• CLEAN AIR • CLEAN ENERGY
Summer 2010 • Vol. 40, No. 3
Piecing together a cleaner Wisconsin
continuing at a tireless pace
Clean Wisconsin 122 State Street, Suite 200 Madison, WI 53703-2500
Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1291 Madison, WI
Taking Charge and Taking Action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Enviro-SCRAMBLE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Clean Wisconsin Legislative Agenda. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Gambling with the Earth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Dirty Air Act Fails. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Coal Ash. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Cleaner Waters Ahead. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Summer Interns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Profile of Legislative Leadership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Midwest Energy News. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Farewell to Environmental Champs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 And the Envelope Please. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 In Memoriam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
As State Legislature Pauses, O u r W o r k D oes N o t By Mark Redsten, Executive Director
Much of Clean Wisconsin's most visible work takes place in the halls of the Capitol encouraging elected officials to pass strong policies that protect the places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. It is important to note that even though the work of the Legislature will not resume until January 2011, Clean Wisconsin's work protecting the state's clean air and water continues at a tireless pace. As legislators break to campaign for upcoming elections, Clean Wisconsin staff and members remain hard at work ensuring that existing laws are properly implemented and enforced, retaining the momentum of past victories, and working toward our next ones. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5
Here’s a glimpse of what we’re working on:
Global Energy Warming program • Meeting with business leaders, • Continuing our work to retire
WATER program • Ushering the phosphorus rules
agricultural groups, utilities, labor through the DNR and on to the unneeded, polluting coal plants. leaders, heads of state agencies and Legislature for approval. This We are participating in the Public others to reassess the Clean Energy set of rules will address algaeService Commission’s investigation Jobs Act campaign, doubling our causing phosphorus pollution of which old coal plants are good organizing efforts, and make sure we from the biggest polluters. Along candidates for retirement, using are better organized and prepared to with partners, Clean Wisconsin experts to analyze information and adopt climate policies in 2011. has played a major role in drafting make recommendations. • Meeting with and educating • Educating the public about the language to make these rules strong stakeholders on the impacts of global and cost-effective and in moving dangers of coal waste’s heavy metals warming on Wisconsin’s resources them forward this year. and other toxics leaching into our and the cost of those impacts to groundwater continues as the EPA • M o n i t o r i n g t h e re - d r a f t i n g citizens: flooding and crop loss in the and resubmittal of Waukesha’s considers how to regulate toxic coal Southwest; record low water table levels application for Lake Michigan water ash disposal.We will recommend in the Northcentral; polluted runoff under the Great Lakes Compact. that EPA regulate coal ash as a and nutrient loading in Green Bay; and hazardous waste (see story, page • Advising the DNR on rules for how air quality and wastewater overflows in the Great Lakes Compact will work 5), because it contains arsenic, the Southeast. in Wisconsin. chromium, mercury, and other • Working with Wisconsin Initiative chemicals that can harm human • Working with state and local on Climate Change Impacts and government officials to educate health. world-class climate researchers at UW- • Staying involved in the PSC them on the impor t ance of Madison. conserving water to conserve energy, proceedings to decide goals and • Campaigning for adoption of and helping them implement water funding levels for the state’s energy greenhouse gas regulations. conservation measures. efficiency programs, and advocating • Working with neighboring states to seek fo r a g g r e s s i v e i nv e s t m e n t s • Educating st akeholders, the implementation of the regional cap and public, and media about our most in efficiency, which will save trade program recommendations that important water pollutants and Wisconsin residents money by Clean Wisconsin helped formulate. how to address them. reducing the need for expensive, • Connecting with the Northeast • Researching new toxins entering dirty power plants. —Katie Nekola Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative our waters, such as pharmaceuticals and Western Climate Initiative to and hormones, to assess how explore how our regions can link widespread they are and the impacts greenhouse gas regulatory programs they have on environmental and unless or until Congress acts to regulate public health. —Melissa Malott carbon. —Keith Reopelle
Taking Charge &
Actions you can take for clean water, clean air and clean energy
122 State Street, Suite 200 • Madison WI 53703-4333 Phone: 608-251-7020 • Fax: 608-251-1655 www.CleanWisconsin.org
Give us your e-mail address
Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officals and polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play.
Clean Wisconsin is your environmental voice, but we need you to be involved! While we certainly need your financial support, we also need you to support our work with your actions! The quickest, most affordable way for us to contact you when we need your help is via e-mail. Please e-mail bbains@ cleanwisconsin.org with your e-mail address and join our Action Network. Be part of our winning team!
Fill out our survey! Fill out the enclosed survey and return it to us in the envelope provided. It’ll take less than two minutes, we promise!
STAFF Executive Director Mark Redsten
Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act
Associate Director Brian Kelly
Please contact your federal legislators to co-sponsor the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act. This important bipartisan legislation: • permanently establishes the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (the financial investment in Great Lakes Restoration); • increases coordination between federal agencies by establishing the federal Great Lakes Interagency Task Force and between federal agencies and non-federal stakeholders through a new multi-stakeholder management board; and • reauthorize both the Great Lakes Legacy Act and Great Lakes National Program Office to ensure EPA has the administration to support its expanded responsibility to coordinate Great Lakes restoration efforts.
Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle Program Director Amber Meyer Smith Energy Program Director Katie Nekola Water Program Director Melissa Malott Staff Scientist Peter Taglia Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver
Use GoodSearch to help Clean Wisconsin
Water Resources Specialist Ezra Meyer
With a few simple clicks, you can help Clean Wisconsin by using GoodSearch. GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine (like Google), and because it’s powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates comes from its advertisers; the users and the organizations do not spend a dime! This comes to about one cent for every search.
Media Specialists Sam Weis Amanda Wegner Clean Energy Jobs Coordinator Sarah Shanahan
Simply go to www.goodsearch.com, then set Clean Wisconsin as your selected organization by typing in our name under “Who Do you Search For?” and click “verify.” Then set GoodSearch as your home page to help Clean Wisconsin any time you do an Internet search!
Clean Energy Specialist Katy Walter
Like to shop? Now your purchases can help Clean Wisconsin, too. Download the GoodSearch toolbar at www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/clean-wisconsin. With this toolbar, GoodSearch will make a donation to Clean Wisconsin each time you shop online at prominent national retail sites, including Amazon and eBay.
RE-AMP Coordinator Elizabeth Wheeler RE-AMP Program Assistant Katie Den Boer Membership & Development Manager Becky Bains
by Clean Wisconsin staff
Unscramble each of the six scrambled words below, filling each space with one letter. Then unscramble the enclosed letters to answer the riddle below.
BORDECK LOSIAC HERTRIB MENDAD TARUNE
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
The mass transit advocate who especially loved monorails was often accused of having a “__ __ __ - __ __ __ __ __” __ __ __ __. CLUES: bedrock, social, rebirth, demand, nature
ANSWER: “one-track” mind.
The Defender is owned and published quarterly by Clean Wisconsin, 122 State Street, Suite 200, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, 608-251-7020. Founded in 1970, Clean Wisconsin is a statewide, nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. A one-year subscription membership is $30. Please direct correspondence to the address above. Volume 40, No. 3 Issue date: July 2010 ©2010 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved. Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper. ISSN # 1549-8107
Development Assistant Jenny Lynes Chief Financial Officer Roger Sneath Accounting Manager Mary Coughlan Office Administrator David Vitse
BOARD Carl Sinderbrand – Chair (Madison) Margi Kindig – Vice Chair (Madison) Gof Thomson – Treasurer (New Glarus) Gary Goyke – Secretary (Madison) Sue Durst (Verona) Shari Eggleson (Washburn) Paul Linzmeyer (Green Bay) Lucia Petrie (Milwaukee) David Wandel (Madison) Luke Fairborn (Whitefish Bay) Scott Froehlke (Montello) Chuck McGinnis (Middleton) Kate Gordon – Board Emeritus (Washington, D.C.)
2 The Defender, Summer 2010, Vol. 40, No. 3
Legislative ReCap 2009-’10 Legislative Session The 2009-’10 legislative session ended in April with mixed results for the environment. While some important legislation did get enacted into law, our biggest priorities were not acted on at the end of session. Clean Energy Jobs Act In probably the biggest disappointment of the legislative session, the Legislature
killed the Clean Energy Jobs Act, on Earth Day no less. With Senator Plale (D-South Milwaukee) and Majority Leader Decker (D-Weston) refusing to have a vote in the Senate, the effort died. With all the work that so many of our members, our staff and allies put into this effort, it was heartbreaking to see the session end on such a low note. We will continue to work throughout the summer and autumn to keep the momentum behind clean energy policies strong. We will continue to build a broad-based coalition of environmentalists, labor unions, farmers and businesses willing to stand up for clean energy. We will also continue our strong commitment to retire dirty, unnecessary coal plants, help communities become more energy efficient, and ensure that renewable energy is treated on a level playing field with dirty fossil fuels.
Groundwater Protection Bill Although there was broad-based support for this legislation, it
was introduced too late in the legislative session for meaningful debate and did not receive a vote. While it was disappointing not to see this important legislation enacted, the hard work has certainly laid the groundwork for action on a groundwater protection bill in the next legislative session. During the summer, discussions will continue on ways to improve the legislation to secure its passage when the legislature returns in January 2011.
Victories Success! Success! Success! Success! Success! Success!
While the Clean Energy Jobs Act and the Groundwater Protection bill met with disappointing ends, there were still several Clean Wisconsin-supported environmental victories to celebrate in the past legislative session. They include: Act 9, limiting the amount of phosphorus in lawn fertilizer Act 40, promoting the use of wind as a renewable energy resource for Wisconsin Act 44, limiting the sale of products that contain mercury Act 50, increasing recycling options for electronic waste Act 63, limiting the amount of phosphorus in automatic dishwashing detergent Act 145, BPA Free Kids Act, banning the use of BPA in plastics for children under 5 Act 272, “PACE,” allowing communities to offer Property Assessed Clean Energy financing to businesses, allowing access to needed capital for efficiency upgrades Act 332, “Green to Gold,” creating a revolving loan fund that will enable Wisconsin’s industries to lower their energy costs and enhance the production of green products Act 401, sets a goal for Wisconsin’s use of transportation fuels from renewable sources Act 368, increases fines for littering (large items) Act 28, Biennial Budget Bill • Increased water quality permit fees for large farm operations • Increased garbage “tipping fees” to stem the tide of out-of-state waste filling up our landfills • Implemented the Great Lakes Compact • Enacted ballast water discharge permit and fees • Funding to help make Wisconsin schools more energy efficient
What’s next? Even though the legislature is out of session until January, Clean Wisconsin continues its role as a leading advocacy organization. Not only are we continuing our work to build support for important legislative priorities, we will be advocating within other levels of government as well. • Rules to limit phosphorus from agricultural fields and wastewater treatment plants • Encouraging the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to prioritize the retirement of old, outdated and inefficient coal plants • Working to promote water conservation through proceedings at the PSC • Changing the livestock facility siting rule that governs the placement of large agricultural operations in our state • Rules to implement the wind siting law Clean Wisconsin
Calculated Risks or Blind Faith?
Gambling With thE
Earth By Katie Nekola, Energy Program Director
The first solid evidence of what caused the disastrous Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill — a series of equipment failures — makes obvious a central point about America's oil industry: key safety features at thousands of U.S. offshore rigs are barely regulated. The reality is that some key safety components are left almost entirely to the judgment of the companies themselves, a fact that has recently come to the attention of an outraged public. Enormous amounts of oil from the ruptured well continue to flow as of July 2010. Industry experts warn that the out-of-control well will spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next two years or more if all attempts to contain or plug the gusher fail. A number of attempts to staunch the flow were either unsuccessful or have had limited success, and relief wells that could stop the flow are unlikely to be completed for some time. The spill threatens fisheries, tourism and the habitat of hundreds of bird species. The oil spill will cause massive damage to the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf Coast and waters. We have all seen the heartbreaking photos of oil-smothered birds and wildlife and wondered how this could have happened. Representatives from Anadarko Petroleum, which owns a quarter of the ruined Deepwater Horizon well, said in a statement that BP's actions probably amounted to "gross negligence or willful misconduct." BP's chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said the oil rig explosion was a "tragic one" which "should never have happened." Not the first time In 1920, Hooker Chemical had turned an area in Niagara Falls into a municipal and chemical disposal site. In 1953, the site was filled and relatively modern (at the time) methods were applied to cover it: a thick layer of impermeable red clay sealed the dump, preventing chemicals from leaking out of the landfill. A city near the dumpsite wanted to buy it for urban expansion. Hooker warned them, but the city dug a sewer, damaging the red clay cap that covered the dumpsite below. Blocks of homes and a school were built, and the neighborhood was named Love Canal. This new neighborhood was like many others, except for the strange odors and an unusual seepage into residents’ basements and yards. Residents were assured there was nothing to worry about, but a local woman noticed and documented the high occurrence of illness and birth defects in the area. When the chemical waste dump under Love Canal was researched, over 130 pounds of a highly carcinogenic form of dioxin was discovered. The total 20,000 tons of waste in the landfill contained more than 248 different types of chemicals. The chemicals had entered homes, sewers, yards and creeks, and more than 900 families had to be moved away from the location. Eventually, President Carter provided funds to move all families to a safer area. No chemicals have been removed from the dumpsite. It has been resealed, and the surrounding area cleaned and declared safe. Hooker’s parent company paid an additional $230 million to finance this cleanup and are now responsible for the management of the dumpsite. Today, Love Canal is a symbol of how an unsuspecting public can fall victim to major environmental and health disasters. Disasters that we’re told can’t happen At approximately 4 a.m. on March 28, 1979, the mainfeed water pumps in the cooling system of reactor 2 of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Penn. failed. This caused cooling water to drain away from the reactor resulting in partial melting of the reactor core. Together, operator errors, a stuck valve, faulty sensors and design errors resulted in a release of approximately 2.5 million curies of radiation. A few days after the accident, all children and pregnant women were evacuated from an eight-kilometer radius of Three Mile Island as a safety precaution. Fortunately, about 18 billion curies of radiation that could have been released were held by the containment structure around the reactor. Some advocates of nuclear power think that because the accident was not more serious, it means that nuclear accidents will not occur in the United States. However, many experts have said that only luck kept the accident from being worse. The reactor core, according to them, was only just short of becoming hot enough to melt down completely. What have we learned? Industry continues to assure us that whatever technology they are using will be fail-safe, that multiple backup safety systems will always prevent disastrous accidents. And yet disasters keep happening, because mechanical equipment can, and obviously does, malfunction, and the humans who operate the equipment make mistakes. Wisconsin’s nuclear reactors have a long and consistent record of safety violations, and yet we assume (as the workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and the residents of Love Canal did) that regulators and technology will make accidents impossible. Accidents are always possible. We need to carefully weigh the risks we take, whether it’s to obtain oil, make electricity, or simply live safely in our communities. We should not take it on faith that someone else is weighing those risks for us or making the right calculation for us, our children, and our planet.
Dirty Air Act Fails As expected, Senator Murkowski’s (R-AK) amendment failed in the Senate, upholding the Clean Air Act and allowing the EPA to continue cracking down on the dirtiest global warming polluters. This was a particularly egregious move, as it would have overturned both the scientific finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to human heath and a Supreme Court ruling. The EPA has already started to use the Clean Air Act to address climate change, with new tailpipe emissions standards and standards that will require old coal plants and oil refineries that haven’t updated their technology to modernize or shut down. That the Murkowski amendment got as far as it did is a testament to the immense power of Big Oil and Dirty Coal in Washington, D.C. Other attempts to prevent and delay the EPA from addressing climate change are in the works, and the Senate is still working on their version of a climate and clean energy bill. As always, the only antidote to powerful special interests is citizen involvement. If climate change is an important issue to you, make sure your Senators know this.
On page 6 of Winter 2010 issue of The Defender, there is a math error in Pete Taglia’s answer to “How coal-dependent is Wisconsin?” It stated that over 25 million tons of coal are imported to Wisconsin for burning in power plants, or the equivalent of 25,000 100-ton railroad coal cars. BUT, 25 million tons equals an astounding 250,000 100-ton railroad cars.
Want to help change that? Join our Action Network or go to
cleanwisconsin.org >> Take Action and tell the PSC to retire unnecessary coal plants
ONE MORE: In the “Ask David” column on page 11 of the spring Defender, we had an editing error. The original said: “Here are some more statistics concerning natural gas water heaters, which are more energy efficient than water heaters that use gas (from Madison Gas and Electric).” We meant “are more efficient than water heaters that use electricity.” Thank you to our astute members and readers for pointing out these errors.
4 The Defender, Summer 2010, Vol. 40, No. 3
Now is the time to regulate toxic,
AHEAD By Melissa Malott, Water Program Director
poisonous coal ash By Hailey Witt, Energy Program Intern
Most people know that coal-fired power plants can wreak havoc on our air quality, but a lesser is the toxinlaced ash produced when it is burned; millions of gallons of which is disposed of with little oversight. For years, power and coal companies have been dumping poisonous coal ash into unlined landfills and unsafe ponds that can leak into our groundwater.
The impacts Wisconsin currently has 18 coal ash ponds containing over 44 million gallons of toxic coal waste, as well as an uncounted number of coal ash landfills. Coal ash contains dangerous toxins including arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium, which are associated with cancer and other serious health threats. Residents near WE Energies’ Oak Creek Power Plant in Caledonia have not had access to clean drinking water since August 2009. Due to a higher than normal concentration of molybdenum, the DNR advised people living near the coal ash disposal facility not to drink or cook with their water. Though not claiming responsibility, WE Energies admits that the dangerous levels could represent impacts from coal ash fills in the area and began supplying residents with bottled water.
A view of the coal ash spill left over from the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant retention pond in Tennessee. Courtesy of Brian Stansberry, Wikimedia.
Addressing the Problem The EPA has proposed two rules designed to protect groundwater and public
health: one that would classify coal ash as a hazardous waste and another that would regulate it as non-hazardous. Under the first rule, coal ash would be classified as a "special waste," subject to hazardous waste management standards. This would give the EPA authority to implement a cradle-to-grave regulatory structure for handling these wastes, ensuring that they are monitored throughout transportation, storage, treatment and disposal. Classified in this way, coal ash would be consistently managed under federally enforceable standards and permits. The permits would be tailored to the facility site conditions and would give the EPA the ability to impose additional specific conditions where current or proposed facility practices are inadequate to protect human health or the environment. The permitting process would also provide the public and local community the opportunity to participate in regulatory decisions by submitting comments or requesting public hearings. The alternate rule would continue to treat it as non-hazardous, despite the proven threat is presents to human health and the environment. It would suggest guidelines for states and would not require states to implement or enforce these guidelines. Not only would there be no federal oversight of state programs, the EPA would also not have any authority to establish requirements governing the transportation, storage, or treatment of the waste prior to disposal. The difference between these two rules is clear Only the first rule fully ensures that coal ash will be regulated in a comprehensive and safe way. While supported by environmental groups, regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste is opposed by industry because of the potential cost and complexity of doing so. The EPA, however, says that the main difference in calculated costs only exists because there will be less compliance with regulations under the second rule. Given the exceptional health risk posed by these toxic wastes, we need to make sure that coal ash is guaranteed to be regulated, not left to a loose system of suggested guidelines with little to no enforcement.
The EPA proposed these two rules on June 7, and members of the public are invited to submit comments to the EPA for 90 days. If you have questions or are interested in getting involved, contact Hailey Witt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR Work Goes ON The empty halls of the Capitol enable our dedicated staff to step up our efforts advocating for environmental progress at important government agencies including the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCAP), and the Public Service Commission (PSC).
This summer we're working to pass rules at the DNR that will clean our waters and reduce smelly, unsightly algae blooms by reducing phosphorus pollution from farm fields, factories and sewage treatment plants. Our energy department is hard at work at the Public Service Commission removing barriers currently preventing the construction of clean, renewable wind farms in the state by advocating for standardized, common-sense rules for permitting wind projects. Our work at the PSC does not stop at promoting the growth of renewable energy in the state, however. Because cleaning our air and water requires reducing our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, we're also encouraging the PSC to develop a schedule to retire the oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants in the state. Beyond advocating for new policies at state agencies, we're also actively engaged in the exciting work of protecting the strength of existing laws and reaping the benefits of previous victories.
At the height of summer, many of us are enjoying Wisconsin’s gems: our wonderful lakes and rivers. In June, I spent time in Wisconsin’s ChequamegonNicolet National Forest, paddling the Peshtigo River as a chaperone for a few dozen high school students. The section of the Peshtigo River we paddle each year seems pristine; with much of the upper part of the river in national forest, it is largely protected from common sources of pollution by a forest buffer. But when I returned home, I could not help but contrast the Peshtigo River to our lakes in southern Wisconsin. Madison has had to cut weeds and deal with algae, caused by too many nutrients in the water. Beaches across much of Wisconsin have already been closed due to toxic algae blooms. Algae blooms are generally shortlived, but when algae dies, it can give off a toxic bacteria harmful to humans and pets. Additionally, the process of algae decaying uses oxygen, which is pulled out of the water, created a non-oxygen dead zone in which fish and other aquatic life can’t live. As these occurrences become more regular, it changes the ecosystem. A primary nutrient that causes algae blooms is phosphorus, which helps plants grow. That’s why it was traditionally an important component of fertilizer and why farmers use it on their fields. Unfortunately, when more phosphorus is spread on lawns or fields than can be used before rain or snowmelt occurs, it can be washed into rivers and lakes. Additionally, wastewater treatment plants, food processors, construction sites and paper mills discharge phosphorus into our waterways. These combined polluters have overburdened our waters with phosphorus. We are pleased to report that the Natural Resources Board approved to rules that will limit phosphorus from the biggest polluters. One rule, NR 151, targets phosphorus pollution from farms, municipalities, and construction sites; two other rules, NR 102 and NR 217, target phosphorus discharge from wastewater treatment plants, paper mills and food processors. These rules are groundbreaking in many ways, and we spent countless hours working with a variety of stakeholders to come up with a strong, flexible solution. Combined, these rules have enormous potential to clean up our biggest phosphorus polluters; moreover, with both rules in place, we will have more flexibility than ever before to address this pollution in the most cost-effective ways.
These rules now head to the Legislature; go to our website to contact your legislators and urge them to support the rules.
continued from cover
Our water department is working alongside multiple stakeholders to ensure that the strength of the Great Lakes Compact is maintained and that the first applications to divert water from the Great Lakes set strong precedents that ensure the water in our magnificent lakes remains plentiful and clean for generations to come. A 2008 settlement between Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club with the owners of the Elm Road Generating Station require the utilities to fund Lake Michigan restoration efforts as well as create a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating Wisconsinites about climate change. Clean Wisconsin is working alongside our allies and the utilities to ensure that these efforts have the greatest possible impact cleaning and protecting Lake Michigan and reducing Wisconsin's global warming pollution. Finally, as the Legislature rests, Clean Wisconsin is busy educating voters and candidates about the need for strong clean energy and water policies. This work will help ensure that incoming legislators understand the vital importance of passing strong measures to protect Wisconsin's beautiful environment. The halls of the Capitol may be quiet at present, but the important work of promoting administrative policy, enforcing existing laws, maximizing the impact of past victories, and working to set up future ones goes on.
A r r i v e Legislative Leadership
After two years of dedicated service, membership assistant Allie Theuerkauf and REAMP assistant Lizzy Edelstein have left Clean Wisconsin to pursue new opportunities working for nonprofit organizations. Allie has joined the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund in Appleton, and Lizzy has joined Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee. Allie and Lizzy’s quality work and dedication to protecting Wisconsin’s environment will be sorely missed in the Clean Wisconsin office, and we wish them success at their new positions. Replacing Allie is Jenny Lynes, who previously worked for Clean Wisconsin as a communications intern; replacing Lizzy is Katie Den Boer, also a previous communications intern. We would also like to thank the devoted interns who have left our staff. Organizing intern Megan Phillips will now serve as the executive director of the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, and energy law intern Rich Hankison will be working for the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic this summer. Their hard work at Clean Wisconsin leaves a lasting impression that will help protect Wisconsin’s wonderful environment. Lastly, we would like to welcome our new summer interns and law clerks:
Felice Borisy-Rudin Jamie Konopacky Allie Doneneberg
Communications Ella Schwierske
Midwest Energy News
Check it out!
Sen. JOHN LEHMAN
Representing Racine County with nearly 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and three watersheds draining into the Great Lakes, it was no that surprise Senator John Lehman was among the state legislators most closely involved in adopting the Great Lakes Compact. More By Amber Meyer Smith, unexpected, perhaps, is the consistently strong, proProgram Director environment record of Senator Lehman who represents an area better known as a factory town. But according to Lehman, that perception is misleading. “While it is true eastern Racine County has a strong manufacturing tradition, as our communities lost factories and jobs in the ‘70s, the community awareness of the potential benefits of a clean Lake Michigan and development of our harbor, the protection of North Beach, and the revitalization of urban rivers like the Root River grew. We also have a strong core of progressive environmental activists along with some forward-looking employers who appreciate the value of protecting our clean air and water.” A member of the Assembly from 1997-2006 and the Senate since 2007, Lehman has received a number of environmental advocacy awards, including being awarded the Clean Wisconsin Action Fund’s Clean 16 award twice. He has been a strong pro-environment voice on the Natural Resources and Environment committees in the Assembly; in the Senate, he serves as a member of the powerful budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance. Among the notable pro-environment measures Lehman has helped pass are increases in the state stewardship fund; saved the Clean Sweep program from elimination; increased landfill tipping fees; restricted the use of phosphorus in cleaning agents like dishwashing liquid and fertilizer; implemented recycling requirements for home electronics; adopted a new state wind siting law; and restricted the disposal of items containing mercury. In the recently concluded 2010 legislative session, Lehman was also the lead author of Senate Bill 624 (PACE or Property Assessed Clean Energy legislation), which was signed into law as Wisconsin Act 272. The new law will help a partnership formed by the cities of Milwaukee, Racine and Madison use a $20 million federal grant to assist businesses making energy and efficiency improvements. The law also expands the ability of communities across the state to offer PACE financing to businesses, directly addressing the greatest impediments to investment in efficiency upgrades — access to capital and repayment schedules — by offering low-interest, low-risk loans secured by a lien on the property. “This PACE legislation is a textbook example of creating harmony among economic development, job creation and environmental protection,” commented Lehman. “Reducing energy and water consumption provides direct environmental benefits. And on the economic side of the equation, we create jobs by increasing demand for energy-efficient products and services and retain jobs by facilitating businesses reducing their energy costs to boost their bottom line.”
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen addressed Clean Wisconsin members at the Milwaukee Yacht Club in early June. The Attorney General discussed Wisconsin’s involvement in litigation to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible.
The RE-AMP Network has developed a great new online guide to energy news called Midwest Energy News. The site tracks energy stories in an eight-state region — from Ohio to the Dakotas — and puts them all in one place. Each day, you'll find up-to-date news that runs the gamut on energy issues, ranging from offshore wind and coal to electric cars and bike sharing. And it's all aggregated for easy reading. It's a one-stop energy news shop for Midwesterners — an important new idea in what's becoming an increasingly fragmented media environment. Visit www.midwestenergynews. com, follow Midwest Energy News on Twitter at @mwenergynews, or find it on Facebook at www. facebook.com/MidwestEnergyNews.
FAREWELL TO THese LEgislative Environmental Champs A record number of legislators (23 as of this printing!) have decided not to seek re-election this fall, including some strong environmental allies. We want to thank three in particular for being leaders and strong champions for clean energy, clean air and clean water. Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison): Since his first election in 1984, Rep. Black has served as a tireless advocate for the environment in the Wisconsin State Assembly. His leadership on environmental issues has made Wisconsin a cleaner, healthier place to live, and we thank him for his long-standing commitment to protecting our state’s air and water. During his tenure, Black helped pass many policies that create a strong legacy of environmental protection including the
mining moratorium law, which protects the beautiful Wolf River; a law that establishes protections for the Lower Wisconsin River; statewide recycling legislation; and the establishment of an environmental stewardship fund. He also authored the Clean Energy Jobs Act during the last legislative session. Black’s sustained environmental leadership earned him multiple Clean 16 awards, and his strong leadership on environmental issues in the Wisconsin State Legislature will be sorely missed. Sen. Judy Robson (D-Beloit): Sen. Robson was first elected to the Assembly in 1987 and the Senate in 1998, and has been an advocate for many issues involving environmental health. As a former nurse,
Robson understands the strong link between a clean environment and public health. She has been an especially strong proponent of getting mercury out of our environment.
Rep. Steve Hilgenberg (D-Dodgeville): Rep. Hilgenberg was first elected in 2006. He has particularly been a champion on clean energy issues. Hilgenberg sees both the economic and environmental benefits that clean energy policies can bring to our rural communities, and he was a strong voice during the debate on the Clean Energy Jobs Act in promoting the policies that promote rural development. We will miss these three great legislative allies, and would like to thank them for their service to the state.
6 The Defender, Summer 2010, Vol. 40, No. 3
And the envelope please By Becky Bains
Something as simple as a little No. 9 envelope can make a huge difference. Really. It seems like such a small gesture but the impact on our work can be enormous. We all agree that we want and deserve clean water and clean air. We want and deserve clean energy alternatives. We need to protect the special places that make Wisconsin wonderful. And that is what Clean Wisconsin, along with all of our members, is doing. And here is where the envelope comes in. The little envelope that is tucked inside this newsletter makes it easy for you to assist Clean Wisconsin in being an advocate and effective voice. Simply write a check for whatever amount you chose, slip it inside the envelope, stamp it, and drop it in the mailbox. You can even donate via your credit card. It is as simple as that. Perhaps you take a minute. Maybe two. But that act of making a contribution to Clean Wisconsin has an impact. You are helping to work toward clean water, clean air, and clean energy.
Dennis Koepke Dennis Koepke (1957–2010), senior economist at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, died this spring after living for five years with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Dennis was a true friend to many folks at Clean Wisconsin and worked tirelessly on many energy initiatives including Wisconsin’s Task Force on Global Warming and the Midwestern Governors Association’s Greenhouse Gas Accord. In addition to his strong technical skills, Dennis was willing to explain and educate other stakeholders and the public about energy and emissions in the Midwest. Dennis is survived by his wife and two children. His expertise, humor and friendship will be sorely missed by Clean Wisconsin and the citizens of our state.