DNR starts YouTube channel
The Department of Natural Resources plans to post video stories about Wisconsin's wildlife on a new YouTube channel.
The videos will also be about outdoor recreation, natural resources and DNR staff, organizations and other subjects.
On the other hand, cuts in staff has led to environmental carcinogens to go undetected and our ideal landscape to suffer egregious harm.
Northern Wisconsin sand mining boom includes new jobs, new problems
A controversial natural gas mining technique called "fracking" is creating a boom in Wisconsin sand mines with more than 20 new mines proposed, including some as large as 500 acres or more.
While the mines bring jobs, they also bring dust, traffic and other problems that the state Department of Natural Resources and local governments aren't prepared to deal with, residents and government officials said at a recent conference on "frac sands."
"The state is woefully unprepared for this," said state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma. "We're regulating sand mines like we regulate gravel pits. There is a big difference between a one-acre gravel pit and a 900-acre sand mine."
The state Department of Natural Resources has been caught somewhat off guard by the swarm of sand mining companies looking to build new mines and processing plants or expand existing operations. For example, while the agency can regulate silica dust particles — which have been linked in studies to cancer in occupational settings — it is severely hampered in its oversight of dust at mine sites by a dramatically downsized staff, according to William Baumann, who is in charge of air standard compliance at the DNR.
"We have not very frequently been inspecting these sources," Baumann said. He said the agency has the equivalent of two full-time positions statewide to deal with permitting and inspection of silica sand mines.