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Governor Roadkill Celebrates Earth Day By Firing 57 Environmental Employees

Scott Walker really, really doesn't like Earth Day
Governor Roadkill Celebrates Earth Day By Firing 57 Environmental Employees

Leading up to today, Earth Day, Scott Walker and his cronies already tried to deny climate change by denying staff - including the daughter of Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day - from even using the words "climate change."

Yesterday, Walker thought he'd honor Mother Earth by leaving carrion all over the countryside:

Spot a dead deer on the side of the road? Gov. Scott Walker doesn't want the state Department of Natural Resources paying to clean it up.

Walker's budget would delete $700,000 in funding a year for DNR to pay for disposal of deer carcasses along Wisconsin's roadways.

Instead, responsibility for paying to cart off the dead deer would fall to whatever other government agency is in charge of the road. Or they may be left uncollected.

"Dead and decaying deer on the roadside are unsightly and can dampen Wisconsin's reputation as a tourist destination," the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau cautioned members of the Legislature's budget committee in a memo describing the proposal.

That warning appears to be winning over Rep. John Nygren, the Republican co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. Nygren said Tuesday he's inclined to make sure the state still pays for deer removal.

"Wisconsin is a tourism state, especially as you get up north, and I think it does send the wrong message to have these decaying, disgusting deer along the side of the road," Nygren said.

But Walker wasn't done yet. With all things Walker, there's more. There's always more.

On Earth Day itself, Walker celebrated by giving out nearly 60 lay off notices to staff at the Department of Natural Resources, most of whom are part of the Bureau of Science Services:

Fifty-seven employees of the state Department of Natural Resources began receiving formal notices this week that they might face layoff as part of Gov. Scott Walker's budget for the next two fiscal years.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said that of that number, 27 employees are in the Bureau of Science Services, a unit of the DNR where Walker is proposing significant cuts.


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The bureau performs significant research duties for the DNR, and the cuts have come under fire from wildlife and environmental groups who say research is the underpinning of many agency activities. Other positions that could be cut are education and communications personnel.

DNR officials have said in recent weeks that it's premature to say what cuts will actually occur, and how science and research will be handled at the DNR in future years. Cosh has said that science is carried out across the DNR, and not just in the Bureau of Science Services.

The DNR's scientific staff conducts research on matters ranging from estimating the size of the state's deer herd to to studying the effects of aquatic invasive species. Work is paid for with state and federal funds.

If this is the way that Walker celebrates Earth Day, I'm getting nervous about Mothers Day coming up in a few weeks.

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