Curtis is also a former Ozaukee County Supervisor and previously served as political director and legal counsel to Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville). In a departure from previous practice, the Department of Natural Resources left the agency to hire a new general counsel using counsel from a conservative public interest legal group. A key facet of the job is to “provide decision-makers with objective and unbiased legal advice,” Meyer said. “This person seems to have much more political experience than in conservation law.” This appointment is the first time MNR has hired someone from outside the department to manage legal affairs and is the latest sign of the agency`s increasing politicization. Gov. Scott Walker hired Jake Curtis to lead the legal affairs of an agency that oversees fisheries and wildlife laws, regulates air and water regulations, and deals with other legal issues ranging from public land management to the remediation of polluted industrial sites. As an associate attorney at the center, Curtis has written reports in recent months that say: Vebber is general counsel and director of environmental and energy policy at WMC, Wisconsin`s largest corporate advocacy group. “Governor Walker`s administration has now appointed an anti-environmental fanatic and a gun as chief legal counsel tasked with protecting our clean air, clean water, and open spaces,” Ross said in an email. Meyer, an attorney, said the department`s chief attorney requires an attorney to be well grounded in fish and game laws, tribal relationships and the intricacies of federal and state pollution laws. In 2011, a bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature changed the positions of legal counsel, legislative director, and head of media affairs from public service positions to gubernatorial appointments.

Wisconsin Law & Liberty was funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee. Wisconsin governors have exercised more authority over the DNR since 1995, when Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson signed a bill giving governors the power to appoint the DNR`s secretary. • Supported recent legislation to end the moratorium on metal mining and disagreed with environmentalists` claims that a now-closed copper, gold and silver mine near Ladysmith was a major source of water pollution. Walker said he intends to sign the bill ending the moratorium, which could open the door to copper and other minerals for the first time since 1998. A longtime public servant, Secretary Cole previously served as chief of operations for the Milwaukee Department of Public Works, forester for the City of Milwaukee, superintendent of parks for the city of St. Louis, and resource forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “Jake Curtis is a seasoned attorney who is more than capable of enforcing the law and enforcing Wisconsin`s strict environmental regulations, and we know he will do a great job for the people of Wisconsin in this new role,” Vebber said in an email. Environmental groups said such claims ignore the fact that residents near the monitor breathe unhealthy air. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is suing to force the GOP-appointed chairman of the Department of Natural Resources to resign. Curtis, based in Grafton, previously worked for the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and its Center for Competitive Federalism, and has extensive political experience, including as a Wisconsin adviser to Texas Senator Ted Cruz`s presidential campaign.

• Argued that an air pollution controller in Sheboygan County, which has a history of reporting ozone levels exceeding federal limits, was poorly located near Lake Michigan and was capturing air pollutants floating along the coast, including Illinois and Indiana. Air violations have imposed stricter pollution limits, which Curtis says could unfairly punish the county`s manufacturing base and lead to controls “that essentially neutralize economic growth.” “We look forward to continuing to work with DNR professionals to ensure compliance with all regulations while growing our state`s economy,” Vebber said. Kaul filed a lawsuit Tuesday night in Dane County Circuit Court, asking a judge to order Prehn to resign. The attorney general argues that the governor can at any time legally remove individuals lawfully appointed by the council, even if they hold a position requiring Senate confirmation. RELATED: Wisconsin, under Scott Walker, no longer leads in conservation Curtis` nomination is being questioned by a former DNR secretary, as well as a liberal group that is often critical of Walker`s policies. In 2019, Secretary Cole was inducted into the Milwaukee Business Journal Hall of Fame and was recently named one of Wisconsin`s “51 Most Influential Black Leaders” by Madison365. The governor`s control over the agency developed under Thompson and later under Jim Doyle, a Democrat, and has since increased under Walker. Meyer served as secretary under Republican administrations from 1993 to 2001 and oversaw the DNR`s law enforcement unit for 10 years. Sarah Barry has over 20 years of experience solving the complex challenges inherent in public sector organizations.

She has also spent the last 15 years as Chief of Staff to several State Senators, most recently Senator Brad Pfaff, leading and leading numerous environmental and regulatory issues. Sarah has also served as Director of Government Affairs for Clean Wisconsin and Executive Director of Customers First Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to responsible energy policy. Former DNR Secretary George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, called Curtis` appointment “very troubling.” RELATED: Hacked Recordings Show Bradley Foundation Takes Its Conservative Model from Wisconsin Former Gov. Scott Walker appointed Fred Prehn to the board in 2015. His term ended on May 1. Earlier in her career, Sarah worked as an analyst with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and for several years as a health care payer for the government. Sarah holds a master`s degree from the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In their spare time, Sarah and her husband enjoy spending time hiking in the driftless Wisconsin region. Steven holds a master`s degree from the Robert M La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor`s degree in public administration from Beloit College.

Steven and his family enjoy hiking and whitewater rafting in the great outdoors of Wisconsin. Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, was also critical. Minister Cole is the first African-American forester to graduate from the University of Missouri after its reorganization in the 1970s. Secretary Cole credits his involvement with his local Future Farmers of America during high school for sparking a lifelong interest in forestry. Neither Curtis nor Williams responded to interview requests. Prior to becoming secretary of the DNR, Secretary Cole was commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services, where he led the division dedicated to protecting the value of neighborhood and commercial investments, supporting community goals of building safe and healthy neighborhoods, and increasing investment and economic vitality throughout the city. Lucas Vebber of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce also welcomed the nomination. When it was established in the summer of 2016, representatives pointed out that the Center for Competitive Federalism plans to use the courts and write reports on what the organization considers excessive federal authority over states.