DNR Board Approves New Project Review Rules

Environmental Groups Speak Out Against New Policies


The Department of Natural Resources Board has approved new rules for when the agency looks at proposed projects, a move that’s left some environmental groups concerned.

Under Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, the DNR has been working for years on revising its review procedures mandated under the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act. Attorney Elizabeth Wheeler of Clean Wisconsin told the board Wednesday that the permanent rule before it wouldn’t allow for environmental impact statements of various key projects. For example, said Wheeler, We Energies plans to double the coal pile outside the company’s Oak Creek power plant.

“If the project had an EIS, impacts to the 18 acres of wooden migratory bird and bat habitat would have been revealed and discussed,” said Wheeler.

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After some discussion, the DNR board passed the permanent rule, but did agree to add a clarifying letter aimed at calming concerns from La Crosse about reviews of large-scale animal farms.