clean water • clean air • clean energy
Focus on Energy
To Defend and Protect our environmental integrity
Clean Wisconsin 634 W. Main St., #300 Madison, WI 53703-2500
Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1291 Madison, WI
Water Update pg 3 EPA Delays pg 4 Under the Lens pg 8
Our Top Legislative Issues This Fall By Amber Meyer Smith, Clean Wisconsin’s Director of Programs & Government Relations
It is no secret that we are in the midst of one of the most challenging political times in memory, and hard-fought environmental protections and victories seem to be prime fodder for the chopping block. Earlier this year, the governor and legislative leadership moved Wisconsin backward on a slew of environmental issues. The state’s wind siting law was suspended, making it harder to build clean, renewable wind farms in the state; this move ultimately forced three wind developers to pull their projects, which would have created hundreds of jobs and infused millions of dollars into the local economy. Funding for the popular and cost-effective Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency program, was cut in the state budget. The recycling fund was raided, cutting funding for Wisconsin’s successful recycling program by 40 percent; your actions and support were critical to keep recycling from being completely defunded. Your actions give Clean Wisconsin’s voice volume and strength. Whether it’s contacting your legislators through our Action Network, staying informed via Facebook and Twitter, volunteering your time or giving to Clean Wisconsin, your support has been and continues to be absolutely critical as we push for, defend and protect Wisconsin’s environmental integrity. Following the summer legislative recess and the recall elections, Clean Wisconsin is back to work in the Capitol, working to hold onto the progress we’ve made over the last 40 years. In the coming weeks, we will be pushing for a stronger commitment to renewable energy produced in Wisconsin, including policies that provide incentives for more manure digesters. We will defend Wisconsin’s mining law, which out-of-state mining interests are attempting to weaken, and be watching other bills, like a package of wetland reform bills, to weigh their potential impact on mining. We’ll continue to fight for more recycling of products that contain mercury and work to prevent further clean energy rollbacks. In this issue of The Defender, you’ll find information on issues that Clean Wisconsin is focusing on this fall. Armed with this knowledge, we encourage you to be an active participant in our work and take action whenever possible. Wisconsin’s environmental integrity is at stake, and we hope you’ll join us to protect and defend the programs, policies and places that make our state such a wonderful place to live, work and play.
See pages 6 & 7 for more information on our priority issues
Taking Charge &
Actions you can take for clean water, clean air and clean energy
Help Reduce Energy Bills for Wisconsinites Clean Wisconsin has led efforts to push for restoration of funding for Focus on Energy. Focus on Energy is the state energy-efficiency program that saves homeowners and businesses $2.50 in energy costs for every $1 invested, and is a proven, cost-effective means of job creation and reducing our reliance on out-of-state, dirty energy. See “Focus on Energy funding” on page 7 for three easy actions you can take on this important issue.
Help Maintain Strong Mining Laws Since last spring, all eyes have been on the Capitol for signs of the next mining proposal, including ours here at Clean Wisconsin. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald recently announced a new special committee on mining to review existing laws. Weakening current mining laws could threaten our environment, the health of our residents, and the quality of our water. See “Northwoods Mining” on page 6 for three easy actions you can take on this important issue.
Be a Part of a Winning Team: Join Our Action Network We have heard from legislators time and again that they value the input they receive from our action alert emails. The high number of messages we’ve help send to legislators has created the support needed to bolster environmental protections and change provisions that would have resulted in environmental rollbacks. We want to continue this momentum, and add your voice! The quickest, most affordable way for us to contact you when we need your help is via email. When you join our Action Network, you’ll get one email a week with simple and quick actions you can take on the issues you care about most. Head to our website or email email@example.com to join our Action Network and be a part of our winning team!
Endowment Fund Challenge Continues We need you to help secure our shared vision for the future of Wisconsin! Your contribution to Clean Wisconsin’s Legacy Fund has never been so important. The Madison Community Foundation has issued a challenge to the environmental community by generously offering $100,000 to be used as matching funds to gifts made to our endowment fund. In honor of our 40th anniversary last year, Clean Wisconsin founder and Secretary of State Doug La Follette donated $100,000 to the fund. Please help us raise an additional $200,000 to reach our goal and receive the generous matching gift from the Madison Community Foundation. Your contributions can be sent to the office (address at top right); please be sure to include your name, address, and that the funds are for the endowment. Contact Becky Bains, Development Director, at 608-251-7020 ext. 17 with questions about the Legacy Fund.
Help Clean Wisconsin Year-round Thanks to your financial generosity, we are able to work to protect Wisconsin’s special places and advocate for our clean water and clean air. You can help us reduce paper and staff costs by joining our monthly donor program. This way, you can support our work with small, monthly contributions of any amount that recur automatically. If you want to support our campaigns year-round, become a monthly donor by visiting www. cleanwisconsin.org, clicking “Donate Now” and selecting, “I want to make a recurring donation.” Or, call or mail in your preferred monthly amount, Visa or Mastercard information, and full name and address; we can take care of the rest here in the office.
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 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, 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 Becky Bains Accounting Manager Mary Coughlan Staff Scientist Tyson Cook Membership Coordinator Jenny Lynes Water Program Director Melissa Malott Grants Manager Tracy Marks-Geib Director of Programs & Government Relations Amber Meyer Smith Water Resources Specialist Ezra Meyer General Counsel Katie Nekola Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle Midwest Clean Energy Coordinator Sarah Shanahan Chief Financial Officer Roger Sneath Clean Energy Specialist Katy Walter Creative Director Amanda Wegner Communications Director Sam Weis Staff Attorney Elizabeth Wheeler Office Administrator David Vitse
BOARD Chair Carl Sinderbrand (Madison) Vice Chair Margi Kindig (Madison) Treasurer Gof Thomson (New Glarus) Secretary Gary Goyke (Madison)
Visit our blog at blog.cleanwisconsin.org, your one-stop shop for news, analysis and commentary on Wisconsin’s environment. 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 41, No. 4 Issue date: October 2011 ©2011 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved. ISSN # 1549-8107
Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper.
Belle Bergner (Milwaukee) Phyllis Dube (McFarland) Sue Durst (Verona) Shari Eggleson (Washburn) Scott Froehlke (Montello) Paul Linzmeyer (Green Bay) Chuck McGinnis (Middleton) Lucia Petrie (Milwaukee) David Wandel (Madison) Board Emeritus Kate Gordon (Washington, D.C.)
Earlier this summer, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources began the formal process to consider the City of Waukesha’s application to divert water from Lake Michigan. Waukesha lies completely outside the Great Lakes Basin, and this first-of-itskind proposal will set a precedent for the Great Lakes Compact’s implementation. At its core, the Compact protects the Our Great Lakes quantity of water in our Great Lakes so it can be managed sustainably for the benefit of all generations. Waukesha’s application must meet requirements in Wisconsin law and the Great Lakes Compact, which was agreed to by all eight Great Lakes Basin states and approved by the federal government in 2008. The DNR began considering Waukesha’s application this summer; the process is slated to last through year’s end. If Wisconsin approves the application, the remaining states are required to consider it; all must approve it before a diversion is allowed. If any one state rejects the application, it is denied. Clean Wisconsin is evaluating Waukesha’s application in detail to make sure it meets Wisconsin law and the requirements of the Great Lakes Compact, with an eye to the proposal’s big picture impact. We will let you know when there are opportunities for you to comment on the application, as we did this July when the DNR held its first round of hearings. DNR officials plan to hold another set of public hearings early next year. —Ezra Meyer, Water Resources Specialist
Sweet Water Launches “The Real Waterpark”
Would you go to a water park if you knew its water slides, wave pools and lazy rivers all contained polluted water? Unfortunately, the rivers and lakes we love — Wisconsin’s “real waterpark” — are polluted, in large part because of our actions. That’s what “The Real Waterpark,” a marketing campaign launched in August by the Southeastern Wisconsin Watershed Trust (Sweet Water) wants to highlight. A survey conducted in October 2010 found that 84 percent of residents in Southeastern Wisconsin believe their actions do not impact water quality. Most residents mistakenly identified sewer overflows and industrial waste as the major sources of pollution, despite the fact that 90 percent of water pollution is from nonpoint sources like city streets and farm fields. Clean Wisconsin worked with Sweet Water partners and Staples Marketing to craft “The Real Waterpark” campaign to raise awareness about how individual actions affect water quality and highlight actions we all can take to help improve water quality. For more information and to sign a pledge to reduce water pollution around your house and neighborhood, check out realwaterpark.com! —Sam Weis, Communications Director
Keeping Carp Out Clean Wisconsin is active in the fight to keep Asian carp out of our waters. Asian carp have not made a home in our Great Lakes, but they have been found in tributaries of the Mississippi River. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant/Flickr We believe we must permanently separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River waterways to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering our waters; Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen recently joined the Attorneys General of 16 other states in a letter to the U.S. Congress urging the same. To date, we’ve asked you to contact Congress to ask them to speed up the Army Corps of Engineers’ timeline. We’ve also asked you to contact Gov. Scott Walker, who recently asked New York’s governor to weaken ballast water rules, which would result in more invasive species entering the Great Lakes and be a massive step backward. We will keep you updated on Asian carp as they head toward our precious waters. Your clicks and calls are critical to preserving Lake Michigan and Wisconsin’s inland waters. —Amanda Wegner, Creative Director
Executive Director It has been a busy year at Clean Wisconsin, filled with offense and defense: Fighting to protect many of our past victories and working to advance commonsense environmental policy in Wisconsin. Amid the political turmoil in the Capitol, we have not lost sight of what we stand for — fighting to protect the clean air, clean water and the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. Mark Redsten 2011 has been a year of both victories and Executive Director setbacks. This spring, Governor Walker’s budget proposal included a provision that would have eliminated the mandate that counties and municipalities provide residents with access to recycling programs, and another that would have delayed the phosphorus rule Clean Wisconsin fought so hard to pass. With your help, we were able to send thousands of letters supporting recycling; we ultimately succeeded in convincing legislators to save recycling and restore much of the funding dedicated to the program. Similar pressure helped convince lawmakers not to delay the phosphorus rule, vital legislation that will help keep Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers and streams clean and healthy. Successfully defeating attacks on Wisconsin’s environment would not have been possible during the spring legislative session without the support of you, our members. Your letters helped show lawmakers how much Wisconsin residents value the environment, and your donations helped keep our staff working hard in the Capitol, serving as your voice for the environment. As the fall legislative session continues, we will be advocating for legislators to fully restore funds to the recycling program, working with communities across the state to implement the phosphorus rules we fought so hard to protect, fighting to maintain the strength of Wisconsin’s wetlands and mining laws, and working to increase funding to Focus on Energy, the statewide energy-efficiency program that was cut this spring. Being successful this fall and next year will require your continued support. I invite you to read more about our efforts in the coming pages, and I ask that you stay tuned to Clean Wisconsin; our work in the Capitol, together with your voice through emails and phone calls, will be critically important to protect more environmental laws that are under attack and to push forward sensible environmental policy in Wisconsin.
Join Clean Wisconsin for the second installment of the
Environmental Speakers Program
Help shape the future of your community by joining Milwaukee’s leaders and residents as nationally recognized energy expert Dr. Henry S. Cole, president of Henry S. Cole & Associates, Inc. and publisher of the popular blog Ekos2, presents his talk, “Painting the Cream City Green.” Cole will launch a conversation on how green jobs are vital to our environment as well as our safety, health and Milwaukee’s economy.
When: Thursday, Oct. 20, 6-8 pm. Where: Helios USA, 1207 W. Canal St., Milwaukee Refreshments and conversation to follow lecture. This event is free and open to the public; more at cleanwisconsin.org/speakers.
Legislative update Our environmental priorities, at work in the Capitol By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs and Government Relations
Clean Wisconsin is working on several issues this legislative session. In addition to our four priority issues outlined on pages 6 and 7, we are working to introduce a mercury products recycling bill. We are also pleased to share a legal victory with you as well, which supports our ongoing legislative work for strong groundwater protections. Recycling Lightbulbs and Thermostats that Contain Mercury Clean Wisconsin has been fighting for decades to prevent and remove mercury from our environment. Since we helped pass strong rules for the mercury emitted from coal-fired power plants in 2004 to the law we worked on in 2009 to ban the sale of products that contain mercury from store shelves, Clean Wisconsin remains committed to keeping attention on this important risk to our environment and our health. Despite those advancements, mercury-containing products still remain in homes today, and the next phase of our efforts must be to make sure those products are properly recycled. Old thermostats contain large amounts of mercury. As more and more people replace outdated models with energy-efficient programmable thermostats, these old mercury thermostats are ending up in landfills, which pollutes the environment. While there is no doubt that compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are a smart investment for the environment and for your wallet, CFLs do contain small amounts of mercury as well. Current recycling options are limited in many areas of Wisconsin for both CFLs and mercury thermostats. Clean Wisconsin, in conjunction with the national Mercury Policy Project, is currently working on legislation that would make it more convenient to recycle old thermostats and CFLs. Modeled on Wisconsin’s successful electronic waste recycling law, this legislation would encourage shared responsibility and ensure that the industry and retailers that sell or manufacture these products are part of the solution. Court Victory for Groundwater Protections Clean Wisconsin has focused much effort on trying to improve Wisconsin’s groundwater laws over recent years. With rivers drying up, it is clear that we need additional protections from the effects of high-capacity wells for our precious natural resources. In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided a case that upholds the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ authority to protect all waters in the state, including groundwater. This unanimous decision was a major step forward in protecting our lakes, rivers and streams from the environmental impacts of pumping large quantities of groundwater. The case was argued by Clean Wisconsin’s Board Chair Carl Sinderbrand. High-capacity wells pump hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every day. If improperly located or managed, these wells can draw down groundwater levels, causing water levels to fall in nearby streams or lakes. In extreme circumstances, excessive pumping can cause streams and lakes to dry up, as has happened to the Little Plover River near Stevens Point and several central Wisconsin lakes.
Stay informed on what’s happening in our state government
• Watch live and recorded legislative floor sessions, committee hearings and interviews at wisconsineye.org • Sign up to receive notifications about action on bills you care about at http://notify.legis.state.wi.us • Learn more about your legislators by entering your address or using the interactive map at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx • Most importantly, join our Action Network! Find it online at www.cleanwisconsin.org. • Bookmark the Clean Wisconsin blog at blog.cleanwisconsin.org.
Delayed The Environmental Protection Agency suffers two big setbacks in September. By Sarah Ann Shanahan Midwest Clean Energy Coordinator
In September, the President released a statement instructing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its draft revision of Ozone Air Quality Standards. Then, EPA announced the delay of draft guidelines for greenhouse gas regulation from power plants and refineries. The White House’s press release on the ozone delay cited “importance of reducing regulatory burden and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover” as a reason for putting these regulations on hold. However, the revision was in response to a court order, which declared the existing Bush-era standard is not protective of public health. Continued delay of ozone standards endangers our public health and safety. Guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants and refineries were expected to be released in September. Due to the most recent delay, it is not clear how long it will take EPA to propose standards for power plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution. Many point to the power of industry lobbyists as a reason for these delays. But the fact is that the Supreme Court has twice ruled that it is EPA’s responsibility under the Clean Air Act to regulate these pollutants. Further, the Congressional Research Service issued a report in August explaining that the claims of industry lobbyists about the burdens of Clean Air Act compliance are overblown. To the contrary, since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, our economy has experienced steady growth while seeing significant improvement in air quality. Cleaning up power plants is an opportunity to protect our children and our planet, while creating thousands of jobs. September had its setbacks, but there are positives. Clean Wisconsin is working with businesses and utilities on greenhouse gas rules; many businesses see the importance of these standards and want certainty in the marketplace. EPA is also working on mercury and toxics air standards, which are intended to be finalized in November, and recently finalized a more stringent regulation of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides pollution from power plants. In short, taking a little more time to get it done right is one thing, but punting on EPA’s duty to protect our children and our planet is utterly unacceptable. Fall 2011
Mining Committee Announced
An update on Northern Wisconsin’s proposed iron mine & legislation By Sam Weis, Communications Director
In late September, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced the formation of a Senate Select Committee for reviewing mining legislation, four months after a draft iron mining bill was scrapped due to public outcry regarding the secretive nature of the process. This committee is reviewing Wisconsin’s mining laws as Gogebic Taconite, a subsidiary of a West Virginia-based mining corporation called the Cline Group, proposes to build a massive open-pit iron mine near Ashland. The corporation has leased the mineral rights to 22,000 acres in the Penokee Range, at the headwaters of the pristine Bad River and claims it will not move forward on the proposal until Wisconsin’s mining laws are rewritten. The draft bill released this spring was written by attorneys and lobbyists for the mining industry and included language that would have fasttracked mining proposals, limited public input, and provided for an unprecedented elimination of environmental protections. The Bad River Watershed is a region known for Class 1 trout streams, high-quality wetlands, pristine parks and national forests. Building a massive open-pit iron mine in this area would forever scar Northern Wisconsin’s landscape, use massive quantities of water, and threaten to pollute the area’s pristine lakes, rivers and streams. Luckily, grassroots outcry helped encourage legislators to pull back. The creation of this special Senate mining committee represents a slowed-down process where we expect full public input and that facts will be heavily weighed.
The creation of this special mining committee represents a slowed-down process where we expect the facts will be heavily weighed and there will be many opportunities for public input. One day before the announcement that a Senate committee on mining was being formed, members of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, who live downstream from the proposed project, released 10 principles that any new mining legislation should include. The first principle proposes that the definition of iron mining should exclude any project proposal that has the potential to cause acid mine drainage. These principles are common-sense proposals that are firmly based in science and law. Clean Wisconsin will be working with the Bad River Tribe and other groups in the coming months to ensure that Wisconsin’s mining laws remain strong and that any new legislation contains these 10 principles. The special legislative mining committee said the panel will start meeting in October, with the goal of completing its review by the end of the year so the Legislature can begin full debate at the start of the 2012 spring session. Make sure to stay tuned to our blog and Action Network for up-to-date information on the campaign to protect Wisconsin from dangerous mining!
Photos, clockwise from top: Bad River, Joshua Mayer/Flickr; Common Loons, Alan Root/Flickr; Penokee Range, The Nature Conservancy (TNC); Piping Plover, USFWS/Flickr; Tyler Forks River, TNC.
Legislators need to hear from you that Wisconsin residents support strong mining laws. For information on the Senate Select Committee, visit http://bit.ly/SenateSelect Through the website, you can contact committee members to tell them to maintain strong mining laws that protect the Northwoods and Wisconsinites.
Facts on Four Our four legislative priorities this session Issue
Mining interests want to rewrite Wisconsin’s existing mining laws to fast-track a 22,000-acre taconite mine in Northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Range, near Ashland and the headwaters of the Bad River, at the expense of public input and environmental protections. Wisconsin’s existing mining law provides some of the most comprehensive public and environmental protections in the nation; rewriting this law could have detrimental impacts to local communities and the natural environment.
Clean Wisconsin is dedicated to defending Wisconsin’s current mining laws, which provide protections for the environment and allow and consider public input. We will also be monitoring all other legislation for its potential impact on mining applications.
• One of the world’s largest undeveloped freshwater estuaries, the Bad River empties into Chequamegon Bay through 16,000 acres of wetlands, woodlands and sand dune ecosystems. Original draft legislation would have allowed mining companies to dump toxic mine waste in floodplains and near rivers, lakes and neighboring properties.
What you can do Last spring, your action was critical in delaying the original draft legislation, and your help will continue to be important in the months ahead.
• Past iron mines have damaged land and ecosystems, acidified local lakes, rivers and streams, and leeched toxic chemicals into drinking water supplies.
1. Voice your concern. A Senate committee was recently formed to review mining legislation (see page 5). Contact committee members to say you want strong protections for the environment, public health and local communities. 2. Sign the Bad River’s Petition at badriverwatershed.force.com/MiningLawPetition. 3. Come to Mining Lobby Day on Wednesday, Oct. 19, where you’ll have a chance to share your concerns face-to-face with legislators and other citizens. 12:30-4:30 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wetland protections Issue
Legislation is being drafted in the Capitol to change wetland protections in Wisconsin. This bill could have sweeping impacts to this precious natural resource and could even impact the way mines are permitted. This legislation will require careful consideration to make sure that the “natural sponge functions” that wetlands provide are not being compromised.
We must ensure there are no rollbacks to current wetland regulations. We are never opposed to better ways of doing things, but they must be as equally protective of this important natural resource as current law. Too often “reform” means “loosening environmental protections.”
• Wetlands reduce flooding: Called “nature’s sponges,” wetlands store rain that runs off the land. Without wetlands, rain floods basements, roads and other low-lying areas. • Wetlands improve water quality: Wetlands slow down and filter runoff from storms and snowmelt, sediment and other pollutants before it reaches our waterways. • Wetlands enhance the recreation economy: 75% of Wisconsin’s wildlife species depend on wetlands. Healthy wetlands are a key factor to the $3.8 billion in annual retail sales and 72,000 jobs associated with Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation economy.
1. Contact your legislator today and tell them that you will be watching their actions on wetlands closely, and that any bill that undoes wetland protections should be rejected. 2. Watch your email for action alerts. Since this legislation may move fast, we’ll need to move fast. One of the best ways for you to stay updated is through our Action Network; to sign up, visit cleanwisconsin.org and fill out the “Join our Action Network” box on the homepage. It’s that simple!
What you can do This legislation is being considered as part of a “special” legislative session, a process that can move very quickly and has more relaxed rules for public input. Fall 2011
Arming you with knowledge to defend and protect Wisconsin’s environmental integrity Wisconsin-Based Renewables
We have seen unprecedented rollbacks to clean energy laws this year: new restrictions on wind power, cuts to energy-efficiency funding, and allowing Canadian hydroelectricity to count toward our renewable energy standard. Now is the time to focus on practical solutions to move renewable energy forward. In particular, manure digesters would enhance our agricultural economy while generating renewable energy and should be considered a priority as the legislature moves forward.
Clean Wisconsin is committed to helping Wisconsin realize its potential to create and use more Wisconsin-based renewable energy. We are working to find ways to provide incentives for more renewable energy generation in agriculture.
• By harnessing the potential of our largest industry, we strengthen Wisconsin’s rural economy and slow the flow of the $18 billion sent out of state to import fossil fuels and electricity annually. • Manure digesters, for example, can help farmers turn waste into energy, saving money on energy bills. Germany has 4,000 digesters, while Wisconsin only has 26. Surely a place with as many farms as Wisconsin can do better.
1. Call your legislator. Ask your legislator to stop the attacks on clean energy and instead work to strengthen our rural economy by finding ways to incentivize agricultural energy. 2. Stay up-to-date on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to being part of our email Action Network, we’ll have plenty more actions you can take that will help us with as the campaign progresses, which we’ll post to Facebook and Twitter. Find us at www.facebook.com/cleanwisconsin and www.twitter.com/ cleanwisconsin.
What you can do In the coming months, your voice is needed to convince legislators to move forward, not backward on clean energy policies.
Focus on Energy funding
Focus on Energy, the statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy program, helps businesses and homeowners lower their energy bills by using less energy. This spring, legislative leaders included a provision in the state budget that slashed funding to Focus on Energy and severely limited any future investments in the program. This was done even though Focus on Energy is funded by utilities, not the state, and the business community strongly voiced its opposition to the cuts.
Because energy efficiency and renewable energy create jobs, Clean Wisconsin believes this issue should be a priority for legislators. We are working with affected businesses and decisionmakers to find a compromise to restore Focus on Energy funding.
• In its first 10 years, Focus on Energy saved $2 billion on energy bills, created thousands of jobs, and helped us avoid the need to build infrastructure like transmission lines and new power plants. • The funding cut from the program would have created 7,000 to 9,000 additional jobs and saved hundreds of millions of dollars on energy bills.
What you can do Your experiences with Focus on Energy help us inform decisionmakers of the program’s success and importance.
• Investing in Focus on Energy helps reduce our dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels and cuts pollution.
1. Tell us your story. Have you used Focus on Energy? Your experiences help us better share the program’s success with decisionmakers. Send your stories to Katy Walter at email@example.com. 2. Write a letter to the editor. Share your Focus on Energy experience or support with a wider audience by publishing a letter in the important and influential opinion section of your local newspaper. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for help. 3. Email the governor. Visit the Take Action section of our website to email the Governor Walker and turn the heat up on this important issue!
Return to Tainter Menomin All About Degree Days
profile of Legislative Leadership 8
Data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Ah, fall. Memories of summer-time heat slowly fade, leaves begin to change, and cool northern air brings the first frost of the season. As days grow shorter and nights grow longer, all but a hardy few start to pack away the swimsuits and pull out the sweaters. With the cooler weather, many people will also begin to notice a shift in their utility bills: electric bills go down and gas bills go up, as furnaces take the place of fans and air conditioners in keeping us comfortable. While we can’t say just when and how quickly the shift will occur, those of you curious about weather-related energy use will be interested to know that there is a tool we can use to look at the patterns. It’s a measurement called “degree days” and comes in two forms: heating degree days (HDD) and cooling degree days (CDD). Both types of degree days help estimate how much energy will be needed to keep a space comfortable, based on the outside temperature. They do this by comparing the average daily temperature to 65°F, the average temperature at which it is assumed that neither heating nor cooling will be required. If the average temperature for a day is above 65°F, subtract 65 from 2011 Heating Degree Days that average to 2011 Cooling Degree Days get CDDs. HDDs Normal Heating Degree Days are the opposite, Normal Cooling Degree Days calculated by subtracting the average daily temperature from 65°F. While far from perfect, these numbers can then help us look at the overall weather trends and give a sense of what to expect. Generally, we see that in Wisconsin, cooling demands are Wisconsin Heating & Cooling Degree Days, mostly gone and 2011 to date heating demands are just starting to rise in September and early October. By the time November comes, the heating season will be in full swing. That means now is a perfect time to take advantage of the lingering warmth to work on all those weatherization projects that help maximize our energy usage, such as fixing drafts, sealing ducts, installing storm windows, and adding insulation, tasks that may have taken a back seat to more exciting pursuits for the past few months.
“Disgusting. Acrid. It smells like you’re walking into a pig barn.” That’s how Melissa Malott, water program director at Clean Wisconsin, described the smell of an algae-filled bay on a recent tour of Northwestern Wisconsin’s Tainter Lake with Dick Lamers, President of the Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association. After visiting this spring to discuss the effects of recurring blue-green algae blooms in lakes Tainter and Menomin and capture video, Malott and Clean Wisconsin communications director Sam Weis returned to Menomonie in August to see the algae blooms firsthand. What they found was shocking, despite having heard dozens of accounts from locals before. A thick layer of paint-like green algae bubbled atop the water, sending off noxious, gag-inducing odors in the back bays of Lake Tainter and the Red Cedar River. Piers, boats and backyards remained empty and unused on this beautiful summer day. Being on the water is not only unpleasant but also can be dangerous. The thick mat of green and blue-swirled algae is cyanobacteria, a toxic occurrence better known as blue-green algae. The toxic algae blooms that occur each year on these lakes results from excess phosphorus pollution and can cause cause rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, severe respiratory illness, and nerve and liver damage. Reducing the frequency of toxic blue-green algae blooms in lakes like Tainter and Menomin and preventing them in other waters across the state, is why Clean Wisconsin works so hard to curb phosphorus pollution in our waterways. Touring Lake Tainter was a terrific reminder of just how important that work is.
You can see the algae blooms firsthand by visiting www.cleanwisconsin.org and watching the Tainter-Menomin video series at cleanwisconsin.org/tmvideos
Gary Tauchen By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs & Government Relations
Rep. Tauchen (right) discusses biogas facility efficiency while touring Haus Düsse, a German educational facility.
6th Assembly District, Bonduel office phone: 608-266-3097 Rep.Tauchen@legis.wisconsin.gov
Represent ative Gary Tauchen (RBonduel) has served in the State Assembly since 2007. Rep. Tauchen is a dairy farmer with a keen interest in how investments in renewable energy can help grow Wisconsin’s agricultural sector. Tauchen took a trip to Germany in the fall of 2010 to tour and see how that country uses solar, wind, biodiesel and manure for energy. “I find that traveling is a great way to learn by incorporating these experiences that other governments and industries have had with policies and industry improvements, and bring that knowledge back to Wisconsin,” Tauchen said of the trip. Tauchen believes that the environment and energy are some of the biggest issues facing Wisconsin agriculture and knows cooperative
efforts like manure digesters can help the environmental and farming communities create solutions that address those challenges. While Wisconsin and Germany have similiar agricultural resources, Germany has 4,000 digesters, and Wisconsin only has 26. Meanwhile, German farmer-generated electricity can be a significant portion of their income, providing insulation from fluctuating food and milk prices. The incentives the German government provides have helped to create around 300,000 jobs in solar, biomass, biogas and wind. “I would like to see Wisconsin take a comprehensive approach to developing a statewide energy policy.” He adds, “We have the potential right here in our own backyard to promote renewable energy and create jobs for the rural economy.” Clean Wisconsin looks forward to working with Rep. Tauchen on policies that promote the use of Wisconsin-based renewables in this legislative session. Fall 2011
Supporter Profile: Mark Lydon, Artisan Energy By Katy Walter, Clean Energy Specialist
KW: How can building performance assessments help homeowners? ML: While energy efficiency is on the list of concerns, it ranks No. 4 on my list of priorities. Safety with respect to carbon monoxide exposure is my primary interest. Secondly, homeowners can ensure long-term durability by testing for and correctly managing moisture loading. Third, homeowners should be comfortable, which is readily possible by undertaking performance improvements. Lastly, it is possible to save on rising utility costs by optimizing energy efficiency measures. I joke that I’m not the energy police. I just want our housing to work for us, not the other way around.
Mark Lydon is just one of the hundreds of business owners Clean Wisconsin worked with in our campaign for a clean energy future. In the last few months, we’ve seen a number of rollbacks to Wisconsin’s clean energy laws, including a provision in the budget that raised energy bills by cutting funding for the Focus on Energy program. Mark stepped up and got his chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) to send a letter to the legislature detailing the ways Focus on Energy has helped their industry grow. Katy Walter: Tell me about your business. Mark Lydon: Artisan Energy is an owner-operated company that provides energy efficiency and building performance consulting in the Dane County area. Since 2006, services have included solar site assessments, Green Built Home certification, and Focus on Energy New Homes Program certification. KW: How did you come to the industry? ML: A recipe for a successful consulting business requires many ingredients. Mix several summers of building experience with an interest in design and architecture. Add in three years of teaching and a lifelong passion for environmental stewardship. A voluntary career change in 2005, coupled with a move to Wisconsin from Vermont, landed me, thankfully, in a necessary and growing field.
Hannah Grooms Science
Erika Padgett Legal
Good-Bye and Good Luck to our Interns
Marty Schroeder Legal
KW: Who should consider an assessment? ML: Houses that generally benefit the most from an assessment: • Are pending a renovation; be sure to include performance updates during a planned remodel! • Have a carbon monoxide alarm that unexpectedly sounds. • Have moisture retention issues usually expressed with mold and condensation. • Have excessive icicle formation. • Are very uncomfortable. These descriptors apply to housing types of all ages. KW: How did you get involved with Clean Wisconsin? ML: Clean Wisconsin attended the Better Buildings: Better Business conference in 2011. I understood that they could provide reliable guidance on local advocacy. I reached out and found valuable insight in drafting language rooted in reliable market data and legislative direction. KW: Why did you decide to get engaged on this issue? ML: Partnering with Focus on Energy is positive for a client’s bottom line and the finished products. I became involved because I had heard many remodeling contractors wanting to voice their position, including Jayne Johnson of Homeoworks Remodeling and Sam Breidenbach of TDS Custom Construction. Recognizing the strength in numbers of NARI of Madison, I approached them to see if they would like to voice their opinion on the negative impact of recent political changes on the local economy and the environment. KW: Do you have any advice for people and businesses who want to raise their voices on issues that matter to them? ML: My 5-year old has a favorite singsongy rhyme: “What’s gonna work? Teamwork!” He’ll sing it incessantly sometimes, but that’s a good one to remember!
Learn more about Artisan Energy at artisanenergy.com
Karen Thimke Legal
Ella Schwierske Communications
Dan Mostaza Communications
Over the summer, Hannah Grooms worked on a variety of proejcts; in particular, her research and analysis on utility-owned solar power and proposed new national air pollution standards helped shape Clean Wisconsin’s positions on these issues. Hannah was also instrumental in the initial implementation of a new internal information hub.
This summer, Clean Wisconsin’s legal department had three law student interns, Erika Padgett, Marty Schroeder and Karen Thimke. From University of Wisconsin Law School, Each summer, Clean Wisconsin sponsors several Erika, Marty and Karen worked on a variety of projects, including legal analysis of proposed law students, and this year we’ve expanded our coal plant regulations, existing coal plant permits, and submitting Freedom of Information internship program, hosting students in our science, Act (FOIA) requests. All three did a fantastic job. communications and development departments as With Clean Wisconsin for over a year, Ella Schwierske tracked the organization’s mentions well. Interning with Clean Wisconsin provides in the press, helped with articles, press releases, blog posts and letters to the editor, and kept practical, hands-on experience to set up these our media database up-to-date. Ella could always be counted on to go beyond her communiyoung environmentalists for future success. In August and September, we bid good-bye to six cations duties to help other staffers and volunteer at events. interns who did great work for our organization. Dan Mostaza spent six months with Clean Wisconsin. A video pro, he turned out several videos for the organization, including the Tainter-Menomin series. He also helped us with social media, an increasingly important part of our organization. www.cleanwisconsin.org 9
Inge & Frank Wintersberger have done it again This August, the couple threw the seventh installment of their successful annual house party at their home in Cedarburg. Raising over $3,000, the event aimed to introduce the work of Clean Wisconsin to friends and neighbors, share the progress of ongoing environmental efforts, and socialize on the Wintersbergers’ beautiful backyard patio. Ozaukee County water conservationist Geoff Schramm came to speak about his work to keep local watersheds clean. Schramm’s efforts are aided by a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan, which was created through Clean Wisconsin’s past efforts and ultimate legal settlement concerning the Elm Road Generating Station. The settlement will provide $4 million annually for 24 years for water quality projects in Southeastern Wisconsin.
Julie Berner, Gary Goyke, Trev Harder and Maureen Harder Hollie Schick, Victoria Wintersberger and Mary Dyer
Al and Rita Hospel and Frank Wintersberger
Pat Rierson, Howard and Harriet Weiss, and Dave Rierson
Clean Wisconsin wants to send another big thank you to Inge and Frank Wintersberger for their hard work and hospitality. In addition, we’d like to thank this year’s co-hosts: Mary and Norman Dyer; Luke Fairborn; Joan and Gordon Liebl; Kim Wintersberger and Ahmad Ashour; and Rick and Victoria Wintersberger. Finally, we thank this year’s co-sponsors, all those who attended, and everyone who could not attend but gave generously to Clean Wisconsin.
Thank you! Inge Wintersberger, Geoff Schramm and Mark Redsten
Getting Agri-cultural with Graze Q: What do you get when you combine Mixed Berry Cobbler Punch, local environmental enthusiasts and a perfect August evening on the Capitol Square? A: A successful Fresh Faces event! Amid our hard work this summer to clean our air and water, we also organized a fun event at Madison’s Graze restaurant for our members and supporters. Called “Fresh Faces,” these bi-annual events are designed for networking, socializing and taking advantage of great venues around Madison. The Fresh Faces events are a unique opportunity to learn more about the work of Clean Wisconsin and our eco-friendly host venues and to connect with our environmental peers around Dane County. Melissa Malott, Clean Wisconsin’s water program director, spoke about her collaboration with farmers to help clean our waters. And Talish Barrow, Graze’s general manager, spoke about the restaurant’s commitment to local foods. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make this event our most successful yet!
James Irwin, Katy Walter and Matt Dannenberg
Kara Pennoyer, Nathan Houdek and Greg Packnett
Talish Barrow, General Manager, Graze
& a clean wisconsin fresh faces event
Adrienne Pagac, Julie Majerus, Sigrid Peterson, Jay Burlingham, Donna Erez Navot, Melissa Malott, Rachael Nachtwey and Marci Pelzer
The Defender is the quarterly member newsletter of Clean Wisconsin.