Political News

The Latest: Stepp defends record as DNR secretary

Posted August 29

— The Latest on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp's resignation (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Resigning state Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp says she looks forward to bringing ideas implemented in Wisconsin "to the national stage."

Stepp is leaving to be a deputy administrator for the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency's Region 7 office. It oversees Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and nine tribal nations, but not Wisconsin.

Stepp has faced criticism from environmentalists and others for the way she has run the DNR. They say Stepp has put natural resources at risk by emphasizing economic development.

But Stepp says in a statement Tuesday that "We've demonstrated how we can have job creation and environmental protection."

Stepp has been secretary since 2011 when Gov. Scott Walker took office and appointed her.

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10:55 a.m.

A former Department of Natural Resources secretary says the agency's outgoing leader Cathy Stepp will be remembered for "dismantling significant portions of environmental protections in the state of Wisconsin."

Gov. Scott Walker announced Tuesday that Stepp was resigning to be the regional head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency based in Kansas City. Her last day is Wednesday.

Former DNR Secretary George Meyer says Stepp's move to the EPA overseeing Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and nine tribal nations worries him. He says Stepp's record is the worst of seven DNR secretaries he worked with.

Walker says in a statement that Stepp is a "strong, trusted reformer, who will serve the country well at the EPA." He lauds her for "placing a strong focus on customer service and common sense."

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9:46 a.m.

The secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is resigning to take a job with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement Tuesday Cathy Stepp will become deputy administrator for the EPA's Region 7. Stepp has been DNR secretary since 2011. Walker appointed Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede to serve as interim secretary effective Aug. 31.

Walker praised Stepp as a strong, trusted reformer. The secretary recently met with strong public pushback when she tried to end publication of the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Stepp said the magazine was taking agency employees away from their core duties at the DNR.

Democrats and environmentalists were concerned the true motivation was to silence a publication that promotes science and writes articles on controversial topics like climate change.

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