Dear Editor: As a Wisconsin citizen, I would bet that you think the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources works for you and other state citizens. Unfortunately you would be wrong. On everything that the Wisconsin DNR is statutorily required to “manage,” from wildlife to environmental enforcement, they have to answer to and get approval from the seven unelected members of the Natural Resources Board.
Why is this an issue you may ask? It is an issue because the NRB is stacked with political appointees that often make decisions on the very things that put money in their own pockets and those of their ideological allies. One member, the board chair, has the eminent environmental qualification of being a dentist, another a realtor, another a hunting equipment “outfitter,” and founder of a hunting lobbying group, and yet another is the former president of, you guessed it, a big agriculture industry lobbying group.
Even more appalling is that the voice of the average citizen that does not hunt or farm is essentially muted through law because the majority of the political appointees are required to have a hunting license or be part of agriculture. In other words, the voices of the 90% of citizens that aren’t a part of these special interests are brushed off and ignored by the walking and talking conflicts of interest sitting on the board. Don’t believe me? Watch any of the Natural Resources Board hearings on the DNR website and you will see hubris, eye rolling, misinformation, and a total disregard for non-consumptive citizen input from several of these board members on every topic from water pollution to wolves. If you aren’t part of their ideological niche your voice does not matter. 10% lording over and discounting the 90%? How is this democracy or representative government?
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