Issuu on Google+

Defender Winter 2013

we believe everyone deserves clean water and clean air join us:

Our Legislative Priorities By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs & Government Relations

Focus on Energy Wisconsin has historically led the country in energy efficiency, due in large part to the statewide Focus on Energy program. Funding for that program was cut by $60 million in the 2011 state budget, even though a December 2011 Legislative Audit Bureau report confirms that Focus saves homeowners and businesses $2.30 for every $1 invested in the program. We are working to restore funding by building relationships with legislative leaders and looking at options to maximize the job-creation and money-saving benefits of the program.

Mining We continue to fight changes to current law that roll back environmental protections, silence the voice of the public and remove decision-making from the permit process. Read more about the current mining debate on page 4.

Recycling The 2011 Budget slashed funds for recycling by 40%. Clean Wisconsin will continue to fight to restore those cuts and promote the popular recycling program.

The last legislative session brought some of the worst bills Clean Wisconsin has seen in its more than four decades of fighting for Wisconsin’s environment. Luckily, with a strong presence in the Capitol, coupled with the dedication of our members, we were able to defeat many of the most egregious bills. We expect to see more attempts to roll back environmental legislation this session. We will vigilantly watch for attempts to weaken environmental law, and use all the tools at our disposal to fight any attempt to roll back protections for our air and water. But it’s not all bad; we also are working to move a number of policies forward.

Clean Wisconsin 634 W. Main St., #300 Madison, WI 53703-2500

Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1291 Madison, WI

Here are this session’s priorities.

Wind Siting Clean Wisconsin continues to oppose efforts to repeal the wind siting rules, which create a fair and consistent structure for developing wind in Wisconsin. Without consistent statewide regulations, Wisconsin loses the millions of dollars in economic development benefits that the wind industry offers our state, while continuing to rely on dirty fossil fuels for our energy production.

Clean Energy Choice

Up-front financing costs can be a significant barrier for a farmer, homeowner or business owner who wants to install a renewable energy system. Clean energy choice allows people to host a renewable energy system while having a third partydesign, install, operate and maintain the system on their property, much like leasing a car, and reap the environmental and economic benefits of having direct access to a clean, reliable energy source. While more than 22 states and many national businesses prosper as a result of this policy, current ambiguities in Wisconsin law make it difficult for third-party providers to offer residents and businesses this option. By changing current law to allow a third party to own a renewable energy system and sell the power back to the host farmer, homeowner or business through a clean energy contract, we can break down a key accessibility barrier to clean, renewable energy. Read more on page 6. See “Priorities” on page 3

Also in this issue

The Same Old: The “new” mining bill Clean Energy Choice Do The Math tour


Taking Charge &

TAKING ACTION

Actions you can take for clean water, clean air and clean energy

Let’s Do It Again! Last year, we stopped the environmentally destructive mining bill by showing our elected leaders time and again that we do not support changes to Wisconsin’s mining laws at the expense of our environment. Now that a new bill has been released, we need to do that again. Many elected leaders read the editorial page of their local newspapers to take a pulse of the public and gauge what they think of current issues. As such, we’d love to work with you to write a letter to the editor on the mining issue. If you are interested in doing, please contact Jenny at 608-251-7020 x18 or jlynes@cleanwisconsin.org to get started.

Speaking of Mining... Republicans leaders want to have the mining bill passed by March, which means things will move fast and furious, and we’ll need your quick action. As the issue progresses, we will always have the latest mining action available at www.cleanwisconsin.org/miningaction. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and if you haven’t, join our email Action Network at www. cleanwisconsin.org. That way, you’ll never miss an opportunity to be part of the action!

And the Envelope Please Something as simple as a little reply envelope can make a huge difference. Really. It seems like such a small gesture, but the impact on our work can be enormous. We all agree that we want and deserve clean water and clean air. We want and deserve clean energy alternatives. We need to protect the special places that make Wisconsin wonderful. And that is what Clean Wisconsin, along with all our members, is doing. Here is where the envelope comes in. The little envelope tucked inside this newsletter makes it easy for you to help Clean Wisconsin be a strong and effective voice for Wisconsin’s environment. Our work is possible thanks to simple gestures like these. Simply write a check for whatever amount you chose, slip it inside the envelope, stamp it and drop it in the mail. You can even donate via credit card. That’s how easy it is. Perhaps it took you a minute, maybe two. But the act of making a contribution to Clean Wisconsin has a huge impact. You are helping support clean water, clean air and clean energy for Wisconsin. Thank you!

Welcome, Marcy

• 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. 1 Issue date: January 2013 ©2013 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved. ISSN # 1549-8107

2

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 Becky Bains Interim Staff Attorney Marcy Brant Staff Scientist Tyson Cook Chief Financial Officer Nick Curran, CPA Development Assistant Jake Immel Water Program Coordinator Emily Jones Membership & Grants Manager Jenny Lynes Water Program Director Melissa Malott Director of Programs & Government Relations Amber Meyer Smith

Clean Wisconsin is happy to have Marcy Brant as part of our legal team for the next few months as staff attorney Elizabeth Wheeler enjoys her new baby and maternity leave. Marcy interned with Clean Wisconsin in the summer of 2012 and is currently working on Clean Wisconsin’s PSC cases, including the Highland Wind and Weston 3 ReACT applications, and will also be involved with a Dane County Circuit Court case regarding the Weston air permit. As the legislative session gets underway, she will be providing analysis of introduced bills. Originally from Northern Illinois, Marcy earned her J.D. with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law, and is a member of the Wisconsin State Bar. While in law school, she interned for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) in Washington, D.C.; served as senior articles editor of Iowa’s international law journal and secretary of the Equal Justice Foundation; and worked in Iowa’s legal clinic to represent clients in immigration proceedings and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Marcy earned her B.A. from Grinnell College and worked as an editor in Vermont and Wisconsin before attending law school. We are lucky to have Marcy assisting our busy legal department!

Stay informed on what’s happening in our state government

634 W. Main St., #300 • Madison WI 53703 Phone: 608-251-7020 www.cleanwisconsin.org

Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper.

Water Resources Specialist Ezra Meyer General Counsel Katie Nekola Senior Policy Director Keith Reopelle Midwest Clean Energy Coordinator Sarah Shanahan Clean Energy Specialist Katy Walter Creative Director Amanda Wegner Communications Director Sam Weis Staff Attorney Elizabeth Wheeler Office Manager David Vitse

BOARD Chair Carl Sinderbrand, Madison Vice Chair Margi Kindig, Madison Treasurer Gof Thomson, New Glarus Secretary Gary Goyke, Madison Belle Bergner, Milwaukee Phyllis Dube, McFarland Sue Durst, Verona Shari Eggleson, Washburn Luke Fairborn, Whitefish Bay Scott Froehlke, Montello Chuck McGinnis, Middleton Lucia Petrie, Milwaukee Karen Sands, Whitefish Bay Board Emeritus Kate Gordon, San Francisco

Winter 2013


“Priorities,” from cover

Net Metering Net metering is a policy tool that allows farmers, as well as businesses and homeowners, to offset their electricity use by generating their own onsite. Like rollover minutes for a cell phone, net metering provides credits for extra electricity produced that a farmer can use in the future and ensures that owners get the same rate that they pay the utility for their electricity. However, Wisconsin’s current policy discourages onsite electricity production, as most utilities only allow small projects to qualify for net metering. To make renewable energy systems more affordable and accessible, Wisconsin needs a fair and uniform net metering policy across all utilities. Net metering is especially important for farmers who want to install digesters, which produce energy from manure and other waste and provide economic benefits while creating a solution for waste disposal.

Groundwater Protection Since the original Groundwater Protection Act was signed into law in 2003, several needed points of clarification have been identified, including outlining the review process for high-capacity wells that have the potential to adversely impact surface waters, extending groundwater protections to smaller springs, and authorizing an updated inventory of the state’s springs.

Pharmaceutical Waste

Unused prescription drugs are a problem for our environment. Pharmaceuticals may contain mercury, selenium and other heavy metals that can pollute our air, land and water, and the presence of some pharmaceuticals in our waterways have been linked to abnormalities and impaired reproductive systems in some aquatic species. While some communities take initiative by holding drug recycling events or sponsoring disposal bins, those costs come on the backs of already strapped local budgets and ultimately on taxpayers. In addition, a new Wisconsin DNR and UW-Extension study revealed that despite voluntary efforts, only 2% of unused prescription drugs were safely disposed of in 2011. For many decades, Clean Wisconsin has pushed for recycling to be the responsibility of the product manufacturer, rather than making taxpayers responsible for their products at the end of their life. This model has worked well for the successful electronic waste recycling program that Clean Wisconsin helped pass in 2009, and we will be looking for legislative support for a manufacturer-sponsored drug collection program that is convenient and accessible to keep drugs out of our waterways and protect public health.

News&Notes

New Reports Showcase Rural Energy, Climate Change Impacts

This fall Clean Wisconsin released a new Lester LIbrary/Flickr report, “Down onPublic the Farm,” which demonstrates the incredible benefits renewable energy can provide for Wisconsin’s farmers. The report highlights five farmers around the state whose investments in clean energy have helped bolster their bottom lines while stabilizing costs. For example, farmer Richard Wagner of Weyauwega’s Quantum Dairy uses a manures digester to turn the waste from his 500 milking cows into clean, renewable energy. Wagner is able to save money on bedding and even receives income from the sale of electricity, carbon offsets and bedding solids. Find it at cleanwisconsin.org/ruralenergyreport. In November, Clean Wisconsin released a timely report that shows how this year’s weird weather may be a snapshot of what’s to come. The report, “New Normal,” highlights research from the Wisconsin Initia-

from the Executive Director We are at the start of another legislative session that promises to be a difficult one for environmental issues. State legislators have already introduced a bill that would roll back environmental protections for mining, and they’ve threatened to make it more difficult to build wind farms; we are facing an uphill battle as defenders of Wisconsin’s clean air and water. Mark Redsten Despite these challenges, I am opExecutive Director timistic we can defend Wisconsin’s environmental protections, and perhaps even move the needle forward. My optimism comes from our dedicated staff, and the strength we have in you, our thousands of supporters. This isn’t the first time we’ve faced challenging times, and we know it won’t be our last. As such, Clean Wisconsin has been working hard to ensure the voice of common sense and scientifically sound environmental protection is heard loud and clear. In 2012, we spread the word about what was at stake for our environment; as a result, our list of supporters exploded! Last session, we helped send 48,000 emails to our state leaders; this session, we will need twice as much support to ensure our leaders hear that we want our environment protected. To pull this off, we’ll need your help: continue contacting your legislators and ask your friends, family and neighbors to do the same. Watch out for our email action alerts, join our growing ranks of supporters on Facebook and Twitter, and do what you can to support Clean Wisconsin’s work financially. The power of your actions helped us achieve many important victories last year. Together, we defeated a dangerous mining bill, fought back attempts to attack wind energy, restored recycling funds in the state budget, and successfully helped improve our electric power sector by cleaning up old coal plants and promoting clean, renewable energy projects. In the coming pages, I invite you to read about the challenges and opportunities we see in 2013. As you read, please think about the Wisconsin you want to see. If that Wisconsin is one with clean air, lakes, and rivers for our families to enjoy, and a strong economy powered by clean energy, then apathy is not an option. Help us protect Wisconsin’s environment! Your voice will be the difference!

tive on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) to illustrate how climate change could negatively impact agriculture, tourism and public health in the state. The top findings include: • Twice as many 90 degree days by 2050 • 14 fewer inches of snow per year • Increased flooding and droughts throughout the state Read more at cleanwisconsin.org/newnormal.

Fresh Faces, Cool Places Thanks to all who attended our Fresh Faces, Cool Places event at Redamté Coffee House in November! We raised over $400 for Clean Wisconsin. Over 40 guests and members gathered to hear executive director Mark Redsten give an update on mining in Wisconsin, while Matt Earley, Just Coffee Cooperative’s Fair Trade expert, provided insight on the national Fair Trade movement. Both are facing potential rollbacks of laws and regulations by larger companies looking to make a quick buck, without respect to the integrity of the environment or the farmers, families, workers and communities these areas support. Thank you to Brad Werntz of PEMBA Serves, Inc., Patagonia and Boulders Climbing Gym in Madison for their generous raffle donations!

www.cleanwisconsin.org 3


The Same Old Same "New" mining bill isn't new at all, but a reboot of the last By Amber Meyer Smith, Director of Programs & Government Relations

Throughout the fall campaign season, legislators professed they wanted a mining bill that protects our health and the environment. They threw around phrases like “environmentally responsible mining” and “no changes to environmental standards.” Apparently those campaign promises were forgotten quickly, because the new mining bill is virtually identical to last year’s bill that failed after legislators heard months of public opposition and concern about environmental rollbacks. On January 15, Republicans unveiled what they said would be an updated mining bill. Now introduced as Assembly Bill 1/Senate Bill 1, they intend to pass it quickly, with what could be the one and only public hearing held on January 23. I wish I could say there were improvements, but there are not. I wish I could say that they gave up on cutting the public voice out of the mining permit process, but they didn’t. I wish I could say the bill wasn’t riddled with environmental rollbacks, but it is. And I wish that we could still count on the DNR to be able to carefully review a permit and do what’s best to protect our natural resources, but under this bill, that would be very difficult to do thanks to its strict, shortened timeline. The worst news is that defeating the mining bill will be an uphill climb, since Republicans now have more votes in the Senate than they did when the bill was defeated by just one vote last session. We know there are legislators on both sides of the aisle who value natural resources, but they need to hear loud and clear that this bill could do irreparable damage to our valued waterways and natural resources in Wisconsin.

What does the bill do?

The environmental rollbacks that were in last year’s bill are virtually the same. The bill rolls back groundwater and wetland protections, eases protections against acid mine drainage, and changes the standards by which DNR uses to issue or deny a permit. Some specific lowlights include: UU Allows mining companies to fill lake beds, in direct opposition to the Constitution, which guarantees the state’s waters be held in trust for ALL Wisconsin citizens and not by private entities. UU Allows waste to be dumped into sensitive wetlands, floodplains and shoreland. UU Doubles the distance of groundwater surrounding a mine that can legally be polluted.

Photo: DEREK JOHNSON

UU Changes the standard of protecting public

health and welfare from “will not” cause harm to “is not likely to” cause harm. UU Sets a 480-day timeline, which guarantees a separate federal and state review process. UU Removes the meaningful contested case hearings before a permit has been issued that allow the voice of the public to be heard and impact a permit. UU Caps mining company permit review fees, leaving the public to pick up the tab. UU Exempts iron mining from the sulfide Mining Moratorium, even though there are sulfides known to be present in the area. When exposed to oxygen, sulfides can create ecologically devastating acid mine drainage. UU Directs mining revenues partly to the beleaguered Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that has recently been under fire for losing track of more than $8 million in loans it gave to state businesses. These are just of few of the more egregious changes the bill makes to current mining law. Want the full picture? Read the analysis and see our factsheet at www.cleanwisconsin.org/ mining.

What happens next?

We should be able to count on a thorough DNR review, but by shortening the timeline for a state permit without care as to how the federal government’s review will take place, we basically make the state review meaningless. The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for reviewing mining permits at the federal level, has made it clear their permits take two to four years or more. Yet AB/SB 1 has a rigid 480-day timeframe that all but assures the DNR and Corps will conduct separate permit reviews, causing longer delays, higher costs and more uncertainty for the mining company. The Corps has also raised issues with the standards the new bill would put into place, for example, presuming that significant adverse impacts to wetlands are necessary, a standard that the Corps does not apply. In addition, the Bad River Tribe, whose reservation lies in the area of the proposed mine, has been granted the authority to set water quality standards on its land that are stricter than state limits. That authority could certainly come into play. Attorneys for Clean Wisconsin and many other groups are watching the language of this legislation carefully. We will continue to evaluate all opportunities, whether in the Legislature or the courts.

We know there are legislators on both sides of the aisle who value natural resources, but they need to hear loud and clear that this bill could do irreparable damage to our valued waterways and natural resources in Wisconsin. Here at Clean Wisconsin, we have our robust team working around the clock on this issue. Our communications team is helping spread the message about this bill to members, media and the public. Our staff scientist is helping understand what the policy language will actually mean for our environment. Our attorneys are analyzing the bill and looking for legal angles, and our government relations staffers bring a combined 60-plus years of Capitol experience to our lobbying efforts.

But we can’t do it without you.

What you can do One thing is crystal clear:

Wisconsinites don’t want our environmental protections weakened. But when one company is allowed to come into Wisconsin and rewrite our mining laws, there is no doubt it’s for profits over protection. We will continue to work hard on this,

but there is no more powerful voice than yours. Please, 1. Contact your State Senator and State Representative.

2. Contact the Governor. 3. Tell your friends to do the same. 4. Things will be moving fast, so stay

connected with us for the most up-to-date information on the mining bill. Sign up for our email Action Network at cleanwisconsin. org, follow us on Facebook and join us on Twitter.


Photo:SEN. BOB JAUCH

UPDATE

Photo: MARIO QUINTANA

By Ezra Meyer, Water Resources Specialist

You’re Invited!

Beautiful Imagery, Powerful Voices Photography Reception

featuring images showing what’s at stake in the mine fight Join Sen. Bob Jauch and Rep. Janet Bewley for a Photography Reception showcasing the people and places of the Bad River Watershed, which has been targeted for a mine. Come to the reception to socialize, learn about Clean Wisconsin’s work on the issue, and hear from the legislators who know the area best.

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 5-7 p.m. Clean Wisconsin office, Madison

RSVPs appreciated; contact Amanda at awegner@cleanwisconsin.org or 608-251-7020 x15

Photo: MARIO QUINTANA

Photo: DEREK JOHNSON

Great Lakes

Compact news Last fall, Waukesha’s Water Utility secured Oak

Creek as a potential water wholesaler in its bid for Lake Michigan water. DNR is gathering and analyzing a few final pieces of information before it can release its draft environmental impact statement, technical review and decision on the application, now expected as early as April. One key piece of outstanding information, due to the DNR by the end of January, is whether the Town of Waukesha wants to be included in the City of Waukesha’s future water service area. We have long expressed concern that Waukesha’s proposed expanded water supply service area may not meet the Compact’s strong requirements limiting diversions outside of the Basin only to places lacking any reasonable alternative water supply options. Unlike the city, the town and other areas outside current city boundaries that were included in the application have no current or future water supply concerns. The DNR is currently evaluating an alternative route by which Waukesha could return the water it proposes to take from Lake Michigan, as required by the Compact and Wisconsin law. This alternative would involve discharging treated water into the Root River near its headwaters near Waukesha and sending it down the river to downtown Racine where the Root River enters Lake Michigan. The question remains whether returning water through the Root River can be done in an environmentally safe way. Waukesha has at least one other potentially viable option for returning water to the lake, which would involve pumping their raw sewage to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District for treatment.

S.S. Badger With the expiration of the SS Badger car ferry’s fed-

Photo: MARIO QUINTANA

Legislative Leaders

eral permit and the failure of a last-ditch effort in December to exempt it from clean water regulations, the EPA anticipates making a preliminary permitting decision by March 1, followed by an opportunity for public comment. EPA’s final word on the permit will determine whether or not the ship can continue to annually dump over 500 tons of toxic coal ash into Lake Michigan, an amount five times greater than the combined annual discharges of all Great Lakes freighters.

Rep. Cory Mason

Cory Mason has been representing Racine in the State Assembly since 2006. His lifelong commitment to the protection of our natural resources has made him a key voice on environmental issues in the Legislature. Mason is a sixth-generation Racine resident. A water enthusiast, he grew up canoeing, fishing and hiking and fighting for clean water. He is an active member of the Root River Council, and has spearheaded the revitalization efforts for the waterway. He is a former board member of the River Alliance of Wisconsin and serves on the Wisconsin Coastal Management Council. Mason’s conservation ethic runs deep, and he credits his wife and three young children with keeping his passion for the issues strong. “I push to enact strong environmental laws and fight vigorously against rollbacks to current protections because this I want to ensure that my children and all of Wisconsin’s children have access to our state’s incredible natural resources.” Mason is the ranking Assembly Democratic member of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which reviews the state biennial budget. “Many people aren’t aware of how much the budget process has to do with the environment, but the budget is how financial resources are allocated, so the impacts on DNR programs and enforcement abilities can be tremendous,” Mason says pointing to cuts in the recycling program, stewardship program and Focus on Energy program made in last session’s budget. “I plan to work with groups like Clean Wisconsin to fight against more raids of funding dedicated to natural resource protection, and to raise the public’s awareness of how the budget either protects 66th Assembly District or destroys our state’s vital natural resources.” D-Racine Mason previously served as the ranking Democratic member of the Assembly Natural Resources office phone: 888-534-0066 Committee, and championed environmental bills to recreate the Wisconsin Civilian Conservation Rep.Mason@legis.wi.gov Corps; invest in clean energy jobs, to ensure that children’s products are free of toxic chemicals; improve energy efficiency in state buildings; better manage our state’s dams and waterways; and encourage healthier and more environmentally friendly cleaning standards in our state’s schools. Mason has been a leading voice calling for protection of our Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp, and he played a leading role in passing a strong Great Lakes Compact. Mason has received several awards for his work championing environmental protections and consistently enjoys a top voting record for his commitment to conservation. Clean Wisconsin appreciates Mason’s leadership on these issues and looks forward to working with him when the 2013-2015 Biennial Budget is introduced in February. www.cleanwisconsin.org 5


Getting

in Here

5 undeniable climate change facts

Under the Lens

Clean Energy Choice

2012 was the hottest year in U.S. history

By Tyson Cook, Staff Scientist

118 Americans died of the West Nile virus, 2012 Tropical, vectorborne diseases spread farther & faster with warmer weather

Named the 4th fastest-warming state in the nation 1970-2011. 0.616° F per decade temperature increase

Australia added these new colors to its weather map to show record high temps

If you pay an electricity bill in Wisconsin, you’ve probably noticed that the price of that electricity keeps going up, and we hope this inspires you to install as many energy-efficiency measures as possible to save both your pocketbook and the environment. But we all know there is going to be an eventual limit to how much you can cut back, especially if you’re looking to enjoy a frosty beverage while watching Aaron Rodgers connect with Jordy Nelson in full HD glory next fall. But there is an alternative to shelling out your hard-earned cash to a coal-burning utility. While the price you pay per kilowatt hour of electricity keeps going up, the price for solar panels to make your own power keeps coming down. Unfortunately though, the price tag for a solar system is still a lot more cash than most families have on hand. That’s where renewable energy financing comes in. Instead of paying the whole cost of a renewable energy system up front, financing allows you to pay it off over time, often with immediate savings on your total energy bill. One particular type of financing that is taking off across the country is called “solar leasing.” In a solar lease, a company installs a solar system on your roof to offset some or all of your electrical usage, and you simply pay them a monthly fee. Like leasing a car, the installation company still owns it, which means they often maintain and repair it, too. As a result, in states like California that are ahead of the curve on solar power, more people choose to lease than own solar systems: in 2012, third-party (not utility or customer) ownership accounted for 72% of new systems in the California Solar Initiative.

Why isn’t this catching on in Wisconsin? It’s not for lack of sun ... Instead, the law is unclear. So why isn’t this catching on in Wisconsin? It’s not for lack of sun — Wisconsin has a much better solar resource than Germany, the world leader in solar power. Instead, the law is unclear. Our electricity market is highly regulated, and companies that want to lease solar panels in the state can’t just sign up to sell electricity (which they would technically be doing, since they own the systems and you’re just paying for the output). The lack of clarity in the law makes it difficult to make any headway on this imporant issue. That’s where “Clean Energy Choice” comes in. Clean Energy Choice is a policy option that exists in some form or another in 22 states and allows non-utility companies to sell electricity to customers when that electricity is generated on the customer’s property. This year, Clean Wisconsin is working to advance Clean Energy Choice in Wisconsin. One day you may actually be able to get electricity from your own roof by having one of those companies take care of the system while watching the Packers with a fatter wallet and a clearer conscience. 6

people who believe climate change 18% %isn’tofreal. Also, % of people who believe the sun revolves around Earth

Sources

1. National Climatic Data Center, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2. Center for Disease Control & Prevention 3. NOAA State of the Climate Report & Climate Central 4. Australian Bureau of Meteorology 5. www,pollingreport.com & Gallup Poll

It’s a Wrap

Our candidate education project By David Vitse, Project Coordinator

With the 2013 legislative session underway, it is time to reflect on the many successes that have occurred during the busy 2012 election cycle for the candidate education project. With the help of our business partners, we met with dozens of candidates in last year’s election and and over 20 successfully elected legislators from both sides of the aisle. Attendees report that our efforts were helpful and the information and connections we helped facilitate valuable. In addition to meeting with candidates and legislators, we have met with many new businesses working to make clean energy and energy efficiency more economically viable. At each stop, we built new partnerships with utilities, homebuilders, manufacturers, breweries and contractors that will help ensure Sen. Rob Cowles (right) talks with that job creation through clean Joe Nagan, owner of Home Building Services, at the Green energy and energy efficiency re- Technology Bay candidate education forum last main an important issue during July. the 2013 legislative session.

As the Chair of the Energy Committee, I found the information presented to be very valuable, and I especially appreciated Clean Wisconsin’s ability to bring businesses and legislators from both parties together to show how energy policy can affect Wisconsin’s economy and small businesses. —Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay Winter 2013


Simple Math

Photo: Mario Quintana

Bill McKibben’s “Do The Math” Tour

In November, the nation’s leading environmentalist teamed up with Clean Wisconsin to come to Madison to talk simple math. Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, explained that we can only burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide to stay below 2°C of warming. Anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. Unfortunately, fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And, they plan to burn it all. Through his national “Do the Math” tour, McKibben and 350.org sought to build a movement strong enough to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis and convince us to stop the fossil fuel corporations from burning all that dirty fuel. Much like their other stops across the country, the show in Madison was a massive success, with a sold-out crowd at the Madison Masonic Center and gripping speeches from the 350.org Madison Climate Action Team, university student leaders, Clean Wisconsin’s executive director Mark Redsten, Secretary of State and Clean Wisconsin co-founder Doug La Follette, and McKibben himself. The tour launched an unprecedented national campaign to cut off the industry’s financial and political support by urging all of us to push our schools, churches and governments to divest from fossil fuels. Clean Wisconsin, meanwhile, continues our hard work in the fight against fossil fuels. We work daily as the leader in regional efforts to combat climate change and promote clean energy instead of dirty fossil fuels. This winter, we continue work to persuade the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate strong air pollution rules, close down unnecessary coal plants, and promote the widespread use of clean energy across the state and region.

Thanks to everyone who attended and to our generous event sponsors!

Learn more at www.cleanwisconsin.org/climatechange.

Thanks again to all those who attended and supported of the work of Clean Wisconsin!

Reopelle House Party In December, senior policy director Keith Reopelle and his wife, Trish, hosted a Clean Wisconsin fundraiser in their home in Marshall. The event was an opportunity for friends of Clean Wisconsin to talk about the environmental opportunities and challenges ahead of us, and enjoy the Reopelle’s wonderful home.

Todd Ambs • Peter Anderson & Molly Plunkett • Aaron Bibb & Elizabeth Wheeler • Beth Bier & Casey Eggleston • Peter Bock & Kathleen Falk • John Clancy • Dennis Dums • Luke & Carol Fairborn • Matthew & Katherine Frank • Scott Froehlke • State Representative Evan Goyke • Gary Goyke & Nancy Rottier • Pat Henderson • Ann Jablonski • State Representative Robb Kahl • Tom Karman • Margi & David Kindig • Kris Krause • Kathy Kuntz • Bill McClenahan • Chuck McGinnis • Amber Meyer Smith • Senator Mark Miller • Cynthia Moore • Annemarie Newman • Andy Olsen • Peggy Scallon & Mark Redsten • Mary Schlaefer • Mike Shapiro & Marcy Brant • Carl Sinderbrand • Doug Steege & Kristine Euclide • Mary & Roy Thilly • Gof & Mary Thomson • Sam Weis • Don Wichert


Defender, Winter 2013