Wisconsin Governor Walker, Allies Targeting EPA Plan To Cut Carbon Dioxide Emissions

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TrendsGlobalEmissions

According to a report that aired last Thursday of Wisconsin Public Radio, the Walker administration is spelling out its case against a federal proposal to cut air pollution from coal-burning power plants, and reduce the impact of climate change.

The Obama administration’s nationwide crackdown on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants could force Wisconsin to reduce its pollutants by about one-third by the year 2030.

Susan Hedman, EPA Midwest region administrator, told a WisPolitics.com forum that the climate change plan is being debated as the planet is warming.

Hedman said the proposal, known as the “Clean Power Plan”, would have many other benefits too, such as sparking efforts to boost energy efficiency, help create jobs in renewable energy, and cut other pollutants that can lead to lung ailments.

Walker is already talking about having state Attorney General Brad Schimel file a lawsuit against the EPA, even though a final regulation won’t be issued until mid-summer.

Ellen Nowak, Public Service Commission member and incoming chair, is a Walker appointee and has zeroed in on Wisconsin’s carbon-cutting goal of 34 percent. Walker has now appointed all 3 commissioners Wisconsin Public Service Commission. “Why are we being forced to reach that goal, she asked (rhetorically)? Is the methodology the EPA came up with to reach that goal flawed?” “I think that answer is yes.”

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is supposedly an independent state agency charged with regulating over 1,100 Wisconsin public utilities that provide electric, natural gas, combined water and sewer service to Wisconsin households. Its mission is to ensure that safe, sufficient, and reasonably priced utility services are provided to all of Wisconsin’s customers.

Wisconsin utilities must obtain PSC approval before instituting new rates, issuing stocks or bonds, or undertaking major construction projects such as power plants, water wells and transmission lines. Recent PSC decisions approving 3 major fossil fuel burning utility companies’ rate restructure proposals, which effectively disincentivize household energy conservation and discourage installation of green energy investments (solar panels, others), despite the verbal and written objections of thousands of Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison customers who had attended PSC public hearings last fall.

Keith Reopelle, of the environmental group Clean Wisconsin, said the Clean Power Plan isn’t perfect, but delaying action on climate change would be expensive.

“There’s a huge cost to some of our most important and iconic industries in the state, to the agricultural industry, to the tourism industry,” Reopelle said. “There will be very large, quantifiable costs from climate change and an enormous cost to public health.”

Reopelle also said changes to power plants would only grow more costly, the longer Wisconsin would wait to reduce carbon emissions.

Hedman said some Wisconsin firms could do very well under the proposal.

“Companies that do energy efficiency work, performance contracting like Johnson Controls. If you look at companies like Quad Graphics that are leaders in combined heat and power projects,” Hedman said.

EPA officials said they’ve received more than 4 million comments on the climate change plan.transmission line

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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