Promoting Science-Based Management of Wisconsin's Natural Resources

Retired, active scientists form Wisconsin’s Green Fire responding to ‘threat’ to science from state government

Ben Meyer/WJFW, April 21, 2017

Two years ago, Gov. Scott Walker moved to cut 18 positions from the DNR’s scientific research staff.

Last December, the DNR removed language about human causes of climate change from its website.

A state group, which will launch Saturday, calls moves like those a “threat” to science.

Former DNR employee Bob Martini, who lives in Rhinelander, is on the board of Wisconsin Green Fire. The former water resources scientist said DNR employees are under a gag order.

“I’ve never seen such a group of demoralized people,” Martini said. “They feel that they can’t use their scientific expertise to do what they were hired to do.”

Green Fire is a group of about 70 retired and active scientists from organizations including the DNR and the UW System. Martini said Green Fire experts will make themselves available to the Legislature, local officials, and the media.

“We hope to try to fill the gap that was created when the DNR scientists could no longer speak,” he said. “They can’t even talk to the press, even if they’re a world expert on a subject.”

Martini says the group includes experts in almost every natural resources field.

“Many of our members already have a presence in the state government, local government, [and] the press. Many of them are already recognized as experts,” he said.

Green Fire intentionally planned its launch for Saturday, which is Earth Day.

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