VICTORY! Clean energy scored a huge victory in Wisconsin in late September when the Public Service Commission approved Highland Wind LLC’s application to build a 102-megawatt wind farm in St. Croix County. By Clean Wisconsin Staff
Clean Wisconsin 634 W. Main St., #300 Madison, WI 53703-2500
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Over the last two years, we’ve worked at the PSC, advocating for and providing expert testimony in support of Highland, which will power 29,000 homes and create 100 new jobs. Even before it was proposed, we worked for years to pass PSC 128, sensible, protective statewide rules for siting wind projects like Highland. This was a long, arduous case that included several rounds of testimony, briefings and hearings. It was also the first time the new wind siting rule was put to the test. Developed by a team of experts, the rule includes, among many other things, limits on daytime and nighttime sound, which the PSC was particularly concerned about in this case. As such, our legal team
worked closely with acoustic experts to analyze expected sound levels and make recommendations. Our experts found and testified that the project would meet the rule’s sound limits, the same conclusion the majority of PSC Commissioners ultimately reached. In the discussion leading to the project’s approval, Chairman Phil Montgomery said he “fully supports” the rule’s noise standard, which was an incredible validation of all the work Clean Wisconsin, its members and clean energy advocates have devoted to this issue. While opponents spent more than $400,000 to fight the project, persistence paid off and with your help, we deluged the PSC with comments in support of Highland.
By approving Highland and supporting PSC 128, the PSC helps provide certainty for wind developers and supports the economic development and jobs wind energy creates. It’s also an important step toward preparing Wisconsin for a future in which carbon emissions are restricted when new EPA rules go in effect and limit the use of the state’s old coal plants. This is not only a victory for Highland Wind, clean energy and the economy — it’s a victory for cleaner air, less mercury in our waters, a more stable climate and our health. After years of work, we’re excited to see Highland Wind move forward. Thanks to all our members and supporters for your help with this important case!
Recycle to Reduce
Clean Wisconsin has been working for years to reduce and prevent mercury contamination in our air, water and soil. We’ve been leading the way with efforts to limit mercury from coal-fired power plants (Mercury Reduction Act of 2008) and recycle mercury-containing products that are still in use (2009 Electronic Waste Law and 2009 Mercury Product Sales Ban). But our work is not over and as long as every inland lake in Wisconsin remains under a fish consumption advisory due to mercury contamination, proper disposal remains a key focus. Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona) are offering a bill, the Mercury Thermostat Recycling Bill, to encourage and incentivize proper and convenient recycling methods for old, mercurycontaining thermostats. According to the EPA, 95 percent of thermostats coming off
New mercury thermostat recycling bill introduced
By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs & Government Relations
Also in this issue
continued on page 4
Why Waukesha’s Diversion Application Matters | Mining Update
Taking Charge &
Actions you can The Greatest Gifttake for clean water, clean air and clean energy
In this season of generosity and sharing, please remember Clean Wisconsin as you plan your charitable giving for the remainder of 2013. Clean Wisconsin is working hard, every single day, to be your voice in advocating for and defending Wisconsin’s environment and natural resources. Now is the time to make your year-end, tax-deductible gifts. Please show your support for clean air, clean water and clean energy with a year-end gift TODAY! Ways to show your support or give an additional gift: • Become a member or Corporate Guardian • Give a Gift to the Legacy Fund • Give a Gift to the Legal Defense Fund Clean Wisconsin • Sponsor an Internship • Make a gift to the Science Program Make your gift online at www.cleanwisconsin.org/thegreatestgift2013. For more information on our funds, contact Angela at 608-251-7020 x17 or email@example.com.
Share Your Story with Clean Wisconsin
Because we couldn’t continue to advocate for Wisconsin’s environment without your support, we want to know why you care enough to support us with your hard-earned money. Did you learn your conservation ethic from your grandparents? Do you take a daily hike through the woods near your house? Are you worried about the impacts of climate change? We want to learn about the places you love in Wisconsin, why they’re worth protecting, and why you support us. To share your story, contact Jake at 608-251-7020 x23 or firstname.lastname@example.org or submit it at www.cleanwisconsin.org/tellyourstory. Thank you again for your support of our work!
Changes Melissa Gavin
This summer, in order to take the Midwest’s climate work to the next level, Clean Wisconsin hired Melissa Gavin to staff the REAMP Network’s Organizing Hub, which will provide vital training, expertise and resources to Midwest groups fighting climate change. Melissa formerly led the State Environmental Leadership Program (SELP), which focused on building the capacity of groups to advocate for the environment at the state level, and she is excited to bring her expertise to this effort.
Clean Wisconsin protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean energy by being an effective voice in the State Capitol and holding elected officals and polluters accountable. 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 Angela Cao Staff Scientist Tyson Cook Chief Financial Officer Nick Curran, CPA Communications Director David Hunt Membership & Development Coordinator Jake Immel Organizing Hub Coordinator Melissa Gavin Water Program Coordinator Emily Jones Director of Programs & Government Relations Amber Meyer Smith Water Resources Specialist Ezra Meyer
David Hunt joined Clean Wisconsin as the communications director in October, relocating to Madison from northern Florida where he worked as a public affairs officer and speechwriter for Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. Before transitioning his career to public affairs and policy, David worked in print media for more than 10 years. Throughout his journalism career, he has addressed a number of environmental concerns such as Superfund site cleanups, suburban sprawl and renewable energy needs.
General Counsel Katie Nekola
A Milwaukee native, Pam Ritger is excited to bring her expertise and experience to Clean Wisconsin to enhance our critical work throughout the state and region. As the new grants manager, she will use her background in environmental law and policy, and paralegal experience to manage current grants and investigate opportunities to expand our efforts with additional support. Over the summer, she served as a legal intern for the organization.
Clean Energy Specialist Katy Walter
Stay informed on what’s happening in our state government
• Join our Action Network at cleanwisconsin.org • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter • Watch 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
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 43, No. 4 Issue date: October 2013 ©2013 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved. ISSN # 1549-8107
634 W. Main St., #300 • Madison WI 53703 Phone: 608-251-7020 www.cleanwisconsin.org
Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper.
Grant Manager Pam Ritger Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle Midwest Clean Energy Coordinator Sarah Shanahan
Creative Director Amanda Wegner Staff Attorney Elizabeth Wheeler Office Manager David Vitse
BOARD Chair Margi Kindig, Madison Vice Chair Chuck McGinnis, Middleton Treasurer Gof Thomson, New Glarus Secretary Gary Goyke, Madison Belle Bergner, Milwaukee Shari Eggleson, Washburn Luke Fairborn, Whitefish Bay Scott Froehlke, Montello Lucia Petrie, Milwaukee Carl Sinderbrand, Madison Board Emeritus Kate Gordon, San Francisco
Why This Matters
from the Executive Director
The Great Lakes Compact & Waukesha’s Diversion Application
One thing we know very well at Clean Wisconsin is that victories don’t happen overnight. Late in September, we celebrated a victory that was years in the making when the Public Service Commission approved Highland Wind, which will put 102 megawatts of clean, renewable wind energy on the wires. Over the last two years, we’ve had a regular presence at the PSC, Mark Redsten advocating for and providing expert Executive Director testimony in support of this project that will power 29,000 homes and create 100 new jobs. Even before it was proposed, we worked for years to pass PSC 128, a set of sensible, protective statewide rules for siting wind projects like Highland, which was the first time these rules were put to the test. After years of work, we’re excited to see Highland move forward. Clean Wisconsin isn’t the sort of group that swoops in at the 11th hour, hoping to claim a victory that isn’t truly ours. Instead, we’re there from the start, sparking relevant discussions, making the necessary connections, and adding our expertise and resources where they’re needed, whether that’s over a course of weeks, months or years. As you read this issue of Defender, you’ll see how true this is. • As Waukesha finally submitted its application to divert water from Lake Michigan under the Great Lakes Compact this month, Clean Wisconsin marked nearly 10 years of work on this issue. Clean Wisconsin started working on the Great Lakes Compact in 2003 and was instrumental in helping pass the Compact in Wisconsin in 2008. • With Wisconsin’s groundwater laws under attack, we’re hard at work to retain the strength of the Groundwater Protection Act, a bipartisan bill we helped pass in 2003 and have fought to strengthen over the last 10 years. • And our continued work on GTAC’s sparse iron mining preapplication is reminiscent of our work in the 1990s on the Crandon mine and Wisconsin’s Mining Moratorium Law, two important victories for Clean Wisconsin. These issues weren’t resolved overnight then, and the ones we face today won’t be either. We’re in these for the long haul. Fortunately, our organization has the experience, resources and capacity to make a difference, but we also need your support to bolster and sustain this work. By investing in Clean Wisconsin, you’re investing in an organization that has a valuable historical perspective, significant program expertise, political and social capital, relevance, and fortitude to protect Wisconsin’s air, water and the special places we all love. Help us continue this critical work and thank you for your continued support of Clean Wisconsin.
By Ezra Meyer, Water Resources Specialist
Now that Waukesha has finally submitted its revised application to divert water from Lake Michigan, it goes without saying: This application is a big deal. The Great Lakes matter to us all. They are extremely valuable to our local, state and regional economies and to our families, to the quality of life in our communities and more. But some reasons — and the application’s handling by Wisconsin and the rest of the Great Lakes states — may not be so obvious. These reasons stem from key provisions of the Great Lakes Compact, which allows communities to divert Great Lakes water in extremely limited circumstances. The Compact’s key objective is to prevent Great Lakes water from being piped, shipped or otherwise diverted out of the Great Lakes by banning diversions out of the basin and directing the eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces bordering the lakes to use water efficiently and sustainably within the basin. By doing this, the Lakes can continue to drive a huge regional economy and serve as one of the world’s best success stories of large-scale ecosystem protection and restoration. There are just two exceptions to the Compact’s ban on diversions; one is a provision allowing a community located entirely outside the Great Lakes basin to apply if it is located in a county that lies partly in the basin. This type of diversion is subject to strict standards and can only be proposed in extreme circumstances. This is Waukesha’s predicament, and the city has to successfully make the case, based on science and law, that it has run out of safe, adequate drinking water for its current needs and that no reasonable local water supply alternatives exist. In addition, it must What we must get prove it has done all it can to right in this process: conserve water, both to lessen any impact on the Great Lakes • Allow science and to use water more efficientand the ly to curtail local shortages. law to guide Waukesha has a steep uphill decisions, climb. The city has to prove its not politics or PR spin current water supply is inadequate. Over the years, there has • Involve the been a major drawdown of the public deep sandstone aquifer that • Consider Waukesha’s water currently cumulative comes from, but there are signs impacts on it is leveling off, even reboundthe Great ing. What can Waukesha and Lakes of neighboring communities do other similar to reduce usage of that aquifer requests and make it more sustainable? • Set the right There also is the issue of radiprecedent um in Waukesha’s water, but many places around Wisconsin and the nation safely and economically treat drinking water to remove radium. Waukesha itself mostly meets safe drinking water requirements for radium now, in part because it blends shallow-aquifer groundwater with deep-aquifer water to reduce the concentration to safe levels. Waukesha also has to prove that it has no reasonable alternatives to a diversion, yet radium-free shallow-aquifer groundwater abounds in the Waukesha area. Using that water for its municipal water supply must be done carefully to avoid impacts to interconnected wetlands, springs, and
lakes, but we do that in many parts of Wisconsin and elsewhere around the nation. And if Waukesha needs to supplement its current usage in the future, experts at UW-Milwaukee and the U.S. Geological Survey have shown it’s possible. Waukesha does it now with some wells. Finally, Waukesha has to prove it has done all it can to conserve water. Wisconsin’s rules require that conservation measures — and diversion requests like Waukesha’s have to meet the highest bar of all — must be implemented before the submission of an application. Clean Wisconsin believes Waukesha is not meeting this requirement at this time. There is a lot at stake, and this will truly be a test of the Great Lakes Compact. As Waukesha’s diversion request plays out, we must all stay engaged and judge for ourselves how well the application and the process meet the requirements outlined in the Compact. We all need to make our voices heard.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs & Government Relations
PHOTO: EVAN HALPOP
Clean Wisconsin’s concerns about SB 302 • Creates additional problems in areas where groundwater resources are already strained • Could lead to more denials or court challenges for highcapacity permits • Puts additional strain on DNR resources, which are already stretched thin • Turns groundwater into a potential private property right by creating permanent water use permits that run with the land • Leaves DNR with no options for addressing groundwater problems in a way that balances property rights for lakefront homeowners, farmers and people with private drinking wells
Recycle to Reduce continued from cover walls contain mercury, and as more and more households and commercial buildings switch to efficient programmable models, proper disposal becomes even more important. It only takes one gram of mercury a year, less than the amount in a single thermostat, to contaminate a 20-acre lake over time. In addition, the health impacts of mercury are undeniable. Mercury is a potent toxin that can affect the brain, liver and kidneys, and cause developmental disorders
In mid-September, a new bill was introduced to address groundwater withdrawals from high-capacity wells in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, rather than being a positive step forward for protecting our precious groundwater resource, Senate Bill 302, introduced by Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) is another step back. It was just a few months ago when the Legislature adopted language as part of the state budget that prohibits neighbors from challenging a high-capacity well based on cumulative environmental impacts. This provision limited property owners’ ability to ensure they have a safe, adequate supply of drinking water and is especially disastrous for people who live in those areas of the state where water resources are already strained by large farms and frac sand operations. Now SB 302 comes along to take us back yet another step and endanger our groundwater. (See our concerns at left.) In 2004, the state legislature and, in fact, the same author of SB 302, passed the Groundwater Protection Act; at the time, it was a significant step forward in regulating high-capacity well withdrawals. It was a law created by a broad group of stakeholders, including Clean Wisconsin, and was a compromise acknowledged by everyone at the time as a first step forward for groundwater protection. But nearly 10 years later, despite additional problems on the landscape and recommendations from that same group of stakeholders on how to move forward, the Wisconsin Legislature has not taken those next needed steps. The existing law, while a good first step 10 years ago, There are 40% more just isn’t adequate anymore. high-capacity Lakes and rivers are still drywell applications ing up, private wells are being impacted, and people are conin Wisconsin cerned about their access to wacompared to ter. And while the problem is highlighted in Central Wiscon- just two years ago... and the trend does sin, problems with groundwater shortages in Northwestern not seem to be Wisconsin, Waukesha, Madislowing. son and Green Bay are also an issue. Because the Legislature has failed to act, concerned citizens are taking their case to the courts; a significant, unanimous decision was issued by the State Supreme Court in the Lake Beulah vs. Village of East Troy case in 2011. That decision recognized the constitutional right in Wisconsin that our water resources belong to everyone, and that giving water-use rights to one group over another is unconstitutional. The decision caused DNR to change the way it reviews permits and the extent to which high-capacity wells can impact the resource. In 10 years, this has been the only step forward for groundwater protection. SB 302 only takes us back. This bill will leave people with few options to prevent impacts to their own property by limiting how DNR regulates permits. SB 302 had a public hearing in late September. At the same time SB 302 is making its way through the legislative process, Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) has been convening a group of homeowners and stakeholders who are affected by the significant groundwater drawdowns in Central Wisconsin, where rivers and lakes are literally drying up.
Take action: http://bit.ly/groundh20
in children. Young children and developing fetuses are especially at risk. The EPA estimates that more than 10,000 children born in Wisconsin every year are prenatally exposed to elevated levels of mercury, an exposure that puts them at risk of having lower IQs and reduced memory. This bill will increase proper disposal by offering a $5 financial incentive for thermostats returned. This producer responsibility model, where producers are responsible for their product at the end of its life, has also been successful in addressing electronic waste in Wisconsin; the E-Waste
program has collected 100 million pounds in the three years since it started. It’s similar to Maine’s thermostat collection law, which has made that state the national leader for thermostat collection per capita. At present, Wisconsin relies on a voluntary, industry-led program. According to an April report, EPA conservatively estimates 70 tons to 100 tons of mercury in thermostats came out of service in the last decade, but the industry-led program recycled, at most, 8% in that time. If successful, Wisconsin would be the 12th state to pass a mercury thermostat disposal law.
Encourage your legislators to support this bill. Take action here: http://bit.ly/HgThermostats
New EPA Rules
The Bare Minimum Details sparse in GTAC’s initial application to mine iron in the Northwoods
By Elizabeth Wheeler, Staff Attorney
At an August 13 hearing at Hurley High School in Iron County, opponents to Gogebic Taconite’s (GTAC) proposed iron mine outnumbered supporters almost 10 to 1. While a variety of concerns were voiced, one thing came through loud and clear: GTAC has not provided sufficient information for anyone to adequately evaluate its preapplication and bulk sampling permit. GTAC’s sparse five-page narrative states that it proposes to remove either 2,400 or 4,000 tons of rock from the potential mine site for bulk sampling activities. They may or may not disturb sulfidecontaining rock. They may or may not need to conduct blasting. While GTAC has provided some information about the intended activities, the information is largely incomplete and conflicting.
Details sparse Indeed, GTAC’s information leads to far more questions than answers. By
GTAC’s own estimates, there would be more than enough waste from the mine to bury the entire city of Green Bay under a 10.5-feet-deep pile of waste containing sulfides, mercury and arsenic. What’s worse, there are no details about how the waste will be handled or whether the waste site will be lined. We have known all along that the mining area is located in a very environmentally sensitive area, but now we know that the mine site includes a portion of Tyler Forks, which is classified as an Outstanding Resource Water, meaning that it should be afforded the highest level of protection under Wisconsin law. The mine site also sits directly above the Kakagon Slough on the land of the Bad River Band of Chippewa Indians. The Slough has been named a Ramsar “Wetland of International Importance,” meaning that it is an important local and global resource. We also know that the Sloughs contain the largest remaining wild rice bed on Lake Superior, and that wild rice is especially susceptible to the sulfate pollution that is certain to result from mining activities. GTAC hasn’t provided much detail about how it will treat its wastewater or prevent runoff from the mine site or waste piles to protect these resources. The presence of asbestos-like materials in the rock, which might be released in the process of mining, has been confirmed by DNR. However, GTAC and the DNR both have maintained that more information is needed to determine the risk posed by the material. At the same time, similar mines in similar geologic formations have shown to increase the risk of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure. The preapplication also refers vaguely to the need for water for the mining and processing facilities, but it does not address what the source would be for the large volume of water needed. Similarly, the preapplication states that the amount of electricity required to operate the mine and related facilities is not available from existing sources, but does not state how much electricity is required or where it will come from.
The impacts from a facility like the one GTAC has proposed are massive. Years of baseline data must be collected to understand the potential impacts on the local ecosystems. We need thorough hydrology studies to understand how use of and discharges to surface waters and groundwater will affect upstream, downstream and groundwater resources in the region. We need to understand the impacts to air quality and how mercury will affect water quality. Because land, air and water are all so closely interrelated, it is important to study and understand how these interrelationships will play out if GTAC’s proposal to clear-cut thousands of acres of forest, dig up millions of tons of rock, dump untold tons of mining waste on site or backfill the pits with it, and process the ore rock is approved. Unfortunately, GTAC is already attempting to block the collection of this information by interested third parties. In late August, two state senators introduced a bill that proposes to close public access to the managed forest land that sits atop the 4,000 acres of the ore body GTAC hopes to mine. This bill would afford special tax treatment to GTAC, exempting it from paying back taxes on the lands to local municipalities if the lands are closed to the public. At present, this bill is awaiting Senate approval. It was heartening to see citizens in Hurley so dedicated to scrutinizing the proposal and speaking at the public hearing. We need all hands on deck to protect the exceptional natural resources of the Penokee Range. GTAC has shown its intent to provide only the bare minimum and avoid addressing the potentially severe environmental impacts that will result from this proposal. Meanwhile, DNR’s authority for due diligence was revoked with the iron mining law earlier this year, and opportunities for public comment were also reduced. Paying attention and holding GTAC accountable for providing the full amount of information necessary will be crucial as the company moves forward with bulk sampling and assembling its application, which could be submitted as early as next summer.
will help move Obama’s Climate Action Plan forward By Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director
Power plants are the largest stationary source of carbon pollution nationwide, accounting for nearly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas production. As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA is taking steps to reduce this pollution. And it’s a huge issue. More than 2.5 million public comments helped shape the EPA’s plan for new sources, which was released in September. That plan also accommodates numerous concerns expressed by industry and other stakeholders. A major change from 2012’s initial proposal is that EPA established separate standards for natural gas-fired plants and for coal-fired plants. Under the new rules, which will take a year to finalize, future coal plants cannot emit more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour; the current U.S. coal plant average is 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. New gas-fired plants would be limited to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. EPA will accept comments on this new proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. By next June, EPA will develop a proposed carbon pollution standard for existing power plants. As with September’s new source proposal, the EPA has provided materials for state leaders and other stakeholders to participate in an open and interactive dialogue through the fall. To get more detail about the information EPA is soliciting from stakeholders, contact the EPA or Keith Reopelle at email@example.com. In the meantime, please submit comments to the EPA regarding the new source rule; the comment period is open into November.
Submit your comments to EPA today: http://bit.ly/ epanewsourcecomments
Under the Lens
The science of the
Hail Mary By Tyson Cook, Staff Scientist
Fall means many things to many people in Wisconsin. School is in full swing, the weather is cooling down, and the leaves are changing. But perhaps most importantly, it means football is back. For many though, seeing the pigskin fly through the air over Lambeau Field is not just a sign of the changing season. Instead, it brings back memories of autumns past: tailgates, family and friends, learning to throw a spiral (or trying). And if you’re one who remembers the last of those, you probably remember how hard it was to do. If not, you may not realize it, but there’s a lot that goes into a good throw. So let’s take a break from environmental issues for a minute, and put the pigskin under the lens! First, you may know that a football thrown halfway between straight out and straight up will fly the farthest. You may also know that a lot of spin is key to a good football throw, called a “spiral.” That’s because if it’s done right, as the ball spins around quickly while flying through the air with the nose pointed ahead, the laces trace a long and arcing spiral through the air. The spin is what keeps the ball stable against puffs of wind in flight, kind of like the spinning wheels of a bike help keep it upright, or the spin of a Frisbee keeps it level. What you may not know is that the spin of the ball is what causes the nose to drop and follow the angle of flight. With the nose pointed slightly up, the spin means one side of ball is traveling more with the wind coming at it, and the other side is traveling with more against it. This makes a difference in relative wind speeds on each side, resulting in different amounts of wind drag. That difference in drag then causes a force called “torque” on the ball, which pulls the nose down until it’s straight into the path of travel. Without the spin, the ball would stay pointing at an upward angle even as it comes down, both slowing it down and making it harder to catch. The spin also does something else: It makes a ball thrown hard enough (like by a professional quarterback) veer to one side. The fastmoving ball can lift like a wing, which interacts with the spin to again cause a torque. This time though, the torque turns the nose slightly outward, which then causes the same wing-like lift off to the side. For a right-handed quarterback this makes the ball veer right, versus left for a left-handed quarterback. As it turns out though, a tiny bit of wobble can help by creating even another torque that helps keep the ball from veering, while too much wobble can cause instability in the flight. No wonder it’s so hard to get it just right!
Legislative Leaders Raised in the inner city of Cleveland, Rep. Janet Bewley quickly realized upon coming to Northern Wisconsin in 1977 that it would be where she would make her home and raise her family. After serving on the Ashland City Council for several years, Bewley was elected to represent the 74th Assembly District in 2010. The 74th is the largest of the 99 Assembly districts, covering approximately one-twelfth of the state and including all of Ashland, Bayfield, Iron and Price counties as well as parts of Douglas, Sawyer and Vilas counties. Bewley’s professional background includes work as a community relations officer for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and as dean of students for Northland College in Ashland, an environmental liberal arts institution. Her deep connection to the Northwoods guides her decisions in representing the 74th Assembly District. Her home in those early days didn’t have running water, and her family hauled water from the artesian wells of the area. “When you drink that water, when you cook with that water, when you wash your baby with that water, you have a relationship with the purity and value of water in a way that I wish we could all be reminded of constantly.” That special relationship with the water led her to speak out against the potentially devastating impacts of the iron mining law passed by the state legislature in March. While not opposed to mining and the potential jobs it could bring to the area, Bewley clearly remembers shaking hands with the Gogebic Taconite representative in 2010 who told her there would be no environmental law changes needed. “In Northern Wisconsin we are so blessed to have that water, that to imagine anything happening to it is beyond our ability to comprehend.” Bewley has been a strong advocate for the Northwoods beyond the mining debate. She is focused on continuing sustainable forestry practices, supporting local food and beverage production, finding ways to help small farms and orchards explore more value-added agricultural products and encouraging local aquaculture, breweries and wineries. She has fought against legislation that could further endanger our water and air, noting that destroying our environment is a sure way to destroy our economy. Rep. Bewley graciously spoke at Clean Wisconsin’s photography reception in February that highlighted the beauty and pristine natural resources of the Northwoods before the mining vote, saying, “Clean Wisconsin is a voice I trust and is one of the most important voices speaking out for our natural resources in the Capitol. They tell the truth, even if legislators don’t always want to hear it.” We appreciate those kind words and the passion with which Rep. Bewley represents the people of Northern Wisconsin and its resources. 6
Rep. Janet Bewley
74th Assembly District D-Ashland
office phone: 608-266-7690 Rep.Bewley@legis.wi.gov
A Beautiful Evening in Cedarburg
For nearly 10 years, long-time supporters and friends Inge and Frank Wintersberger have generously hosted Clean Wisconsin for an evening of environmental support and awareness. The Wintersbergers did it again this year on a beautiful August evening as Abby Vogen-Horn, regional vice president of Midwest Program Operations for Port Washingtonâ€™s Franklin Energy, spoke about Wisconsinâ€™s popular Focus on Energy program, and how Wisconsin residents can, and should, take advantage of its energy-efficiency programs for their homes. Now in its 12th year, Focus on Energy (www.focusonenergy.com) is not as widely used as it could and should be, says Vogen-Horn, adding that many homeowners simply are not aware of the immediate cost-saving and long-term environmental benefits the program offers. Right now, Clean Wisconsin is advocating for increased funding to support and expand this vital energy-efficiency and renewable energy program.
Thank you to Inge and Frank for years of gracious and generous hospitality and friendship! Thank you to speaker Abby Vogen-Horn, Regional Vice President of Midwest Program Operations, Franklin Energy! A very big thank you to our event co-hosts & sponsors:
Victoria & Rick Wintersberger Kim Wintersberger & Ahmad Ashour Mary & Norm Dyer Luke & Carol Fairborn Mark Redsten & Peggy Scallon, MD
Sally Duback & Warren Kreunen Jan & Bob Montgomery Karen & Mark Schwellinger L. William Staudenmaier Nancy & Rick Stolowski
Thank you to all who attended, as well as those who could not attend but financially supported Clean Wisconsin!
Photo: Mario Quintana
Hosts Inge & Frank Wintersberger with speaker Abby Vogen-Horn
Co-hosts Ahmad Ashour & Rick Wintersberger
Co-hosts Norm & Mary Dyer
Published on Oct 25, 2013