Shankland bills target climate change, DNR staffing

By Sari Lesk, Stevens Point Journal

STEVENS POINT - A local legislator has proposed two new bills targeting environmental causes.

State Rep. Katrina Shankland introduced the two bills this month. One bill deals with climate change, and the other focuses on staffing at the state's Department of Natural Resources.

Shankland's proposed rule would require the the DNR to publish information about human activity's impact on climate change on its website and magazine. The DNR removed references to humans' impact on climate change from its website late last year. The site previously said climate change is the result of human activity; it now says changes in climate are a matter of scientific debate.

Shankland disagrees and wants the DNR's website to reflect what she said in a press release is a "scientific consensus."

"We must do more to protect our natural resources and ensure their sustainability for generations to come," Shankland said in the release. "Climate change is one of the largest threats our planet is facing, and the state should honor its commitment to our environment and the people who enjoy it by taking action on climate change.”

Shankland proposed a second bill that would allocate $1,861,200 to the DNR to restore 18.4 full-time scientist research positions that were cut in a previous state budget, the release states.

"We should be investing in research that prevents environmental harm from occurring in the first place," Shankland said in the release.