Wisconsin DNR Secretary Leaving Agency

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – 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 sciences and writes articles on controversial topics like climate change.

Stepp was also blasted by critics. 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 her record is the worst of seven DNR secretaries he worked with.

Stepp’s last day is Wednesday.

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