Wisconsin’s environment agency is in dire straits.
The state’s largest water agency has just been hit with a record $2 billion in federal funding that would go toward the state’s clean-up efforts, but its officials don’t seem to know what to do with the extra cash.
The agency’s $2.8 billion budget is the smallest in the nation.
And it’s the lowest of any of Wisconsin’s six agencies, which include the Department of Natural Resources, the Department and Control for Oil and Gas, the State Department of Agriculture, and the Department for Natural Resources.
The money was slated to be used to repair the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the state agency that monitors chemical spills and releases.
But the agency’s head, Richard Schulze, said that it had been cut to “a fraction of what it was” and would not be able to make it up.
“It’s just so hard,” Schulz told WISN 12 News in a phone interview.
“I’ve worked for this agency for 30 years, and we’ve got this huge budget.
And we’re not even sure how to spend it.”
Schulzes predecessor, Scott Walker, used $6 billion in additional funding to repair ATSDR.
The funding was supposed to go toward fixing the Agency’s infrastructure, but Schulzed said that the agency had not had the time to do that.
And while it’s hard to see the money going to the agency at this point, it is critical that the state get its act together, he said.
“We’re going to need to do some things, some things we’re going get through Congress, and then we’re just going to have to find ways to get this done,” he said, adding that the agencies budget needs to be adjusted as a result of the federal funding.
The Environmental Protection Agency is the state government’s most important environmental watchdog.
The EPA is charged with overseeing clean-ups, enforcing environmental laws, and protecting public health and the environment.
The Office of Management and Budget has said that federal money will be spent in order to protect the state from the effects of climate change, and there is also talk of funding more funding for the agency to clean up its toxic waste site at the Wisconsin River, which was damaged by a toxic waste spill from a truck carrying natural gas in the 1990s.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services, the state spends about $4.2 billion annually on its air, water, and soil resources.
The budget for the EPA’s health department alone has reached $7.8 million.
And Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in October.
Governor Scott Walker’s administration says that it will work to find a way to use the federal money to address the agency, but so far, nothing has been announced.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Governor’s office is trying to convince state legislators that the money should go to other agencies that are not directly involved with the clean-water agency.
The Governor’s Office says that if there’s a new law that would fund the state more, the agency would be able spend the money on the environment “instead of doing something that will jeopardize the health of our citizens and taxpayers.””
If the money is spent to help clean up the Wisconsin environment, then we should be spending that money to help the health and well-being of people here.”
The Governor’s Office says that if there’s a new law that would fund the state more, the agency would be able spend the money on the environment “instead of doing something that will jeopardize the health of our citizens and taxpayers.”