Clean Water Act Enforcement A Sticking Point At DNR Board Meeting

DNR Secretary Criticizes EPA, Says Federal Regulators Have Inundated Her Agency With Rules


The subject of whether the Wisconsin DNR is adequately protecting the waters of the state flared up again at Wednesday’s Department of Natural Resources Board meeting.

Sixteen citizens and an environmental group have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to force the DNR to take quicker action on deficiencies in state regulation under the Clean Water Act. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said her department has responded to many of the EPA’s 75 concerns, but that the federal agency keeps pouring on the rules.

“The speed at which EPA is sending rules to states to require them to implement is dizzying,” she said.

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But one of the petitioners in the Clean Water case, Lynn Utesch, said the DNR is doing more to help develop very large farms than it is to meet drinking water needs in Kewaunee County.

“We have been forced to go beyond the DNR,” she said. “When our situation in Kewaunee County and northeast Wisconsin is being ignored by the DNR, we are forced to go to the EPA.”

The DNR said it has been meeting with key stakeholders in the county.