• CLEAN AIR • CLEAN ENERGY
Winter 2010 • Vol. 40, No. 1
DIRTY COAL | Wisconsin’s Dirty Dozen | Retrofit or Retire? | | Dirty Coal Q&A |
RETROFIT OR RETIRE? Wisconsin needs a plan for D i r t y Wisconsin’s
Closing old, Dirty Coal plants
By Katie Nekola, Energy Program Director
By Katie Nekola
For almost 100 years, Wisconsin’s aging fleet of coal-fired power plants has released thousands of tons of soot, mercury and other pollutants into our air and water. Federal and state regulations that limit the allowable emissions of these pollutants have historically been weakened by powerful coal and industry lobbies. Now, however, they are becoming more stringent. In fact, older coal units can no longer operate without installing expensive pollution controls that will allow them to comply with new air quality rules. In particular, the new rules require that power plants reduce their nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions. Nitrogen oxide, or NOx, causes respiratory illness and contributes to ground-level ozone. Mercury from coal plants has contaminated every body of water in Wisconsin, making it unsafe to eat larger fish from our streams and lakes. In order to reduce emissions, the owners of these coal plants must install scrubbers and other types of pollution control equipment (PCE). This equipment does not eliminate the pollutants; it reduces the total amount, and it does not affect global warming emissions at all. PCE allows coal plants to keep operating for another 25 years to 30 years (or more) and continue to churn out the same amount of CO2 for the entire extended life of the plant. Pollution control equipment is not cheap, and ratepayers will see the cost on their monthly bills. In Oak Creek, for example, retrofitting Units No. 5 through No. 8 with PCE will cost WE Energies customers almost $1 billion. In addition, costs for this project have exceeded the amount originally approved by at least $60 million. The Public Service Commission approved this project, saying in part that the Oak Creek (continued on page 4)
Wisconsin wants to do its part to stop global warming. But as the 13th most coal-dependent state in the nation (surpassed only by coal mining states themselves) and with no coal of our own, Wisconsin’s continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels hampers our progress on global warming emission reductions. Wisconsin generates greenhouse gases 33-percent faster than the national average. There are currently over 7,000 megawatts of coal generation operating here, and the state’s 12 dirtiest plants emitted more than 46 million tons of CO2 in 2008 alone (see page 7 for the list). To make matters worse, 1,700 megawatts of new coal generation were approved earlier in the decade, before widespread public understanding of global warming. With these new units coming online some time in the next two years, Wisconsin’s CO2 pollution is expected to increase (continued on page 7)
Clean Wisconsin 122 State Street, Suite 200 Madison, WI 53703-2500
Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1291 Madison, WI
INSIDE Taking Charge and Taking Action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Clean Wisconsin Legislative Agenda. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Reducing Mercury in our Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Clean Energy Jobs Act. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Groundwater Legislation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Focus on Old Coal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-7 Legislative Profile: Sen Pat Kreitlow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Water Conservation; Live from Copenhagen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 MGA Update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Ask David; Enviro-SCRAMBLE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 What’s in your Mailbox?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Thank You!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Out & About with Clean Wisconsin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Taking Charge &
Actions you can take for clean water, clean air and clean energy
Sponsor Clean Wisconsin’s 40th Anniversary Bash It is hard to believe, but Clean Wisconsin is turning 40 this year. Clean Wisconsin has compiled an impressive list of victories over the past 40 years (we’re not ashamed to tout it!), and we need your help to guarantee that Clean Wisconsin sees many more anniversaries. To that end, we are soliciting sponsorships to help both offset the costs of the anniversary party and help us raise much-needed funds to help sustain our organization. If you are interested in learning more about sponsoring our 40th anniversary party, please contact Becky Bains at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-251-7020, ext. 17.
122 State Street, Suite 200 • Madison WI 53703-4333 Phone: 608-251-7020 • Fax: 608-251-1655 www.CleanWisconsin.org Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officals and polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure exisiting environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play.
Join our Action Network
Clean Wisconsin is your environmental voice, but we need you to be involved! While we certainly need your financial support, we also need you to support our work with your actions! The quickest, most affordable way for us to contact you when we need your help is via e-mail. Please e-mail me at email@example.com with your e-mail address and join our Action Network. Be part of our winning team!
Use GoodSearch to help Clean Wisconsin With a few simple clicks, you can help Clean Wisconsin by using GoodSearch. GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 50 percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine (like Google), and because it’s powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates comes from its advertisers; the users and the organizations do not spend a dime! This comes to about one cent for every search. Simply go to www.goodsearch.com, then set Clean Wisconsin as your selected organization by typing in our name under “Who Do you Search For?” and click “verify.” Then set GoodSearch as your home page to help Clean Wisconsin any time you do an Internet search! Like to shop? Now your purchases can help Clean Wisconsin, too. Download the GoodSearch toolbar at www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/clean-wisconsin. With this toolbar, GoodSearch will make a donation to Clean Wisconsin each time you shop online at prominent national retail sites, plus Amazon and eBay.
Become a Business Sponsor of Clean Wisconsin Clean Wisconsin offers several ways to support our mission of protecting Wisconsin’s clean air, clean water and special places. One of these ways is through our strong Business Sponsorship program. If you own a business and personally share our mission, or if the mission of your business supports our mission, please join Clean Wisconsin’s Business Sponsorship program. Think of it as an investment in your business. We all have a responsibility to protect Wisconsin, not for a single interest, but for our families, wildlife and the future. Recognition and advertising benefits include: $150 - $499
One listing in our newsletter to our 10,000 members
$500 - $999
One listing in our newsletter to our 10,000 members; listing in our Annual Report
$1,000 - $4,999
One listing in our newsletter to our 10,000 members; listing in our Annual Report; listing on our Web site
Listing in our newsletter to our 10,000 members for one year, including logo; listing in our Annual Report; listing on our Web site
Executive Director Mark Redsten Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle Program Director Amber Meyer Smith Energy Program Director Katie Nekola Water Program Director Melissa Malott Staff Scientist Peter Taglia Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver Water Resources Specialist Ezra Meyer Media Specialists Sam Weis Amanda Wegner Global Warming Program Associate Sarah Shanahan 1Sky Organizer Katy Walter RE-AMP Coordinator Elizabeth Wheeler RE-AMP Program Assistant Elizabeth Edelstein Development Director Brian Kelly Membership & Development Manager Becky Bains Development Assistant Allie Theuerkauf Chief Financial Officer Roger Sneath Accounting Manager Mary Coughlan Office Administrator David Vitse
All donations to Clean Wisconsin are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. For more information, please contact Brian Kelly at 608-251-7020 ext. 23
Just search for Clean Wisconsin’s Fan page! The Defender is owned and published quarterly by Clean Wisconsin, 122 State Street, Suite 200, Madison, Wisconsin 53703, 608-251-7020. Founded in 1970, Clean Wisconsin is a statewide, nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. A one-year subscription membership is $30. Please direct correspondence to the address above. Volume 40, No. 1 Issue date: January 2010 ©2010 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved. Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper. ISSN # 1549-8107
Carl Sinderbrand – Chair (Madison) Margi Kindig – Vice Chair (Madison) Gof Thomson – Treasurer (New Glarus) Gary Goyke – Secretary (Madison) Sue Durst (Verona) Shari Eggleson (Washburn) Paul Linzmeyer (Green Bay) Lucia Petrie (Milwaukee) David Wandel (Madison) Kate Gordon – Board Emeritus (Washington, D.C.)
2 The Defender, Winter 2010, Vol. 40, No. 1
Legislative agenda The latest developments on environmental priorities Success! Success! Success! Success! Success! Success!
Clean Wisconsin supported bills already signed into law this session: Act 9, limiting the amount of phosphorus in lawn fertilizer Act 40, promoting the use of wind as a renewable energy resource for Wisconsin Act 44, limiting the sale of products that contain mercury Act 50, increasing recycling options for electronic waste Act 63, limiting the amount of phosphorus in automatic dishwashing detergent
Our work in Progress Wisconsin’s legislative session ends in April, and we will be working hard to ensure the Legislature continues its incredible progress in protecting our environment. Please contact your legislators through our Web site,
and let them know you support these important environmental priorities.
Reducing Global Warming Clean Energy Jobs Act
Progress continues on legislation to reduce the impacts of global warming in Wisconsin. In early January the Clean Energy Jobs Act, covering 25 of the 60-plus policies originally outlined in the final recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, was formally introduced. As a member of that Task Force, Clean Wisconsin remains heavily invested in making sure these policies advance this legislative session. It will take an extremely diverse coalition of supporters to pass this comprehensive package, which will position Wisconsin to become a leader in the clean energy economy and capture the 15,000-plus family-supporting construction and manufacturing jobs that an analysis by the Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence shows will be created with this legislation. Advancing global warming policies will require everyone’s action. Read more on page 5 To automatically send a message to your legislators on this topic, visit the Clean Wisconsin Web site at www.cleanwisconsin.org and under “Take Action,” select “Ask your legislator to support the Clean Energy Jobs Act.”
Taking the next steps to protecting our precious resource Lying unseen just beneath our feet, groundwater not only provides the majority of Wisconsinites with their drinking water, but it also maintains the water levels and the high quality of our treasured lakes, rivers and wetlands. Since fall, a small working group of legislators has been convening to discuss updates to Wisconsin’s groundwater laws to ensure our water is protected from overuse. It is expected that these legislators will soon be introducing legislation containing additional protections for our groundwater, particularly from groundwater pumping. Clean Wisconsin has joined the Wisconsin Water Coalition to make recommendations for this legislation, and we will continue to monitor the bill to ensure it contains the strongest protections for our groundwater. Read more on page 5
Recycling Mercury Thermostats and CFLs
Old thermostats, like the one pictured at the left, 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 for people to recycle old thermostats and CFLs. Read more on page 4
Prohibiting privatization of water in Milwaukee
Reacting to recent reports that Milwaukee’s water utility was exploring the option of selling their drinking water system to a private company, Representative Fred Kessler introduced Assembly Bill 475 to prohibit privatization of Milwaukee’s water supply. Clean Wisconsin supports this legislation because of the dramatic decreases in service and quality endemic in other cities and countries that have privatized their water systems. Providing clean and reliable water for citizens is the job of government, not for-profit entities. AB 475 will ensure the continuation of Milwaukee’s pure, safe drinking water system.
Keeping toxins away from our children
BPA-Free Kids Act
Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is an industrial chemical linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity, early onset puberty and hyperactivity in children, yet it can be found in many children’s products sold in Wisconsin. Senate Bill 271/Assembly Bill 405 have been introduced by Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) and Representative Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) to ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups sold in Wisconsin. Other states and cities have already enacted such a ban and passing these bills into law will help protect our children from developmental risks.
a letter from the Reducing Mercury in Executive Director This edition of The Defender marks the 40th year of Clean Wisconsin! I could not be more honored, or humbled, to be part of an organization with such a rich history and so many outstanding accomplishments. We have assembled a fantastic, dedicated group of people for 2010. These individuals think strategically and creatively, working the long hours necessary to bring about positive environmental change. But this group is only one part of a long line of amazing people — many hundreds of board and staff members — who have labored to make this organization the success it is today. Over the past month, I’ve spent time with our founders, Doug La Follette and Peter Anderson, and other leaders of the early years of Clean Wisconsin, then Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade. As part of our 40th anniversary celebration, we’ve been recording some of their stories as well as their thoughts for our future. Listening to these stories inspired me. Doug, Peter and early leaders like Kathleen Falk accomplished so much with so few resources. Their keen sense of what environmental changes were necessary and possible, plus tenacity, creativity and a commitment to making Wisconsin a better place, resulted in many environmental victories and provides the strong foundation that supports our organization to this day. Throughout Clean Wisconsin’s 40-year history, we have worked on the issues most important to Wisconsin’s environment, and there always has been a focus on clean energy issues. Just as in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, that important work continues today. In the early 1970s, our founders championed legislation that required the state government to review both the need for and environmental impacts of power plants. In this edition of The Defender, you will find articles that highlight our current energy program campaigns, which stem from this victory achieved nearly 40 years ago. As we celebrate our 40th year of environmental advocacy, I must stop and thank you, our members, as none of the many environmental victories achieved by our organization would have been possible without your support. Thank you for the last 40 years, and for many more to come.
RETROFIT OR RETIRE? t c o n t i n e d f r o m CO V ER
units are the most efficient of all the old coal units in the state. Currently, both the Columbia coal units in Portage and the Edgewater coal units in Sheboygan are in line for permission to be retrofitted with scrubbers and other controls. The Columbia project is estimated to cost $627 million, and the Edgewater project, $154 million. Other coal plant owners will come forward in the future and ask for PSC approval to install pollution controls on old coal boilers that should be retired or at least mothballed. We can afford to put these units on the shelf for a few years because, as the PSC has acknowledged, Wisconsin has an oversupply of electric generation for at least the next several years. You can tell the PSC that instead of allowing utilities to run old coal plants long past their expected lifespans and continuing to add more global warming pollutants to our atmosphere, they should deny these applications until they have created a sensible plan for how Wisconsin can ensure reliable energy at reasonable rates and also meet our global warming goals. Log onto the PSC Web site at www.psc.wi.gov and click on “Add comments.”
State your thoughts! Visit the PSC Web site at www.psc.wi.gov and click “Add comments”
USED thermostat and CFL REcycling Clean Wisconsin has been working to keep mercury out of our air, water and ground for four decades. There have been many successes, but challenges remain, and Clean Wisconsin will be there to bring attention to these issues. Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that impacts the brain and nervous system, resulting in memory loss, speech difficulties, troubles with vision and cardiovascular problems. Its effects are especially damaging to children’s developing brains. When products that contain mercury are disposed of in the trash, they go to a landfill where the mercury can leach into the air, water and ground. In 2008, Clean Wisconsin successfully pushed the state to adopt mercury emission limits from power plants, and in 2009, Wisconsin Act 44 was enacted to limit the sale of certain products that contain mercury. The next step is to ensure that mercury-containing products already in use are properly recycled and stay out of our environment. In coming months, Clean Wisconsin will be pushing for legislation to increase recycling of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) and mercury thermostats. The bills will be modeled on Wisconsin’s recently enacted electronic waste recycling law. As Wisconsinites become increasingly energy efficient and take advantage of opportunities to reduce energy consumption, we must ensure that some products that still contain mercury are properly recycled. Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) There is no doubt that the use of CFLs is a benefit to the environment, even though they do contain small amounts of mercury — an average of 4 milligrams in each bulb. CFLs use 75-percent less energy than incandescent bulbs; if every home in America replaced just one incandescent with an Energy Starqualified CFL, enough energy would be saved to light more than three million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 800,000 cars off the road. The small amount of mercury CFLs contain is more than compensated by the reduced mercury emissions resulting from less energy production, However, better, more convenient recycling will ensure CFLs remain a win-win for our environment. Thermostats It was just five years ago, in 2005, that manufacturers announced they would stop producing thermostats that contain mercury. This means that most of the old, round thermostats many of us have on our walls are still in the waste stream. These thermostats contain an average of 3 grams of mercury — equivalent to nearly 600 CFLs! And with most remodeling projects switching to energy-saving programmable thermostats, more and more of these old thermostats are being disposed of. Unfortunately, the number of thermostats currently being properly recycled is extremely low. Incentives can increase those recycling numbers, keeping a large amount of mercury from polluting our environment.
What can you do right now? 1. Recycle! Never pour mercury down a drain or sewer, flush it down a toilet or throw it in the trash. a. Find a thermostat collection point: www.thermostatrecycle.org b. Find the nearest CFL recycler: www.focusonenergy.com/ Resources 2. Purchase CFLs with the lowest mercury content; look for the Energy Star seal. 3. Buy CFLs at a store that will take them back for recycling. A growing number of retailers, including several large national chains, already provide this service for free. 4. Recycle products that contain mercury through your Household Hazardous Waste Facility or Clean Sweep program. 5. Learn more about recycling: www.recyclemorewisconsin. org.
4 The Defender, Winter 2010, Vol. 40, No. 1
In Wisconsin, For Wisconsin
Clean Energy Jobs Act
he Clean Energy Jobs Act includes a variety of policies to grow Wisconsin’s economy and secure our energy future. These policies also will reduce consumers’ financial energy burden while creating family-supporting jobs in the state. Taken together, these recommendations will solidify Wisconsin as an economic and environmental leader, but of the Task Force recommendations that made it into the bill, these four offer the greatest opportunity for our growth and security.
Renewable Electricity Standard
With our abundance of agriculture and forestry resources and strong manufacturing base, Wisconsin is uniquely positioned to take advantage of our homegrown, renewable energy sources as we strive for energy independence and cut greenhouse gas emissions from dirty coal plants. The Renewable Electricity Standard also creates thousands of new jobs for Wisconsin while stimulating rural economies.
GOALS 10% state energy from renewables by 2013; 20% by 2020; 25% by 2025
Enhanced Conservation & Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is the largest and most cost-effective form of greenhouse gas reduction. Increasing funding for Focus on Energy, as well as other programs designed to encourage energy-efficient homes, businesses and industry, will reduce global warming emissions and demand for power, while creating new jobs and cutting energy bills for consumers across the state.
• 2% annual usage reduction for electricity, and • 1% annual usage reduction (based on annual projected sales) for natural gas by 2015; • establish energy-savings goals, then provide funding.
People want options to single-occupant automotive transporation. This recommendation promotes the opportunity to use more-efficient options than driving alone by encourgaging development patterns and business practices that reduce dependency on automobiles and increasing alternatives, such as public transit, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.
Low Carbon Fuel Standards
Through the use low carbon fuels and homegrown energy sources developed in the state, we can transition toward energy independence and create jobs in Wisconsin, for Wisconsin. A low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) benefits the state’s agriculture and forestry industries by increasing fuel diversity, reducing fuel price volatility and preparing Wisconsin to excel as a providerof alternative fuels.
GOALS 10% reduction in carbon in fuel by 2020
PHOTO: River Alliance of Wisconsin
Protecting our unseen resource By Amber Meyer Smith, Program Director
jobs created, money saved
Total construction & manufacturing jobs created by 2025
MORE THAN 1,800
Jobs realized in the first year of enactment
800 to 1,800
construction jobs created annually from 2011 to 2025
manufacturing jobs created once the policies are fully enacted
additional wages and salaries in 2025 alone for construction & manufacturing jobs
Energy Efficient Communities
A dry river bed in Wisconsin
By the numbers
average monthly residential utility bill in 2024, down from $78.75 in 2008; bills will drop 15% by 2025
average monthly commercial utility bill in 2024, down 13% from 2008’s $517 monthly average bill
average monthly industrial utility bill in 2024, down 12% from 2008’s $$18,550 monthly average bill Wisconsin Office of Energy Independence analysis
G ro u n d w at e r Management
Wisconsin’s water resources provide us with our drinking water, contribute to Wisconsinites’ treasured quality of life, and support travel and tourism, one of the largest sectors of our economy. In 2004 when the first Groundwater Protection Act was signed into law, Wisconsin took a huge step forward in protecting our water. The Groundwater Protection Act protected a small but important set of rivers, lakes and springs from the negative impacts of groundwater pumping. While this law was a positive step forward, in some areas of the state, especially Portage and Waukesha counties, riverbeds and drinking water supplies continue to dry up due to excessive water use by a few large water users through high-capacity wells. Well pumping can adversely impact groundwater and surface waters. The cumulative impacts are especially noticeable when there are multiple wells in one area, but protections can be put in place that regulate the adverse impacts of pumping. As experts have gained experience with the 2004 law, they have identified gaps that leave our water resources in jeopardy because of excessive pumping and use. A group of seven legislators with an interest in groundwater protection have been meeting since Fall 2009 to create recommendations to resolve these outstanding groundwater issues and protect Wisconsin’s water resources. Clean Wisconsin, along with members of the Wisconsin Water Coalition, has been promoting strong (continued on page 9)
Old Coal Q&A Q: How coal-dependent is Wisconsin?
Did you know that only coal-producing states burn more coal than Wisconsin? Over 25 million tons of imported coal are burned here every year, equivalent to about 25,000 train cars! At full bore, the largest coal plant in Wisconsin, Pleasant Prairie, can burn through a 100-ton rail car in 20 minutes! Burning coal for electricity is incredibly dirty, and it is also a drain on our state’s finances. The money Wisconsin spends to import coal leaves the state, but the waste, air pollution, mercury contamination and health impacts stay behind. Wisconsin’s coal imports have doubled since 1975 and have the potential to increase again when the two new coal plants at Oak Creek begin commercial operation in 2010. —Pete Taglia
Q: What’s happening at the federal level?
Congress is considering a climate and clean energy bill with number of provisions that will affect coal. This includes a cap on carbon pollution, designed to cover large stationary sources like oil refineries and coal-fired power plants, and requires polluters to reduce their carbon pollution 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020; 42 percent by 2030; and 80 percent by 2050.
The Clean Air Act, which was signed into law almost 40 years ago, was intended to slowly improve the existing fleet of coal plants while requiring new coal plants to install the strongest controls possible. However, significant loopholes have allowed old, dirty power plants to continue running far beyond the time ever intended by the CAA. Existing coal plants are not required to upgrade their pollution controls unless they make significant modifications to the plant as a whole. This does not include replacing worn engines or other routine maintenance, so power plants that have not undergone major modifications have also not installed pollution controls. There are currently efforts in the proposed federal climate legislation to strip the Clean Air Act’s effectiveness even fur ther. Although EPA has the authority to regulate CO 2 as a pollutant under the CAA and require CO 2 reductions from existing and new power plants, the proposed legislation seeks to preempt EPA authority under current legislation. —Elizabeth Wheeler
Our dirty electrical grid results in a heavy carbon footprint for products made in Wisconsin. What does this mean for Wisconsin businesses? Let’s examine how coal hurts Wisconsin’s competitiveness with one of our signature products: milk. In 2007, Wal-Mart began a project to measure the energy and carbon footprint of seven major product lines, including milk. Farmers and milk processors that want to sell to WalMart must now account for the electricity and carbon footprint of their production. How does coal factor in? Consider that Wisconsin’s coal production results in a carbon footprint for every unit of electricity (typically measured in kilowatt-hours) that is over twice the footprint of California. Thus, a farmer using the same exact amount of electricity in Wisconsin has over double the carbon footprint of a California farmer. As Wal-Mart expands its carbon footprinting project, other retailers will surely follow. Moving away from coal will be critical for Wisconsin’s products, including milk and cheese, to compete in the future. —Pete Taglia
Additionally, the proposed bill will help level the playing field for clean energy and energy efficiency technologies to compete with coal, requiring utilities to produce 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, and reduce their electricity demand 15 percent by 2020. These policies, plus others, will promote climate solutions for our dirtiest sources of energy. —Katy Walter
Q: What about the Clean Air Act?
Q: Does coal threaten Wisconsin’s competitiveness?
Q: Is there really too much power on the grid?
Occasionally the electric grid creaks, which has been blamed on Wisconsin’s 400-plus megawatts of clean wind power. But closer scrutiny shows some of the creaking is old coal coughing.
The electric grid over much of the Upper Midwest is controlled by Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO). Because there are no large-scale batteries that can effectively store electricity, MISO has the ultimate control over what power plants are turned on and off and must carefully match the overall demand and supply. When there is too much power on the grid, MISO can declare a “minimum generation” alert that forces all power plants in an area to turn down to their lowest possible setting. These are not popular events, especially to power plant engineers, and some people have blamed unexpectedly breezy days for these events. But MISO engineers carefully analyzed four minimum generation events in 2009 and found that much of the problem lies with the decisions made to run small- and medium-sized old coal plants when electrical demand forecasts do not show a need. This information bolsters the argument to shut down old, inefficient coal plants, and the need to reform the how coal plants run on the grid. —Pete Taglia
Q: Do coal plants affect water?
Coal contaminates our drinking water, rivers and lakes with toxic and ecosystem-altering pollution. Airborne mercury emissions end up in waterways, where bacteria convert it to methylmercury, a more toxic form readily taken up by fish and water organisms. Coal plants frequently discharge pollution “scrubbed” from air emissions into water, or landfill it where it can leach into groundwater; this pollution can contain arsenic, lead, boron, barium, chromium, nickel and other chemicals. Coal plants also often discharge heated water from cooling towers into water, which disrupts aquatic ecosystems. —Melissa Malott
Q: What are the health effects of power plant pollutants? Substance Sulfur Dioxide Nitrogen oxides Particulate Matter Hydrogen Chloride Hydrogen Fluoride Arsenic
Lung irritant, triggers asthma, low birth weight in infants Changes in lung function, increases respiratory illness in children
Reduces lung function, associated with premature death Increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses and causes permanent alteration of lung
Also contributes to acid rain and poor visibility
Asthma attacks, heart rate Cardiovascular disease, variability, heart attacks pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), premature death Inhalation causes coughChronic occupational ing, hoarseness, chest pain, exposure is associated with inflammation of respiragastritis, chronic bronchitis, tory tract dermatitis, light sensitivity in workers Inhalation causes severe respiratory damage, severe irritation and pulmonary edema Ingestion and inhalation; Known human carcinogen affects the gastrointestinal with high potency. Inhalation system and central nervous causes lung cancer; ingestion system causes lung, skin, bladder and liver cancer. The kidney is affected following chronic inhalation and oral exposure. Inhalation exposure causes Probable human carcinogen bronchial and pulmonary of medium potency. The irritation. A single acute kidney is the major target exposure to high levels organ in humans following of cadmium can result in chronic inhalation and oral long-lasting impairment of exposure. lung function. High exposure to chromi- Known human carcinogen um VI may result in renal with high potency. toxicity, gastrointestinal hemorrhage and internal hemorrhage. Inhalation exposure to Methylmercury ingestion elemental mercury results causes developmental in central nervous system effects. Infants born to effects and effects on women who ingested methylGI tract and respiratory mercury may perform poorly system on neurobehavioral test.
Forms ozone smog and acid rain. Ozone is associated with asthma, reduced lung function, adverse birth outcomes and allergen sensitization Fine particulate matter from power plants is estimated to cut short the lives of 30,000 Americans each year
Very high exposure through air or drinking water can cause skeletal fluorosis (bone disease)
Other effects noted from chronic inhalation exposure are bronchiolitis and emphysema.
Chronic effects from industrial exposures are inflammation of the respiratory tract, effects of the kidneys, liver and GI tract. The major effect from industrial exposures to inorganic mercury is kidney damage.
6 The Defender, Winter 2010, Vol. 40, No. 1
The Dirty Dozen and their CO2 emissions
Old Coal Plants Keep Polluting
1 kenosha COLUMBIA # Portage 2 #
9,416,888 tons CO2
8,296,041 tons CO2
6,786,404 tons CO2
5,107,874 tons CO2
11 # 6
Locations on map are approximate
3 # 9 # 1
S t o r y c o n t i n e d f r o m CO V ER
to 66 million tons per year. At the same time, significant policy changes will increase production of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency. Our Renewable Electricity Standard requires the construction of more renewable power in coming years. Our Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming recommended that we expand these goals further and move up their implementation deadlines. Over the past few years, funding to energy-efficiency programs in Wisconsin has more than doubled. When coupled with a Task Force recommendation calling for an annual 2-percent reduction in electric use and 1-percent reduction for natural gas by 2015, plus the overall decrease in energy use by the general public, Wisconsin now has an abundant supply of electric generation for at least the next decade and probably longer. Under these circumstances, utilities in Wisconsin should be analyzing their current fleets to eliminate older, inefficient coal units that produce millions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution that aren’t needed. While many of Wisconsin’s existing coal plants were placed in service in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, utilities are choosing, unfortunately, to invest in equipment replacement and modifications rather than retiring these dirty, inefficient units. In Wisconsin, there is no requirement under current law for utilities to engage in long-term strategic planning, collectively or individually, to address issues such as carbon reduction and retirement of old coal plants. Thus, the only opportunity interested
3,028,195 tons CO2
stakeholders have to persuade the PSC regarding these topics is when the utilities submit applications seeking authorization to construct generation or retrofit older units. With requirements for air pollution regulations approaching compliance deadlines, the utilities are increasingly seeking authority to install pollution control equipment on older coal units. While Clean Wisconsin ordinarily encourages pollution controls, in these instances the equipment being installed does nothing to control greenhouse gases emissions and only prolongs the life of boilers that should be shut down. In fact, the retrofits raise the question: “How many times should customers have to pay for a power plant?” We pay for their construction and pay again for their upgrades and pollution controls. When carbon is regulated, customers will pay extra for every ton of CO2 these old smokers churn out. Clean Wisconsin urges state decisionmakers to develop a realistic and economical, yet aggressive, statewide plan for retiring its older coal boilers. Our state is moving rapidly forward in its commitment to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency goals. To maximize the carbon reductions we can achieve with those initiatives and slow global warming, we must get serious about retiring old coal as quickly as we can. A statewide retirement plan ensures reliability and affordability and will eliminate millions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution from our air.
2,575,128 tons CO2
2,369,763 tons CO2
7 green bay
CO 2 e m i s s i o n s f r o m 2 0 0 8 EPA Acid rain program database.
4,622,522 tons CO2
1,824,607 tons CO2
1,603,831 tons CO2
11 BLOUNT STREET # 12 Madison #
638,188 tons CO2 217,689 tons CO2
Total CO2 emissions
to MEET our global warming goals and reduce emissions 22% by 2022, as recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, the power sector, coal plants included, must cut 10 million tons of CO2 that’s Nearly Equivalent to Shutting down Pleasant prairie or Pulliam, genoa, Valley, nelson Dewey, Alma & Blount Street
Learn more at www.cleanwisconsin.org Clean Wisconsin
W a t e r conservation: Legislative Leadership
Small Steps, Big Rewards
By Melissa Malott, Water Program Director
In 2009, Clean Wisconsin launched an unprecedented water conservation campaign. While Wisconsin is a water-rich state, we must preserve this resource. When we preserve water, we protect ecosystems and a resource that will be impacted by climate change in ways we don’t yet fully understand. Additionally, water conservation makes sense for conserving energy and pollution costs. We save the substantial energy costs of pumping water from the ground, through the water utility to our houses to the treatment plant and out, along with the costs of chemical treatment. Last spring, Clean Wisconsin intervened in Waukesha’s water rate case at the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC allows parties to intervene in rate cases when they have an interest in the outcome. Clean Wisconsin had an interest in Waukesha’s water rate case for several reasons. First of all, as one of the largest cities in the state, we knew that intervening in Waukesha’s case would help educate other municipalities throughout the state as to the benefits of water conservation. Second, Waukesha faces water quantity and quality issues and was ripe for working to do a better job of conserving water. Finally, Waukesha is expected to be the first community in the Great Lakes region to apply for a permit to divert water from Lake Michigan under the Great Lakes Compact. For these reasons, Clean Wisconsin participated in Waukesha’s water rate case at the PSC. Through our participation, Waukesha now has a better water conservation rate structure that encourages water conservation by charging more to individuals who use more. Additionally, our participation resulted in water rates that were cheaper for approximately 60 percent of Waukesha’s residents — the
SEN. PAT KREITLOW By Amber Meyer Smith, Program Director
Since his election to the State Senate in 2006, Senator Pat Kreitlow (D-Chippewa Falls) has been a leading voice in the state Legislature on renewable energy development in Wisconsin.
Thanks to his work, the state legislature is very close to passing a renewable fuel goal that will help position Wisconsin as a national leader in renewable energy development and use and significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Kreitlow’s interest in renewable fuels began while covering the issue as a television reporter in the Chippewa Valley area, where numerous ethanol and biodiesel plants have been producing renewable fuels for years. Kreitlow recognizes that Wisconsin, with our agriculture and lumber industries, has the natural resources to produce homegrown energy that will help spur our economy and produce jobs. In the Senate, Kreitlow has made the expansion of Wisconsin’s role in renewable fuel development and production his top priority. Along with his service as Chair of the Senate Committee on Rural Issues, Biofuels and Information Technology, he also served as Chair of the Legislative Council Committee on Biofuels in Wisconsin. This committee forwarded bipartisan recommendations that are making their way through the legislative process as Senate Bill 279, legislation endorsed by Clean Wisconsin, which will help move Wisconsin toward the future of renewable energy. Shortly after being elected, Senator Kreitlow held a series of listening sessions in the 23rd Senate District focused entirely on environmental issues, a first for a legislator from the Chippewa Valley. In 2008, he was elected Senate President Pro-Tempore, a leadership position rarely held by a first-term legislator. Kreitlow has been part of the Chippewa Valley community for more than 30 years. He attended UW-Eau Claire where he graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism in 1986. Kreitlow has worked for several radio stations in Eau Claire, Rice Lake and West Bend, and prior to his election, served as an anchor for WEAU-TV in Eau Claire. Kreitlow’s committee assignments and interest in environmental issues put him in a unique position to be a strong advocate for homegrown renewable energy. Clean Wisconsin looks forward to his continued leadership in the State Capitol.
Clean Wisconsin, 1Sky & Copenhagen By Lizzy Edelstein, REAMP Assistant
Representatives from 170 countries met in Copenhagen, Denmark for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, December 7 through 18 to establish a global climate agreement for the year 2012 and beyond. The current international environmental treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, expires in 2012. Clean Wisconsin and the 1Sky campaign mentored two youth representatives from Wisconsin. Our staff provided organizational support and legislative expertise leading up the conference. “This was an opportunity where my voice, that of the Midwest youth and the youth across the world, was heard and a strong message was conveyed on the importance of a strong, binding global climate treaty that ensures a sustainable future for us and generations to come,” explains Chalie Nevarez, who attended the negotiations as part of a 12-member Midwest delegation. Jamie Racine is the other representative Clean Wisconsin and 1Sky mentored. Following the energy from Copenhagen, the United States must demonstrate leadership on climate issues; we have the ability and responsibility to create momentum to tackle the problem. Further, Wisconsin has a key role in global warming solutions. There are strong viable options for alternative energy sources such as wind and solar because of our agricultural base. This is a great opportunity for Wisconsin and Midwest leadership on climate solutions, with the whole world watching. A strong Copenhagen Protocol with worldwide support is essential for a sustainable and secure future.
ones who are not overusing water — than they would have been had we not intervened. Since then, Clean Wisconsin has been involved in three more water conservation rate cases. In Janesville, our participation again resulted in getting lower water costs to nearly 60 percent of the population than with the previous water rate structure. We are currently involved with Madison and Milwaukee’s water rate cases, and will keep you updated on our progress.
Our participation resulted in water rates that were cheaper for approximately 60% of Waukesha and Janesville residents
Representatives to Copenhagen from the Will Steger Foundation. Jamie Racine is fourth from the right, standing; Chalie Nevarez is standing right of Racine. PHOTO: Will Steger Foundation, © 2009 Jamie Horter
8 The Defender, Winter 2010, Vol. 40, No. 1
In November 2007, nine Midwestern governors and the Premier of Manitoba, led by Governor Doyle, signed the Midwestern Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform. The platform commits to clean energy, energy efficiency and transportation goals for our region, including getting 30 percent of our energy from clean, renewable resources by 2030 and achieving two-percent energy efficiency per year. Over the past two years, environmental advocates, business leaders, scientists and policymakers have been engaged in an intensive process to develop policy recommendations to move the Midwest into a new clean energy economy while creating jobs and cleaning our air. These policies are essential to transition our region away from our heavy reliance on dirty coal for our energy production. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Wisconsin and our neighboring states still have to act to make these policy recommendations into law. Specifically, Clean Wisconsin and other environmental organizations across the region are pushing states to enact legislation that will: • Establish or upgrade Renewable Energy Standards (RES) in each state that require utilities to acquire at least 25 percent of their electric energy from renewable resources by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. • Establish the statewide energy efficiency standards of 2 percent annually. • Adopt updated building codes. • Establish a Low Carbon Fuels Standard • Improve transit and transportation efficiency. If implemented, these policies will aid our region by encouraging the development of local renewable resources and clean energy industries, and will help grow a cleaner, healthier, more stable Wisconsin for future generations.
By David Vitse, Office Administrator
Thanks to those members who’ve shared their thoughts, questions and suggestions. Here is another question answered. Dear David, I know that setting my programmable thermostat to a lower temperature during the day when no one is home is a great way to save energy and money. However, I was recently told that the energy and money saved from lowering the thermostat during the day is offset by the energy and money it takes to reheat the house to a comfortable temperature. Please set the record straight. Matt B., Deerfield Matt, The truth is, you can save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills, without sacrificing comfort, by simply turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours. On its Web site, Madison Gas and Electric dispels the myth you ask about: Fiction: It costs as much or more to heat a home back up after a setback. (Or to cool the house after a summer setup.) Fact: The longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more heat you save. Fiction: The house will warm up faster the higher the thermostat is raised. Fact: The thermostat isn’t like the gas pedal on a car. It’s either calling for heat or not, so setting the thermostat too high may cause you to overshoot the desired temperature. (From www.mge.com/home/saving/thermostat.htm)
Please contact your legislators today and tell them you support these ideas and that any groundwater legislation must include these items. To maintain a safe, stable source of drinking water into the 21st century and beyond, we need strong legislation that connects groundwater pumping, connected surface waters, and water conservation and efficiency.
Get an energy audit. Hire someone to come find the “weak spots” in your home and figure out how to improve them to save energy and save money on your energy bills. Properly insulate your home. You can check how much insulation you have by measuring the depth with a ruler. Seven inches of fiber glass or rock wool or six inches of cellulose mean you have a level of R-22. If you have less than this level, it would be good to add more insulation. This can save five to 25 percent on your heating and cooling costs. Bundle up with added layer of clothes and blankets. It’s an easy and cheap way to drop your home’s temperature a degree or two. Please continue to send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask David C/O David Vitse 122 State Street Suite 200 Madison, WI 53703
How much you can save
Setback 5° 7° 11° 13°
c o n t i n e d f r o m PAGE 5
To address gaps in the current law, groundwater protection legislation must: 1. Reflect the reality that groundwater and surface water are connected in Wisconsin statute. 2. Tie the approval of new wells to a sciencebased evaluation of their environmental consequences on lakes, streams and wetlands; 3. Provide a means to adjust groundwater pumping in areas with groundwater shortages; and 4. Ensure water users employ conservation and efficiency measures to avoid wasting water resources.
Open curtains and shades during the day can let in sunshine and heat up your home. Close curtains at night to prevent some heat from escaping and reduce the chill from windows.
There’s a helpful chart below that shows how much money you can save on your energy bill each month in relation to how much you set back the temperature in your home. Keep in mind: If we all set back our
groundwater legislation that will shape the use of our precious groundwater resource for future generations. This can be done by regulating well pumping;, linking well pumping approvals in troubled regions to agreedupon regional water management plans; and requiring water conservation and efficiency measures by large water users across the state.
thermostats by 1° Fahrenheit this winter, we could save enough gas for 3,100 homes. Besides running the furnace less, there are simple things you can do to improve the comfort of your home this winter:
8 hours/day 16 hours/day 24 hours/day 5% 7% 11% 13%
10% 14% 22% 26%
15% 21% 33% 39%
Enviro-SCRAMBLE by Clean Wisconsin staff
Unscramble each of the six scrambled words below, filling each space with one letter. Then unscramble the enclosed letters to answer the riddle below.
DREGAN __ R __ REWAHTE __ __ __ __ SENCOVER __ __ S __ __ TIQUEY __ __ __ __ TOACWHGD __ __ __ __ __ __
How the jealous environmentalist felt... “__ __ __ __ __” __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.
ANSWER: “green” with envy.
By Elizabeth Wheeler, REAMP Coordinator
CLUES: garden, weather, conserve, equity, watchdog
Achieving Clean Energy Goals Will Take Midwestern Leadership
What’s in your Mailbox?
By Allie Theuerkauf, Development Assistant
At Clean Wisconsin, we do our best to keep members informed on emerging environmental issues. One way we inform and mobilize our members on important issues, including our latest legislative priorities, is through the special appeal notices that you find in your mailbox. Special appeals look a lot like membership renewal forms, but are targeted at a specific issue that Clean Wisconsin is currently working on. These appeals include a place for donations that help support our work on that particular issue and often a place for your “statement of support.” The statement of support section is a place for you to tell decision-makers how you feel about the particular issue. Clean Wisconsin then forwards these letters on to important decision-makers at critical times during our work on the issue. The more people who are behind an issue, the more likely a decision-maker is going to pay attention and make the right decision. Your personal comments make a huge difference! When you receive mail from Clean Wisconsin, please read it carefully. Membership renewals come once a year, and entitle you to benefits such as The Defender, special issue updates and invitations to events in your area. Special appeal notices contain a lot of key information about important issues we are working on. Special appeals also give you an opportunity to voice your opinion, contribute to a meaningful cause and show decision-makers that you care. Thank you for your comments, your donations and your commitment to clean water, clean air and clean energy.
Leave a Legacy for Future Generations Ways to contribute to the Clean Wisconsin Environmental Legacy Fund 1. Send a donation directly to our fund. 2. Create a bequest to Clean Wisconsin in your will. 3. Create a gift annuity. For more information, contact Paul Houseman, Madison Community Foundation, 608-232-1763 ext. 226.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren to pass on a world that has clean water, clean air and clean energy. You can give them a better world, and you can help them protect it. Protecting our environment is a long-term battle, and we need to ensure that it is defended today and in the future. To accomplish this, we formed the Clean Wisconsin Environmental Legacy Fund, an endowment managed by the Madison Community Foundation. We greatly appreciate your annual support, which is helping us take on today’s environmental challenges. We ask that you consider making a special contribution to the Clean Wisconsin Environmental Legacy Fund to help us protect our beautiful state for generations to come. There are many ways to contribute to the Clean Wisconsin Environmental Legacy Fund. For example, you can send a donation directly to our fund, or you can create a bequest to Clean Wisconsin in your will. Another way to support this fund is through a gift annuity. With a gift annuity, the donor regularly receives payments for the rest of his or her life and spouse’s life, based on a percentage of the gift. Additionally, the donor receives a charitable tax deduction and a partially tax-free return of principal from the annuity. Upon the death of the annuitant, the remainder of the annuity will be put into Clean Wisconsin’s Environmental Legacy Fund to provide support for our future work protecting Wisconsin’s clean water and clean air. With a charitable gift annuity, you can gain financial security and help protect Wisconsin for generations to come. Clean Wisconsin’s founder, Doug La Follette, has set up two gift annuities to benefit this fund.
Call for Clean Wisconsin Celebrating 40 Sponsors Years of Environmental Victories! Clean Wisconsin is planning a celebration to commemorate our remarkable 40-year history. This is an occasion to honor those who have helped create our impressive list of victories, to thank those who are currently working with us, and to motivate and inspire future partners.
Clean Wisconsin invites you to share in this special event. We are reaching out to business and community leaders who share our vision of a cleaner, healthier, economically stable Wisconsin and asking them to help us make this event possible by becoming a sponsor. Sponsorship levels and associated benefits are below. To reserve your sponsorship, please confirm your commitment via e-mail or phone to Becky Bains by February 10, 2010 at 608-212-2936 or email@example.com. Please also contact her if you have any questions.
Half-page ad in our event program $5,000 includes 8 event tickets Listing in our quarterly newsletter, including logo (for one year) Listing in our annual report, including logo and Listing on our Web site Quarter-page ad in our event program $2,500 includes 6 event tickets Listing in our quarterly newsletter (for one year) Listing in our annual report, including logo and Listing on our Web site 2” x 3” ad in our event program $1,000 includes 4 event tickets Listing in our newsletter to our 10,000 members Listing in our annual report and Listing on our Web site Listing in our event program $500 includes 2 event tickets Listing in our newsletter to our 10,000 members Listing in our annual report and
10 The Defender, Winter 2010, Vol. 40, No. 1
photo: Brent Nicastro
Clean Wisconsin staffers making the rounds
ABOVE: Grassroots organizer Ryan Schryver (left), program director Amber Meyer Smith and staff scientist Pete Taglia at the southwest Wisconsin Homegrown Renewable Energy Campaign bus tour, of which Clean Wisconsin was a sponsor. TOP LEFT: Smith (right) watches as Governor Jim Doyle signs the e-waste bill into law. BOTTOM LEFT: Schryver (second from right) attended the wind siting bill signing at ABB Motors, New Berlin.
Katy Walter (left of statue), 1Sky organzier with Clean Wisconsin, rallied Madisonians for a 350 event in early December.
12 The Defender, Winter 2010, Vol. 40, No. 1
The Defender is the quarterly member newsletter of Clean Wisconsin.