wejoinbelieve everyone us: deserves clean water and clean air
SET FOR SUCCESS
Wisconsin is well-positioned to meet EPA’s new carbon pollution limits By Clean Wisconsin Staff
By the Numbers 34% Target reduction in Wisconsin 10% Reduction already achieved decrease in consumer 8% Expected energy bills, 2030 6,600 Fewer premature deaths and asthma attacks in children 150,000 Fewer thanks to cleaner air
We’re seeing history in the making. In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new carbon pollution limits, limits the American utility industry has not seen before. Considering that power plants create 40% of U.S. carbon emissions, these limits are necessary to address climate change. Here in Wisconsin, power plants would have to reduce their rate of carbon pollution to 34% below 2005 levels by 2030. Yet we are optimistic and supportive. While more than half our power comes from coal-fired power plants, our utilities are well-positioned to comply with the rules. That’s thanks to two primary factors: We have a 15-year track record of progress with clean energy and energy efficiency programs, and investor-owned utilities here already decreased emissions by 14% between 2005 and 2012. What’s more is that many utilities have expressed a willingness to continue cutting carbon, operating more efficiently and making progress toward the goal. Alliant Energy’s CEO Patricia Kampling, for example, recently said the cuts could be both “achievable and cost-effective.” Wisconsin manufacturers, clean energy companies and farmers all stand to financially benefit from implementing clean energy solutions, and this is an excellent opportunity to help Wisconsin keep more of the $12 billion we spend on out-of-state fossil fuels each year in its pocket. That money can be put to work here to create good jobs in a fast-growing sector for the benefit of hardworking families throughout our state.
What We’re Doing
Thanks to your support, Clean Wisconsin has been a leader in this historic call for carbon reduction. For more than two years, we’ve been meeting with utilities across the state and region to understand their challenges and to work collaboratively to meet those challenges. We’ve continued on page 4
THE CHANGING FACE
Clean Wisconsin 634 W. Main St., #300 Madison, WI 53703-2500
Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1291 Madison, WI
of the Legislature What does high turnover mean for our work? By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs & Government Relations
Also in this issue
A near-record number of legislators are choosing not to run for re-election this year. When the legislature returns in January 2015, at least 23 legislators will be brand new. Considering there are only 132 legislators, that means at least 17% will be new faces. Of course, that doesn’t account for what might happen in the November elections, and it’s likely that number will grow even larger. That might not seem like a lot, but add that to the 31 new state legislators elected since 2012, and it means in just two years, 41% of the legislature will be new. Among the legislators leaving are some great environmental champions: • Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) has led numerous environmental efforts, most recently against changes to Wisconsin’s iron mining laws. • Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo), a forester, was a leader on many natural resource issues. • Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) has authored numerous environmental protection bills. continued on page 3
30th Street Industrial Corridor Work | Microbeads Update | More!
Be part of our inaugural gala event!
Join the growing list of businesses sponsoring Epicurean Evening! We have three sponsorship packages available and are seeking items for our silent auction. Visit www.wisconsinepicureanevening.org or contact Jake at jimmel@cleanwisconsin. org or Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave a lasting gift for Clean Wisconsin
Leaving a legacy to Clean Wisconsin in your will or estate plan is simple. If you want more information on how to include Clean Wisconsin in your estate plan, how to leave gifts of stocks or securities or other methods of planned giving, contact development director Angela Cao at 608-251-7020 x17 or email@example.com.
634 W. Main St., #300 • Madison WI 53703 Phone: 608-251-7020 www.cleanwisconsin.org Clean Wisconsin protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the State Capitol and holding elected officals and polluters accountable. On behalf of its 10,000 members, supporters and coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin a wonderful place to live, work and play.
STAFF Executive Director Mark Redsten Development Director Angela Cao Director of Science & Research Tyson Cook
Save the date for the next Speakers Program Madison Chef Dan Fox, one of the featured chefs at our Epicurean Evening dinner gala, is also the next speaker for the Doug La Follette Environmental Speakers Program. Here, he’ll talk more in-depth about the connection between sustainable farming and a clean environment. We’re still working out the details, but save the date for Tuesday, Oct. 28!
Check your mail! In coming weeks, we’ll be sending out a membership survey. Your feedback is important to us, and we appreciate your timely response!
Tribute to Karen Stevenson
Chief Financial Officer Nick Curran, CPA Communications Director David Hunt Membership & Development Coordinator Jake Immel Organizing Hub Coordinator Melissa Gavin Water Quality Specialist Emily Jones Staff Scientist Paul Mathewson
Karen Stevenson, a longtime volunteer at Clean Wisconsin and tireless advocate for the environment, died peacefully at home on June 25. Karen was deeply concerned about climate change, attending almost every meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming during 2007-’08. While at Clean Wisconsin, Karen was willing to lend a hand on anything that needed to be done, from research, planning events, stuffing envelopes and writing. Whatever Clean Wisconsin staff needed, she would step up and cheerfully assist. Karen will be best remembered for her incredible optimism, helping us to stay positive when work and news became dispiriting. Karen will be missed by all of us in the environmental community, and we extend our deepest sympathy to Karen’s family.
Director of Programs & Government Relations Amber Meyer Smith Water Resources Specialist Ezra Meyer General Counsel Katie Nekola Staff Attorney & Climate Resilience Project Manager Pam Ritger Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle Grant & Foundations Manager Ella Schwierske Midwest Clean Energy Coordinator Sarah Shanahan
SAVE THE DATE
Clean Energy Specialist Katy Walter Creative Director Amanda Wegner Staff Attorney Elizabeth Wheeler
Join us for our second Epicurean Evening Happy Hour preview event! Tuesday, Aug. 12, 4-6 p.m. Merchant Madison, 121 S Pinckney St. The Defender is owned and published quarterly by Clean Wisconsin, 634 W. Main St., #300, Madison, WI 53703, 608-251-7020. A one-year subscription membership is $35. Please direct correspondence to the address above. Volume 44, No. 2 Issue date: July 2014 ©2014 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved. ISSN # 1549-8107
Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper.
Office Manager David Vitse
BOARD Chair Margi Kindig, Madison Vice Chair Chuck McGinnis, Middleton Treasurer Gof Thomson, New Glarus Secretary Gary Goyke, Madison Belle Bergner, Milwaukee Shari Eggleson, Washburn Luke Fairborn, Whitefish Bay Elizabeth Feder, Madison Scott Froehlke, Montello Karen Knetter, Madison Carl Sinderbrand, Madison Bruce Wunnicke, Richland Center Board Emeritus Kate Gordon, San Francisco
Changing Face continued from cover
• Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood) brought a unique voice to natural resource protection with her background in health care. • Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) formerly worked for Sierra Club and was always a voice for the environment. • Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) has been working to protect our Great Lakes for many years and support environmental initiatives. In addition, Sen. Neil Kedzie (R-Elkhorn), long-time chair of the Natural Resources Committee, has maintained a vital presence on all things environmental for the last two decades and will leave a hole in terms of Republican natural resource policies. Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) will also leave the legislature, having been a strong commonsense voice on natural resource protection in the last few years, especially being the one Republican to oppose the open-pit mining bill and efforts to undo statewide wind siting standards. Two leading voices for natural resource protection in the Assembly, Rep. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) and Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton), are leaving that house and running for election to Senate positions. Their voices would be an asset to the Senate but would certainly be missed in the Assembly as well.
Why the large turnover?
Several factors certainly come into play that have changed the tone of the Capitol — recall elections, retirements, redistricting — but also the increased polarization of the legislature. Several of the more independent-minded legislators are bemoaning the lack of room for compromise and independent voting. Fresh voices and ideas are the lifeblood of the legislature, but there is a learning curve to legislating. Losing institutional knowledge and voices will create challenges and opportunities. The six legislators leaving the Senate alone represent a total of 150 years of legislative experience among them. One thing is for sure: The new legislators will need groups like ours to help walk them through the importance of natural resource issues, the problems Wisconsin’s environment is facing, and the opportunity to push for a cleaner state. Clean Wisconsin will be there to serve as a resource to legislators and advocate for environmental protections with these new legislators in January.
A Look at the Legislature 132 31 23 41%
Number of Wisconsin legislators
from the Executive Director On a bright May day, Clean Wisconsin staff worked with residents of Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor to paint rain barrels. Aside from getting the community together for a safe, family-friendly event, it was an opportunity to teach residents how something as simple as a rain barrel — brightly painted or not — can help alleviate the sewer overMark Redsten flows and basement backups that Executive Director plague their neighborhood. That event was part of our growing work in Southeast Wisconsin, where we’re helping manage plans for rain barrels and landscaping techniques in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. We’re excited to grow our presence in the greater Milwaukee area while putting our hands to work in a way that truly helps people with simple, cost-effective solutions. At the same time we’re protecting the environment, their homes, their health and their water with commonsense practices, we’re part of the overall work to clean up the lakes and rivers here. In addition to our work in the Milwaukee area, we continue to invest our time and energy in a variety of other important environmental issues. For instance, as you read on the cover, we spent much of the past two years meeting with Wisconsin’s utilities and other stakeholders to help coordinate a strong Wisconsin voice in support of the practical and effective carbon pollution limits recently drafted by the EPA. Following our article in the last Defender, we’ve helped call attention to the issue of microplastics in our water and now we’re helping spearhead the legislative effort here to ban certain microbeadcontaining products. Without your support, Clean Wisconsin would be hard pressed to do this meaningful work. In the coming years, we expect the challenges to our environment and natural resources to continue to grow in number and complexity. Each day we strive to stay focused and ahead of the game and to engage the challenges of today while remaining vigilant of the challenges on the horizon. And we need your help to do that. Thank you for your continued support of Clean Wisconsin. We couldn’t do this work without you.
New legislators elected since 2012 New legislators, at minimum, to be elected in 2014 Turnover of the state Legislature in just 2 years
Ban the ‘beads
In our last issue, we introduced you to microbeads, itty-bitty pieces of plastic that get in our water. Microbeads are found in everyday products like body scrubs and toothpastes, which get washed down the drain and end up in our waters. Now, we’re moving from education to action. In mid-June, Illinois’ governor signed the first law banning the sale and manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads. And now, a congressman in New Jersey introduced the national Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2014 to tackle the problem at the federal level. In the meantime, other Great Lakes states are starting to follow suit, including Wisconsin. We’re happy to share that Clean Wisconsin is helping spearhead the legislative effort here. We’re meeting with legislators right now to draft and introduce legislation for next session to ban the sale and manufacture of microbeads in personal care products in Wisconsin. Early research shows that the Great Lakes are teeming with mi-
Clean Wisconsin helping spearhead the effort to ban microbeads in Wisconsin crobeads; for instance, an average of 17,000 tiny pieces of plastic per square kilometer has been found in Lake Michigan, plastic that gets in the fish we catch and the water we enjoy. Banning microbeads is critical to protecting our water, our wildlife and our health, here and around the nation. While the new legislature won’t convene until January, now is the time to line up support. Sign up today to get updates on our work on this issue!
www.cleanwisconsin.org/ban-the-beads www.cleanwisconsin.org 3
SET FOR SUCCESS continued from cover
Cutting carbon pollution is vital to protect public health. We’re seeing impacts already. As more and more research goes into it, we’re going to be seeing more impacts. –Dr. Claire Gervais, family practitioner, Madison
Current climate projections suggest we may lose more than 90% of our existing native trout habitat by 2050
also spent time meeting with health professionals and organizations to underscore how these pollution limits will improve public health. Shortly before the EPA unveiled its proposal on June 2, a letter of support signed by more than 100 Wisconsin doctors and nurses was sent to President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to highlight air pollution’s links to major health issues like asthma, heart attacks and low birth weight. “Cutting carbon pollution is vital to protect public health,” said Dr. Claire Gervais, a family practitioner in Madison. “We’re seeing impacts already. As more and more research goes into it, we’re going to be seeing more impacts.” Dr. Gervais has seen how climate change impacts her patients. For instance, a longer ragweed season has wreaked havoc for a young patient with asthma. An older patient with heart disease has to gamble with inhaling in particulate matter whenever he leaves his house. In addition to the health professionals, more than 400 religious and faith-based organization leaders from throughout the Midwest sent a letter to the White House and EPA explaining climate change’s role in global problems such as poverty, hunger, access to clean water and disaster relief. “Climate change represents a moral challenge for each of us,” said Peter Bakken, Wisconsin Council of Churches’ coordinator for public policy. “Vulnerable people already are suffering from hunger, a lack of clean water, and increased floods, storms and droughts. We have both the opportunity and a great responsibility to cut our carbon footprint so that all may enjoy — and inherit — a more sustainable planet.”
Need for Action
Wisconsin’s average temperature has risen by 1.1 degrees over the past century with projections ranging up to 9 degrees higher by mid-century and 13 degrees by year 2100. Cold-water trout fishing in Wisconsin offers one of the most vivid examples of what could be if we don’t reduce our carbon emissions. Although the state has more than 10,000 miles of trout streams, current climate projections suggest we may lose more than 90% of our existing native trout habitat by 2050. Drought and other severe weather events threaten livestock and crop production, a crucial threat when almost half our land is devoted to agriculture. While federal carbon pollution limits are critically important to addressing climate change, there are many things Wisconsin can and should do on its own now. One place to start is Focus on Energy, which has delivered carbon reductions at an extremely low cost, even providing an annual return on investment of at least 3 to 1. By increasing funding to Focus to provide programs to reduce electric energy use in homes, office buildings and factories, we can greatly reduce carbon emissions while lowering energy bills for homeowners and businesses. We also need to extend our Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) beyond 2015. All investor-owned utilities have already met their commitments, and many are going beyond. Northern State Power, for example, gets 18% of its electricity from renewables, and WPPI is at 16%. It’s time to step up this commitment. According to World Resources Institute, a global sustainability organization, programs like this matter in a big way. A WRI analysis released earlier this year concluded that Wisconsin could cut carbon 43% by 2020 — 10 years ahead of the EPA schedule — by using tools already in place like Focus on Energy and our RPS. EPA is now accepting public comments on its proposed rules; the comment period will likely last until October. In June 2015, the EPA will issue the final rules, at which point states can start developing their plans to meet the carbon limits. There is no better time for these discussions to take place as we look forward to reduced carbon output and a cleaner future.
How can I get involved? Visit www.cleanwisconsin.org/epa-carbon to submit a public comment to the EPA. We are also looking for volunteers to help with this effort; email Katy at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. 4
Badger Coulee Transmission Line Case Underway
expensive than coal-fired energy, it can displace the more polluting fossil fuel energy on the grid. The PSC will consider whether the benefits of this proposed transmission line outweigh the costs in making its decision to approve its construction. Clean Wisconsin has intervened in the approval process to examine the environmental impacts of the project, which would run through the Driftless Region of Western Wisconsin. This beautiful area of steep valleys and high ridges contains large stands of forest, state wildlife areas, and exceptional and outstanding resource waters. Clean Wisconsin will recommend that, if the line is approved, it be constructed in the least environmentally damaging way possible and that all environmental impacts should be monitored and mitigated. ATC has submitted two alternative routes for consideration by the PSC and DNR, as shown below.
This summer, the PSC approval process for the La Crosse-toMadison high-voltage transmission line begins in earnest. American Transmission Company has been providing preliminary information to the DNR and PSC for some time, and its application was recently determined to be complete. The Badger Coulee line would span between 150 and 189 miles, depending on the route chosen by the PSC. This controversial transmission line would connect with the CAPX 2020 project, which crosses the Mississippi River near La Crosse and in turn, connects with another high-voltage line in Minnesota. Badger Coulee would continue that line to Madison. One benefit being claimed for this new transmission line is that it would bring renewable energy from the Great Plains states to Eastern markets, and experts will analyze this and present testimony in the case. Because wind energy is less
For more information or to submit a comment to the PSC regarding this project, go to
SEE SEGMENT P DETAIL AREA BELOW
E BRIGGS ROAD SUBSTATION
J U N E A U Lyndon C O U N T Y Station
Segment P Detail
B Airport Rd
R De o ck ll R y d
14 CARDINAL 60 SUBSTATION
Cross Plains 78
SEE SEGMENT B DETAIL AREA AT LEFT
De Forest NORTH MADISON SUBSTATION
Outside Study Area
A B C Previously Studied Potential Substation Siting Areas D E
BRIGGS ROAD SUBSTATION ZB
Prairie du Sac
Approved Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse 345 kV Transmission Project
SAUK COUNTY 130
Route Segment Node Route Segment ID
Previously Studied Segments
Segment B Detail
Southern Route (Segments B, C, F, G, I, J, L, M, O) Alternative Segment B-North
CRAWF ORD COUNTY
Rock Springs Loganville
La Valle Yuba
Northern Route (Segments A, D, E, G, H, J, K, M, N, P) Alternative Segment P-East
Map Area Shown in Red
MAR QUETTE COUNTY
LA CROSSE COUNTY
Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project
Black River Falls
Lake Middleton Mendota
CARDINAL SUBSTATION Madison 151
The information presented in this map document is advisory and is intended for reference purposes only. Applicants' owned and operated facility locations are approximate.
Base Map Data Sources: ATC, WDNR, PSCW, NSPW, NNG, DPC, WDOT.
Clean Wisconsin & Friends Bike Club Tuesday, July 15
Tuesday, August 19 Tuesday, Sept. 16
Get on the list at www.cleanwisconsin.org/ride
PHOTO: Milwaukee County Parks
For 44 years, Clean Wisconsin’s program work has made a big difference in Wisconsin and for Lake Michigan communities. A great, tangible example is our 2008 legal settlement with the utility owners of the Elm Road Generating Station (also known as the Oak Creek power plants). Among other things, this settlement created a $96 million fund, called the Fund for Lake Michigan, to protect Lake Michigan and improve water quality in the basin by funding on-the-ground restoration and applied research projects. Under the agreement, the utility owners will pay $4 million into the Fund annually through 2035. To date, the Fund has awarded 71 grants totaling more than $7.5 million. But according to a recent economic study by UWWhitewater, the Fund’s impact has been much greater. According to the study, the $7.5 million awarded by the Fund has yielded direct benefits of $35 million into Southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has supported 480 full-time jobs. Furthermore, the funded projects have improved property values by $45.5 million. In addition to the financial benefits, the Fund has restored more than 70 miles of degraded waterways and 100 acres of wetland, creating high-quality wildlife habitat and reducing flooding downstream. It has made improvements at 25 public parks, revitalized waterfronts, and advanced locally developed technologies and products to reduce flooding and keep polluted stormwater runoff from entering our waterways.
Big Lake, Big Impacts Fund for Lake Michigan yields many benefits for Southeast Wisconsin
Support for the Fund grows A group of concerned businesses, organizations and individuals called the Friends of the Fund for Lake Michigan has formed to voice its support for the Fund’s great work. This group recognizes the Fund’s current and future environmental and economic impacts and wants to ensure that the Fund for Lake Michigan continues to do great work. The friends group includes notable businesses such as Johnson Controls, Rexnord, Spancrete and MillerCoors; associations such as Rotary Club of Milwaukee, 30th Street Corridor Group, and Water Council; conservation organizations; and many individual leaders from Southeastern Wisconsin. The support of this group is critical to ensuring the Fund continues for many years to come. Funding at risk Despite all this good news, two PSC commissioners voted to deny funding for 2012‘13. Fortunately, the utility owners recognized the importance of the settlement and the Fund’s good work; all three agreed to paid into it in 2013, and two of the utilities, WPPI and MGE, paid in 2014, too. Along with these utility parties to the settlement, Clean Wisconsin will intervene in the We Energies rate case this summer and fall to help make the legal case for continued funding of this important program.
For a list of great projects the Fund has supported from Kenosha County to Brown County, visit www.fundforlakemichigan.org
Forging the future of
Focus on Energy Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency program keeps humming along, but it could see some major changes and growth in the near future that bring new energy savings to your home or business. Many benefits The independent evaluation of the Focus on Energy program for the 2013 fiscal year came out in May and showed an all-time high level of benefits per dollar invested in the form of energy bill savings and reduced air pollution. In 2013, Focus programs saved business and homeowners 620 million kilowatt hours of electricity and over 900,000 therms of energy for heating. Those savings were up 23% from 2012, the highest ever achieved, and provided a costbenefit ratio of 3.4 to 1; for every dollar utilities invested in the program in 2013, customers saw $3.41 in benefits, primarily in reduced energy bills but environmental benefits as well. Forging the future of Focus Last summer, the Public Service Commission (PSC) initiated a proceeding to review Focus on Energy (required every four years at a minimum) and potentially make changes to increase its effectiveness. The PSC recently asked for comments on many aspects of the program from interested stakeholders and Clean Wisconsin, 6
with the help of expert consultants, pulled together 22 pages of comments. One question the PSC asked for input on was a question that Clean Wisconsin raised in an earlier round of comments about if and how Focus could be used to help the state meet the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution limits (see cover story). Clean Wisconsin strongly supports the use of the Focus program for carbon pollution standards compliance as it is one of the most useful and lowest-cost ways to reduce our carbon pollution. As noted, these programs save ratepayers a lot of money while reducing carbon pollution. Another key question was what should be done with the more than $60 million in unallocated Focus funds the PSC has held back from the program. Clean Wisconsin feels it is imperative that these funds be fed into Focus as expeditiously and efficiently as possible. We know that some amount of this reserve will be held as a cushion for cashflow purposes and to ensure that commitments made to fund projects can be honored in case of program interruptions. But several Focus programs were oversubscribed last year and there are several new program ideas it hopes to roll out; we are urging the PSC to move this money into Focus immediately and urge you to contact them with the same message.
Another topic the PSC took comments on was on the renewable energy portion of the program. Approximately 10% of Focus funding has been earmarked for incentives for small-scale, customer-cited renewable energy projects such as solar panels, biodigesters and wind turbines. Specifically, the PSC asked about how it should evaluate the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy projects potentially supported by the program and how the goals and funding levels should be set. We urged the PSC to look not just at the cost of renewable projects, but at the broader range of impacts and benefits provided by renewable energy, including job creation, economic investment and reduced air pollution. We expect the PSC to make a ruling on all these questions sometime this summer, possibly by the end of July and urge you to contact the PSC with your thoughts. If you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com. Summer 2014
GREENING THE CORRIDOR Helping residents manage water where it falls in Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor By Pam Ritger, Staff Attorney & Climate Resilience Project Manager
(Top photo) Local residents, MMSD interns and project staff installed a community rain garden on Milwaukee’s north side in mid-June.
Clean Wisconsin’s green infrastructure outreach project in Milwaukee is well under way! Sponsored by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and in partnership with the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, Marek Landscaping LLC and local artist Quan Caston, we’re helping build awareness and install green infrastructure in neighborhoods around Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor. Green infrastructure refers to a variety of methods to manage water where it falls. This reduces the risk of basement backups and sewer overflows and improves water quality by naturally filtering stormwater runoff. The project is designed to help educate residents and encourage them to install green infrastructure, particularly rain barrels and rain gardens. In addition to building and installing these simple, cost-effective tools, the project helps strengthen community bonds through various educational and installation events taking place now through late summer. Outreach and educational activities include presentations at neighborhood association meetings, rain barrel painting events, and rain garden installation demonstrations. Pam Ritger, staff attorney and climate resilience project manager, is coordinating Clean Wisconsin’s role in the project along with water resources specialist Ezra Meyer. Our communications team is also helping out by providing outreach materials and communications support to help engage and educate Milwaukee residents about how they can help manage stormwater and improve water quality through low-cost improvements to their homes.
(Bottom photo) Children from the Franklin Heights Neighborhood paint MMSD rain barrels at the Heal the Hood community block party on May 25.
Nearly 100 concerned citizens convened at the Adams Community Center on April 15 regarding a proposal by Burr Oak Heifers, formerly Opitz Heifers, to continue its heifer operations despite significant nitrate contamination at the site. In fall 2013, Opitz was fined $65,000 by the state Department of Justice and was required to replace neighbors’ private drinking water wells due to nitrate levels up to 10 times higher than safe drinking water standards. The state standards are intended to protect against the dangerous health effects of ingesting excess nitrates. Excessive nitrate consumption can lead to methemoglobinemia, or Blue Baby Syndrome, which threatens both infants and pregnant women and is a serious and life-threatening illness. Despite the facility’s history of groundwater contamination, DNR has proposed to allow their operation to continue, granting them an exemption from the safe drinking water standard and a higher allowable limit of nitrate contamination. Clean Wisconsin is very concerned that an operation that is so clearly responsible for water pollution would be given an exemption and allowed to continue to operate. In fact, at the hearing, parishioners of the nearby church talked about the signs the church posts warning the congregation not to drink the water. Neighbors are concerned about continued pollution and what it means for their access to safe and healthy drinking water. Clean Wisconsin has been very active in the issue and hired an independent hydrogeologist to analyze the groundwater and the sources of the pollution. The hydrogeologist confirmed our suspicions that the heifer site is most likely responsible for the contamination. In April, we submitted these independent findings to DNR and hope it will encourage them to reevaluate the permit. Unfortunately, the nitrate contamination at the Burr Oaks Heifer operation is not unique as nitrate contamination in groundwater is widespread across the state. The health implications are real, and we have asked DNR not to give this facility a free pass when it comes to ensuring that its nitrate pollution doesn’t further contribute to the problem. A decision on the permit is expected later this summer.
NO FREE PASS
Clean Wisconsin challenging DNR on nitrate levels at Adams Co. farm By Elizabeth Wheeler, Staff Attorney
Under the Lens
Fine particulate matter affects air quality, public health By Tyson Cook, Staff Scientist
With such a strong early allergy season this year, many people have taken to checking pollen counts on their favorite weather site. If this is you, you may have also noticed information on air quality, like the EPA’s Air Quality Index, which monitors and forecasts ozone and fine particulate levels. Most people recognize and know ozone, but what are fine particulates? Fine particulates (or fine particulate matter) are a subset of a type of air pollution called particulate matter, or PM. This pollution consists of any sort of very small solid or liquid particles floating in the air, including some of those plant pollens that cause many outdoor allergies. While pollens can range widely in size, the PM pollution of most interest for human health is small particles less than 10 microns in diameter, about one-fifth the width of a human hair. These are often referred to as PM10. They are a concern because they are small enough to inhale and get into our lungs, and once there, they can be difficult for our body to remove. As a result, they can cause a number of respiratory problems like aggravated asthma and decreased lung function. The fine particulates shown on the Air Quality Index are smaller still: less than 2.5 microns. Also called PM2.5, these particles are less than one-twentieth the width of a human hair. Like PM10, the health impacts of these tiny particles are the direct result of their size. They are so small that they can get deep inside our lungs when inhaled, and some can even get in our bloodstream and be carried throughout our bodies. As a result, the health impacts from inhaling fine particulates are not isolated to our respiratory systems; they affect our cardiovascular systems, increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Children, the elderly and people with existing lung or heart conditions are at particular risk for complications from breathing in these fine particulates and are highly advised to monitor the Air Quality Index for their area to minimize exposure. Fine particulates can come from many sources and be made of a wide variety of compounds. For example, some PM2.5 is directly emitted as soot and other compounds from fires or burning fossil fuels; as tire and brake particles from highways; or as mineral particles from things like mining or construction sites. Other PM2.5 is formed in the air through chemical reactions of sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide pollution that comes from power plants and automobiles. Even with all the types and sources of PM2.5, there are many ways to control the amount in our air. The EPA limits the amount of PM2.5 that large facilities are allowed to emit, as well as compounds like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which has made a huge difference for our air quality. Additionally, other environmental regulations can indirectly reduce PM2.5; for example, the EPA’s newly proposed standards to cut carbon emissions from power plants will likely reduce the amount of electricity we get from coal in favor of cleaner alternatives like natural gas, renewables and efficiency. And as we switch to more fuel- and energy-efficient practices, we will reduce PM2.5 even more.
4 tips to reduce your PM exposure
1. On days with poor air quality: Reduce travel, avoid vigorous outdoor physical activity and avoid using your wood stove and fireplace. 2. Avoid prolonged outdoor exertion near high-traffic areas. 3. Do not burn leaves and other yard waste. 4. Subscribe to state air quality notices at dnr.wi.gov/topic/AirQuality/Status.asp
Legislative Leader Profile Representative Katrina Shankland was elected to the State Assembly in 2012 and represents Wisconsin’s 71st Assembly District, which covers Portage County in Central Wisconsin. She is currently the youngest state legislator in Wisconsin. Shankland grew up reading A Sand County Almanac and Walden, and holds a deep reverence for our shared natural resources. One of her hobbies is visiting Wisconsin’s many waterfalls. As a former employee of Midwest Renewable Energy Association, she is a champion of renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable living. When Wisconsin began lagging behind the nation in clean energy policies, Shankland decided it was time to run for office and change the conversation in Madison. As a member of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities, Shankland has been a legislative leader on renewable energy. This session, she authored a package of renewable energy bills, including the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Act, to ramp up renewable energy generation by setting a new renewable standard of 30% by 2030. “Renewable energy is the best choice for Wisconsin,” says Shankland. “Economically, we can create local, well-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced and spur economic development in our communities. Environmentally, we can reduce our carbon footprint and work toward energy independence. I appreciate the work that Clean Wisconsin does to advocate for sound energy policy and look forward to working with them and other organizations next session to advance our clean energy economy.” Shankland is also a member of the Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee, and has been a leader on conservation issues. She was a vocal opponent of the iron ore mine and fought for Wisconsin’s water resources by opposing the rollback of shoreland zoning standards and legislation to limit citizen high-capacity well challenges and undercut the DNR’s authority to regulate high capacity wells. “Our time in the legislature is short, so at the end of the day, I am going to fight for the generations to come,” Shankland says. “May they have the same lakes, rivers and trout streams that we get to enjoy now.” Clean Wisconsin applauds Shankland for her deep commitment to natural resource protection, and looks forward to the continued enthusiasm and ideas she will bring to the state legislature. 8
Rep. Shankland met with clean energy advocates at the MREA Fair in Custer in late June.
Rep. Katrina Shankland 71st Assembly District D-Stevens Point
office phone: 608-267-9649 firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome Paul & Ella Paul Mathewson We have hired Paul Mathewson as our new staff scientist; Tyson Cook, who previously held the role, now directs Clean Wisconsin’s science department. We had a huge pool of highly qualified applicants, but Paul’s unique combination of skills and experiences made him stand out. In particular, we were very impressed with his ability to research and distill information on a wide range of complex topics. Formerly a legal extern at Clean Wisconsin, Paul has a master’s degree from UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute, a law degree from UW and is working toward his Ph.D. His doctoral research is on biophysical models to protect wildlife in a changing climate. In addition to his time here, he has worked with the BioDiversity Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy and Cooper Ecological Monitoring, Inc.
Ella Schwierske Ella Schwierske is our new foundation and grants manager, using her on-the-ground experience in the environmental field to manage current grants and research new opportunities for financial support of our work. She has taken over the position from Pam Ritger who will remain at Clean Wisconsin in a new role as staff attorney and climate resilience project manager. Ella graduated from the UW–Madison in 2011 with degrees in environmental studies and political science. During her time as a student at UW, Ella was a volunteer for Clean Wisconsin, writing letters to the editor, and later worked here as a communications intern in 2010-‘11. Prior to returning to Clean Wisconsin, Ella spent a few years in Washington, DC with the US Climate Action Network and with the Office of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.
The next generation of environmental leaders! This spring and summer, Clean Wisconsin is lucky to have a full roster of college students and recent graduates working at Clean Wisconsin and assisting various departments. Lisa Claxton & Mike Benson, legal interns, are working closely with our legal team on the many important cases we’re participating in this summer, including the Weston air permit, researching the beneficial reuse of coal ash and more. Elise Wirkus, development & special events intern, is spending much of her time on our October Epicurean Evening event and ensuring its success. Hannah Locher, development intern, assists our development team with member outreach, research and more.
Kaity Taylor, water quality intern, is looking at Adaptive Management projects around the state and doing outreach to highlight the benefits of this option. Matt Landi, science policy associate, is researching and analyzing utility rate structures and their impacts on ratepayers as well as analyzing the proposed EPA carbon pollution standards and its impacts on Wisconsin. Marc Wendt began at Clean Wisconsin as a communications intern in January 2014 and in May, came on part-time as our communications & website assistant, helping to build out our new, forthcoming website. We are thrilled to have all these great young professionals giving us a hand!
(From left) Mike Benson and Lisa Claxton, legal interns; Hannah Locher, development intern; and Matt Landi, science & policy associate.
(From left) Kaity Taylor, water quality intern; Marc Wendt, communications assistant; and Elise Wirkus, special events & development intern.
for your generosity
DEDICATED GIFTS SUSTAINING DONORS
Thank you to the individuals listed here who made contributions of $35 or more to Clean Wisconsin in January, February & March 2014
Gift dedicated to Erna Beier from Andrew Griepentrog Gift dedicated to Elizabeth Wheeler’s birthday from Art and Marjorie Palleon
Gift on behalf of Sy, Vera and Leslie Plonsky from Richard and Susan Plonsky Gift dedicated to Elizabeth Wheeler’s birthday from Jeremy Wheeler
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If you own a business and share our mission, join our Corporate Guardians program! This is an excellent investment in your business as you support our work for clean air, clean water and the places that make Wisconsin great for future generations!
Corporate Guardians also sponsoring Epicurean Evening
www.sustaineng.com | Madison
www.crossroadscommunityfarm.com | Cross Plains
Johnson Controls, Inc. www.johnsoncontrols.com Madison Magazine www.madisonmagazine.com Delta Properties | www.delta-properties.com | Madison Nordic Consulting | www.nordicwi.com | Madison Capital Fitness | www.capitalfitness.net | Madison Think Ink | www.thinkinkanddesign.com | Madison Cascade Asset Management | www.cascade-assets.com | Madison Hoyos Consulting | www.hoyosconsulting.com | Edgerton, Madison
Interested in joining these businesses? www.holidayvacations.net
Contact Angela Cao at 608-251-7020 x17 or email@example.com. Or, find more information at www.cleanwisconsin.org/corporateguardianbenefits All donations to Clean Wisconsin are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
We encourage you to learn more about and do business with our wonderful Corporate Guardians! 10
President’s Circle $25,000+ Anonymous
Philanthropist $10,000–$24,999 The Kailo Fund
Patrons $5,000–$9,999 Anonymous (2)
Investors $1,000–$2,499 Anonymous (6) Amy Gilliland Carl Sinderbrand
Citizens Natural Resources Association of Wisconsin
Dale Druckrey Conservation Fund Daniel Smith MD & Marcia Smith DW & Christena Benson Edward & Ann Hastreiter Emerging Energies of Wisconsin LLC Gof & Mary Thomson Gretchen La Budde & Michael Whaley Henry Anderson MD & Shirley S. Levine Jack Westman MD Karin Sandvik Katharine Odell
Kurt Sladky & Deb Neff Laurie & Richard Kracum Liz Middleton Luke & Carol Fairborn Madison Community Foundation Margaret Baack & Michael McAdams Margi & David Kindig Numbers 4 Nonprofits LLC Peggy Scallon MD & Mark Redsten Richard Gosse DDS & Karen Gosse Robert Hagge Jr. Roland Schroeder & Mary Mowbray Scooter Software Susan & Jerry Greenfield Thomas Schlueter MD & Ellen Neuhaus MD
Thank you to these members of
Clean Wisconsin’s Environmental Pillar Society for their dedicated generosity to our work!
To become a member or for more information regarding the benefits of the Environmental Pillars Society, contact development director Angela Cao at 608-251-7020 x17 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Savor the Summer Wisconsin is a magical place in the summer: Biking along wildflower-lined country lanes in Western Wisconsin and camping in the Northwoods. Paddling the Wisconsin River to making waves in lakes Michigan and Superior. Savor the Summer and help preserve the places we love by making a special gift to Clean Wisconsin ... and we’ll give you something in return! With your donation of $75 or more, you’ll receive a Savor the Summer Gift Pack, which includes sunglasses, a Clean Wisconsin water bottle and a reusable bag.
Give today at www. cleanwisconsin.org/ savorthesummer
What Our Supporters Are Saying
“All of us ought to be supportive of Clean Wisconsin! We all, regardless of our political persuasion, should want to breathe clean air and drink clean water.” —Dr. Ann Behrmann, Madison
See Dr. Behrmann’s full testimonial at www.cleanwisconsin.org/ why-i-support-annbehrmann
A night with celebrity chefs for
Join Clean Wisconsin for An Epicurean Evening, an inaugural celebrity chef event to benefit our statewide work for breathable air, drinkable water, clean, efficient energy and the places we all love.
Chefs at the 2014 event include:
Dan Fox, Heritage Tavern Tory Miller, Lâ€™Etoile, Graze & Sujeo Jonny Hunter, Underground Butcher & Forequarter Anna Dickson, Merchant An Epicurean Evening will be one of the premier events held at the Edgewater Hotel following its reconstruction and grand re-opening this fall. With over 400 guests slated to attend, a wine pull, an auction and a team of local mixologists creating craft cocktails, this promises to be the culinary event of 2014!
Cocktails at 5:30 p.m. | Dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $150 per person or $1,200 per table of 8. This event is quickly filling up! Get tickets today at
www.wisconsinepicureanevening.org Thank you to our sponsors!
Defender is the quarterly newsletter of Clean Wisconsin, the state's largest environmental organization.