Scott Walker marks Earth Day with layoff notices to dozens of environmental agency employees
Thanks to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) budget cuts, at least 57 employees in Wisconsin’s environmental agency were notified just in time for Wednesday’s Earth Day that they would probably be out of a job.
The Journal Sentinel reported on Wednesday that Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees began receiving notices this week that their jobs could be cut as part of Walker’s fiscal plan for the next two years.
According to DNR spokesperson Bill Cosh, 27 of the layoff notices were delivered to employees in the Bureau of Science Services, where Walker has planned deep spending cuts that have been criticized by environmental groups.
Amber Meyer Smith, director of programs and government relations for Clean Wisconsin, told the Journal Sentinel that the cuts were a “terrible idea.”
“Any real natural resources protection is based on sound science. The more science you remove from the process, the more politics you add,” she explained.
In all, DNR was expected to lose 66 positions, but some of those were already vacant.
The Joint Finance Committee was expected to address DNR funding on Wednesday. One employee who received a layoff notice reportedly emailed other employees and asked that they “do what I dare not” and lobby lawmakers against the budget cuts.
“Never mind that I, like most others targeted, are federally funded or funded from (a segregated account) and not general purpose revenue,” the employee wrote. “Thus, this measure will have no effect on the state budget.”
(h/t: Mother Jones)