A former director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is slamming the proposal to eliminate the agency’s magazine.
Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine would cease publication in February 2018 after nearly 100 years as part of the governor’s 2017-2019 budget.
The magazine would be eliminated to make the DNR "more effective and efficient," Tom Evenson, a spokesman for Walker, said in a statement.
In a written statement, Evenson said "the magazine is not a part of the DNR’s core mission," an assertion that is being questioned by former DNR Director George Meyer.
"Anyone that says communication and education is not a core value of a natural resource agency doesn't get it," Meyer said.
Meyer said the magazine plays an important role in helping the public understand the agency’s policies.
He also said the proposed cancelation fits a pattern of suppressing information about the effects of climate change, including changing references to it on the DNR website.
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"That's beyond doubt," Meyer said. "Wisconsin's DNR is the only natural resource or environmental agency in our area that has taken their materials off."
In a statement, Evenson called that "a ridiculous claim."
Evenson said by halting publication the state will save $136,000 in the next fiscal year, and another $545,000 in fiscal year 2019. The savings, he said, would be passed on to conservation patron license holders through a reduction of $8.95 per license.
But Meyer said the cancelation of Wisconsin Natural Resources should not save any money.
"This does not save the state of Wisconsin a penny," Meyer said. "The magazine has always been totally subscription paid for. No tax dollars or hunting or fishing license fees, or anything like that, pays for it and that includes the staff."
Meyer led the DNR from 1993 to 2001. He is now the executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.