DNR Board members say plan to make them advisory is ‘mistake’

Wisconsin county divided over waterfront development plan

Members of the state Department of Natural Resources board are calling Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to strip the panel of its policymaking authority a mistake.

The move would place the DNR under complete control of its secretary, a gubernatorial appointee.

Board member Jane Wiley, who was appointed by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, says the proposal has left her speechless. She says the move would be an incredible mistake. She also questioned whether the move would neuter the Conservation Congress, a group of sportsmen who advise the board on policy.

Board member Christine Thomas, another Doyle appointee, says making the board advisory would eliminate opportunities for the public to participate in a transparent policymaking process.

A DNR spokesman says Secretary Cathy Stepp would still value the board’s opinions.