show that they were in compliance.(1)
Herr Environmental is a known bad actor, having been slapped with a $240,000 fine for previous environmental offenses.(2) The top DNR investigator on the most recent infraction called the violations among “the worst he’d seen.”(3) Surely this means Herr Environmental was punished to the full extent of the law? Not with Governor Walker in charge. Instead, Herr Environmental got off the hook with the lowest fine possible. Walker’s political appointees overrode the Department of Natural Resources experts’ recommendation to pursue legal action against the company through the Department of Justice. Incidentally, the owners of Herr Environmental – Richard and Jody Herr – are donors to Scott Gunderson, a top political appointee in the Walker DNR who urged DNR staff to drop enforcement proceedings against the company.(4) The Herrs have also donated to Governor Walker, and $2,250 to Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and husband Rep. Joel Kleefisch(5) who interceded on the behalf of the Herr’s – trying to get the DNR to let up on the known polluter.
Call it “turning a blind eye” or “political cronyism” or “payback for campaign donors” but at the end of the day, it comes down to one fact – Scott Walker’s DNR protects polluters. As a result, 30 families in Jefferson County were put at risk of drinking well water contaminated with human waste.
In Walker’s Wisconsin, polluter profits trump the health of Wisconsinites. We can no longer afford to allow polluters to run roughshod over the health and future of our families.
(1) http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/dnr-appointee-resolved-massive-waste-violation-internally-instead-of- referring/article_07a64834-96e3-11e1-b4c6-0019bb2963f4.html
(3) http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/dnr-appointee-resolved-massive-waste-violation-internally-instead-of- referring/article_07a64834-96e3-11e1-b4c6-0019bb2963f4.html
(4) http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/environment/dnr-appointee-resolved-massive-waste-violation-internally-instead-of- referring/article_07a64834-96e3-11e1-b4c6-0019bb2963f4.html
(5) http://www.wisdc.org/index.php?module=wisdc.websiteforms&cmd=searchadvanced&filter=+Search+&employer=Herr +Environmental