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Walker Considering Adding Staff To DNR After Negative Audit

Faster Permitting And Records Review Good For Environment And Business, Walker Says

Josh Haroldson (BY-NC-ND)

Gov. Scott Walker said his administration will do what it takes to make sure farms are properly vetted by the Department of Natural Resources after an audit found staff weren’t reviewing records for industrial dairy farms.

DNR staff didn’t have time to do all of the mandated reviews of records on the handling of millions of gallons of manure from concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs, according to a recent audit of the DNR.

After speaking to a crowd at a Dunn County dairy farm with 2,000 cows, Walker said his office is considering a number of fixes from increased DNR staffing to enlisting other state agencies, like the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, to review records.

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“It’s not only good for environmental standards, but we also want to make sure we’re not only keeping things clean and fresh and abiding by the rules and laws there, but also that they’re done in a timely fashion,” Walker said.

A faster turnaround is good for the environment and business, Walker said.

“You listen to some of the operations and they’d tell you they’re ready and prepared to meet all the permitting requirements, but they want to make sure it’s done on a timely basis so they can get back to what they’re doing, which is milking cows,” Walker said.

The audit found DNR staff only sent notices for 33 of the 558 instances they should have over the past decade.