Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp leaving agency

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp

MADISON — The secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is resigning to take a job with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement Tuesday Cathy Stepp will become deputy administrator for the EPA’s Region 7. Stepp has been DNR secretary since 2011. Walker appointed Deputy Secretary Kurt Thiede to serve as interim secretary effective Aug. 31.

Walker praised Stepp as a strong, trusted reformer. The secretary recently met with strong public pushback when she tried to end publication of the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Stepp said the magazine was taking agency employees away from their core duties at the DNR.

Democrats and environmentalists were concerned the true motivation was to silence a publication that promotes science and writes articles on controversial topics like climate change.

Gov. Walker issued the following statement on Stepp’s departure:

“Cathy is a strong, trusted reformer who will serve the country well at the EPA. As DNR secretary since 2011, she has led an outstanding workforce committed to preserving and promoting our natural resources while placing a strong focus on customer service and common sense. We will miss her optimism and energy at the DNR, and we wish her success in her new role.”