December 8, 2022

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Creating Possibilities

Pure Means Board member asks Fred Prehn to rethink his refusal to stage down

A member of the Pure Resources Board called on previous chair Fred Prehn to rethink his refusal to phase down from the plan-generating system for the Wisconsin Division of Purely natural Means. 

The ask for follows a report Tuesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about texts that exhibit Prehn made a decision to keep on being on the board to preserve its conservative the vast majority.

Prehn was appointed to the board by previous Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2015. His six-12 months phrase expired in May possibly of past 12 months. Even so, the Wausau dentist and businessman has refused calls to resign and make way for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointee Sandy Naas.

Board member and Evers’ appointee Marcy West reported Prehn’s final decision has had a ripple effect on the board.

“I absolutely sure hope you will reconsider and identify the influence that this has on all of us. There have only been 60 persons that have experienced the chance to serve on this board, and you are blocking a quite skilled applicant,” reported West. “The politics that have been brought into this, yet again, it really is just alarming. And it is tricky to offer with every single part of this board because of it.”

Prehn was ready to answer. Nonetheless, board member Terry Hilgenberg interjected, expressing the concern shouldn’t be mentioned since it wasn’t board small business.

“Never believe every thing you browse, Marcy,” Prehn said afterwards.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on a January text information that unveiled Prehn’s motivations for remaining in his seat. Prehn served as chair of the board for the very last three many years, stepping down in January.

“I am stepping down since my term has finished as chairman. I are unable to operate additional than a few yrs in a row. But continue to keep on being as board member and I will effectively guarantee a conservative gets to have the chairmanship,” Prehn wrote in a textual content.

The newspaper reported other messages have proven Prehn sought tips from conservative lobbyists, state senators, Walker and previous Republican gubernatorial applicant Rebecca Kleefisch. The information had been received by a look for of his mobile mobile phone and electronic products as portion of an open up information situation filed by Midwest Environmental Advocates. The team sued in October to compel Prehn to transform above additional information soon after finding he improperly withheld texts in response to a information ask for.

The board’s present chair and Walker appointee Greg Kazmierski stated he most popular West not point out the matter all through a portion of the meeting wherever members can raise challenges to the board.

“It is not pertinent to the duties of this board,” Kazmierksi reported.

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West disagreed, to which Kazmierksi replied, “Very well, the Supreme Courtroom failed to.”

Previous year, Lawyer Standard Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit in August that sought to take away Prehn from the board, which was dismissed by a Dane County decide. Kaul appealed the scenario to the Wisconsin Supreme Court docket. The court’s conservative majority ruled in June that Prehn can stay on the board indefinitely.

The state’s superior court observed a vacancy on the board is only designed when a man or woman dies, resigns or is eradicated for trigger.

Prehn’s decision to keep assures conservatives will carry on to hold a 4-3 the greater part on the board that decides environmental guidelines, which include standards lately enacted for PFAS in ingesting and surface waters.

In February, the board deadlocked in a 3-3 vote on groundwater specifications for the chemical compounds with a single board member abstaining. As a consequence, the board unsuccessful to move limits that would safeguard all over 1-third of state inhabitants who count on private wells that draw from groundwater.

The Republican-controlled Senate has refused or delayed affirmation of Evers’ appointees, which include Naas. As of September 2022, knowledge attained from Wisconsin’s nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau shows at the very least 150 Evers appointees have nonetheless to be verified. In January, Senate The greater part Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, instructed WisPolitics that the Senate would not choose up remaining Evers appointments.