Wisconsinites values our natural resources and hunting and fishing traditions. We take pride in our farmland and as the Dairy State, producing the nation’s best cheese and dairy products. We have a state parks and trails system that rivals the best in the nation. We have wonderful farmers markets and strong local food traditions. So in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, our former Governor and US Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, and of our great love and respect for our state’s natural resources, I thought I would take a quick look at the environmental records of two of the candidates running to hold the seat he capably held for two terms in the late 1950’s and early 60’s.
It’s pretty abysmal.
* Introduced a bill to loosen regulations on developing wetlands in flood plains to benefit his business, and that would have exacerbated flood risk, putting potential homeowners in jeopardy. [Business Journal, 11/07/97]
* Paid $30,000 to settle a lawsuit for environmental violations by his company Neumann Enterprises. [Janesville Gazette, 12/07/07]
Opposes taxing businesses for the pollution they emit. [Green Bay Press Gazette, 9/23/09]
* Dreams of an end to government subsidies for green technologies, though remains silent on government subsidies to oil companies. [Green Bay Press Gazette, 9/23/09]
* Supported restricting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to enforce the 1972 Clean Water Act. [National Journal, 9/30/95]
* Proposed an amendment to prevent EPA from adding sites to its Superfund National Priorities List. [Superfund Week, 7/11/97]
Opposed funding for conservation programs for endangered species. [WSJ, 7/10/95]
* Would dismantle the Department of Natural Resources if elected governor. ["Statement from Milwaukee County Executive and Candidate for Governor Scott Walker on the Complaint Against the DNR in Washington County", scottwalker.com, 2006]
* Opposes ethanol mandates. [Walker Weekly 51, 2/16/2006, scottwalker.org, 2006]
* Supports wider freeway expansion despite environmental concerns. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/5/06]
* Opposes legislation for a regional transit system to improve traffic congestion. [ Milwaukee Business Journal, 1/19/2010]
* Supported suing the Environmental Protection Agency over reformulated gas rules. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/28/00]
* Was slow to implement the county’s “Green Print” program and hire a director of sustainability and environmental services after the County Board approved and funded the position in 2008. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/13/08]
* Ran the county parks system into the ground through mismanagement, underfunding, layoffs and downsizing, increased fees and reduced access through closures.
* Walker had eight years and eight budgets to address the problems, yet deferred maintenance costs have soared to over $200 million and the sale of county parkland could be imminent to close the maintenance gap. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/4/2010]
* "Any time you have a gap to make up, parks is one of the first places you look," admits County Executive Scott Walker. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/21/2005]Opposed a 0.5 percent sales tax increase to save the financially strapped and decrepit parks and public transit system. [The Daily Reporter, 6/10/2005]
* Repeatedly tried to privatize management of the county parks system. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/19/2003; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/26/2006; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/27/2008; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/3/2009; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/13/2010]
Compare this to the record of Governor Nelson, a man who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in honor of his environmental work, they fall pretty short indeed.