MADISON, Wis. — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp has recused herself from a Wisconsin compliance review.

Midwest Environmental Advocates and 16 individuals petitioned the EPA in 2015 to review Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ compliance with the Clean Water Act. The EPA in 2011 cited 75 deficiencies in DNR water regulation.

Stepp served as DNR secretary from 2011 through August 2017.

EPA spokeswoman Allison Lippert said in emails that Step consulted with an EPA ethics attorney and recused herself about two weeks ago.

Word of the recusal came after MEA sent Stepp a letter Thursday questioning her impartiality and demanding she step away from the review. Lippert said Stepp decided to recuse herself before MEA made its demand and the decision wasn’t influenced by “prodding and petitions.”