Page 1

SPRING 2007 • Vol. 37, No. 2

Clean Wisconsin wins court victory against giant “fish-destroying machine”

Katie Nekola

I

n a decision issued early this March, a Dane County judge ruled that the water permit for the largest power plant construction project in state history does not comply with federal law, and must go back for review by a state administrative law judge. Clean Wisconsin has long maintained that the cooling system for the new Elm Road Generating Station in Oak Creek is illegal, and challenged the DNR discharge permit in hearings one year ago in Milwaukee. The new plant would use open-cycle cooling, a 1920s-era technology that has been banned in Illinois for thirty years and in other states as well. In a recent speech, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. described these water intake systems as “fish-destroying machines.”

Clean Wisconsin 122 State Street Suite 200 Madison,WI 53703-4333

The cooling system would take in 1.8 billion gallons of water each day, enough to supply the city of Chicago. The water not lost to evaporation would be returned to the lake 10-15 degrees warmer, creating the potential for thermal shock to aquatic organisms and disrupting the natural spawning cycle. In addition, millions of small fish would be killed as they are trapped against the screens and sucked into the pipe. The discharge pipe would, in turn, dump mercurycontaminated water into Lake Michigan. The decision to allow such an outmoded and damaging cooling system was based on the DNR’s determination that the power plant could be defined as an “existing facility,” a critical distinction because Continued on PAGE 9 ☛

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

INSIDE Clean Wisconsin conference; What’s inside; Where is your last Defender? . .2 Clean Wisconsin’s legislative agenda; Doug LaFollette invests in us . . . . . .3 Slowing global warming; Global warming and water conference . . . . . . . .4 Wisconsin watersheds; National watershed conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Mercury petition served to DNR; Fishing season is coming . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Air rules in Wisconsin’s legislature; Clean air goes to Supreme Court . . . . .7 Vulnerable lakes; Support Asian carp legislation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Nuclear madness; Legislative agenda continued; Victory continued . . . . . .9 More alphabet soup; Reducing polluted runoff; Fishing continued . . . . . .10 Member survey results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Part of the solution?; UW-La Crosse’s green building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Eco news; Clean Wisconsin’s newly released reports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Taking charge and taking action – learn what you can do . . . . . . 14-15 Kids’ Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16


Kick off Earth Week!

C

lean Wisconsin and the Dominican Sisters of the Sinsinawa Mound are teaming up to host a conference focusing on regional water issues and global warming. Kick off Earth week by joining us! Learn about the global warming threats to our waters and way of life, and what you can do to protect and improve our natural resources.

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 officials and corporations 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 and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play.

STAFF Executive Director

Mark Redsten Program and Communications Program Director

Keith Reopelle Energy Program Director

Katie Nekola Water Program Director

Melissa Malott

April 14, 2007 9:00am – 5:30pm Sinsinawa Mound Conference Center (10 minutes from Dubuque, Iowa) Register online at www.CleanWisconsin.org or www.sinsinawa.org or call (608) 748-4411.

Turn to page 4 in this issue for more conference details.

Communications Director

Joyce Harms Communications Creative Manager

Shauna Cook Water Specialist

Will Hoyer Staff Scientist

Peter Taglia Grassroots Organizer

Ryan Schryver Energy Program Specialist

Don’t miss the following articles inside… • The Defender survey results on page 11. • Taking charge and taking action on pages 14 and 15 – this is our new one-stop-shop offering advice on some things you can do to promote clean water, clean air and clean energy. • Clean Wisconsin is releasing two new reports. Check out the details on page 13.

Elizabeth Wheeler Interns

Jeremy Jansen Breeanna Breckel Membership and Development Development Director

Brian Kelly Membership & Development Manager

Becky Weber

Where is your last Defender? he last issue of The Defender was mailed on January 2nd. However, for some odd reason, it did not reach some of you until the end of January. It’s even possible some of you didn’t receive a copy at all. In my attempts to track the missing pieces, I discovered one of the reasons why bulk mail is so much cheaper than first class mail…it is not as easily traceable. The post office shows the mailing of the issue was in order. However we know a number of members did not receive it in the beginning of January as planned. We are fairly certain that all issues were delivered to our members, albeit some of them were late. But if you did not receive The Defender (Winter 2007; Vol. 37, No. 1) and want a copy, you can obtain one in the publications section of our website at www.CleanWisconsin.org; or if you do not have Internet access, call (608) 251-7020, extension 15 to request a copy. Make sure to leave your request along with your name and full address. - The Editor

T

Development Assistants

Elsa Nekola Bridget Barry Finance and Administration Financial Manager

Barb Kneer Office Administrator

Laurie Maloney Financial Assistant

Holly Brassington

BOARD Pam McGillivray – Chair (Madison) Will Fantle – Secretary (Eau Claire) Gof Thomson – Treasurer (New Glarus)

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, non-profit environmental advocacy organization. A one-year subscription membership is $30. Please direct correspondence to the address above. Volume 37, No. 2 Issue date: April 2007 ©2007 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved

Mark Gill (Milwaukee) Kate Gordon (Madison) Gary Goyke (Madison) Susan Greenfield (Racine) Paul Linzmeyer (Green Bay) David Wandel (Madison) Guy Wolf (Stoddard)

Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper.

ISSN # 1549-8107

2

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


Clean Wisconsin’s 2007-08 legislative agenda: Innovative solutions to pressing environmental challenges Keith Reopelle

H

ere is a brief look at Clean Wisconsin’s 2007-08 legislative agenda. We’re working hard to provide innovative solutions to pressing environmental challenges.

Great Lakes Compact: Protecting our greatest natural resource Clean Wisconsin worked hard to support the development of the Great Lakes Sustainable Water Resources Agreement signed by Governor Doyle, two Canadian Premiers, and the other seven Great Lakes States Governors on December 13, 2005. In order for that agreement to become a binding Compact that protects the Great Lakes for future generations, all eight states must now adopt the Compact in their respective states. Keith Reopelle, Clean Wisconsin’s Program Director, serves on a Legislative Council Study Committee that is drafting legislation that would ratify and implement the Compact in Wisconsin. The other seven states are also working to pass this legislation, although

Wisconsin is the only state - through this Compact Study Committee - that is developing implementing language that defines how the Compact will work in Wisconsin, along with the ratifying language signed by all eight states. The Compact is designed to prevent major diversions of water out of the Great Lakes Basin. However, it also sets standards for Great Lake water use by municipalities and industries within the basin. A key aspect of this legislation is to create the first water conservation program in the state to protect and restore depleted groundwater supplies in addition to protecting the Great Lakes for future generations.

Energy efficiency: Cornerstone of a clean energy future After leading the effort to pass a major clean energy bill last spring, Clean Wisconsin will again make energy efficiency its highest energy priority for improving the state’s energy policy. One bill that Clean Wisconsin is helping legislators introduce Continued on PAGE 9 ☛

Clean Wisconsin/Environmental Decade founder Doug LaFollette invests in organization’s future Brian Kelly

B

ack in 1970, when Secretary of State Doug LaFollette was a professor at UW-Parkside, he saw the need for a statewide policy organization working to enact and enforce strong environmental laws in the state of Wisconsin. With his energy and vision, strong support from volunteers and fledgling staff, and a mimeograph machine in his living room, Doug created what is now one of the largest state-wide environmental groups in the nation. Fast forward to the year 2007 when Doug created for Clean Wisconsin a $20,000 gift annuity with the Madison Community Foundation. Once again, Doug recognized an unmet need and stepped up to fill it. This gift will help support Clean Wisconsin’s endowment fund. Doug’s foresight and generosity will help provide Clean Wisconsin with the resources we will need to help protect Wisconsin’s water and air well into the future. I recently sat down with Doug to ask him about his interests and why he wanted to make this gift now. This is what he had to say:

Q. Why do you support Clean Wisconsin’s programs, and what program areas are most interesting to you? A. Citizen action groups such as Clean Wisconsin are critical to protecting and restoring our nation’s environment. I think that helping local folks and groups all around Wisconsin who are

Clean Wisconsin

facing assaults to the environment is one of the most important things Clean Wisconsin does.

Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of at Clean Wisconsin? A. The development of my “living room” dream into an influential and essential force in Wisconsin’s present and future makes me proud every day.

Q. Why did you want to make a planned gift like this to Clean Wisconsin? A. I know from many years of experience that long-term funding is one of the most important and difficult concerns for NGOs. I hope that my gift will inspire many others to help build it into an endowment that will allow Clean Wisconsin to fight for many future generations.

Q. Why was a charitable gift annuity right for you? A. It was a great “win-win-win” effort. Clean Wisconsin, with many others following my lead, will grow an endowment. This gift annuity allows me to have a secure investment and plan for the future of Clean Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s environment will have long-term protection and I get a lifetime income and a nice tax deduction as well.

Q. Was setting this up difficult to do? A. It was very, very easy and everyone who does it will find out how good it makes you feel.

Thank you Doug LaFollette for creating our organization and for helping us obtain the resources to ensure its future!

More information on charitable gift annuities A charitable gift annuity is an agreement where a donor transfers cash, securities or other property to a charity. Based on a percentage of the gift, the donor regularly receives payments for the rest of his or her life and spouse’s life. Additionally, the donor receives a charitable tax deduction based on the remainder interest of the annuity contract 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 endowment 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. If you are interested in setting up a gift annuity to benefit Clean Wisconsin, or to discuss other planned giving options, please contact Brian Kelly at (608) 251-7020 extension 23 or bkelly@cleanwisconsin.org.

3


Putting the brakes on global warming Katie Nekola and Peter Taglia

T

he Governor’s announcement in his ‘state of the state’ address that “we can no longer sit by and pretend (global warming) isn’t happening” echoes what leaders are saying around the world. Even the president of the United States, who has long resisted overwhelming evidence that global warming is real, has admitted that it’s a “serious challenge”. Some leaders are taking the “soft path” to dealing with global warming: investing in technologies and programs that encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. Other states, most notably California, have passed laws that limit how much global warming pollution can be emitted by utilities and industry. In Wisconsin, Governor Doyle’s “energy independence” initiative, which calls for 25% of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025, is a laudable first step. His emphasis on supporting biofuels is a win-win for an agricultural state like ours. Doyle has included $40 million in his budget bill for investment in wind, solar, biofuels and other clean technologies. Clean Wisconsin is making it a top priority to keep those investments in

the budget bill when it passes in this legislative session. And we expect that the Governor’s task force on global warming, like his energy efficiency and renewables task force, will result in recommendations that will make Wisconsin a leader in the fight to slow global warming. However, even as this groundswell of recognition and action on global warming grows, the root causes of the problem go unabated, and in fact continue to get worse. In Wisconsin, carbon dioxide pollution from energy use has increased 25% since 1990, according to the Department of Administration. In addition, three new coal plants are being built, and in February Alliant Energy submitted an application to expand its Nelson Dewey coal plant on the shore of the Mississippi River in Cassville. According to EPA, the existing coal plant emits 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, and it is estimated that the 300-megawatt expansion will increase carbon dioxide emissions to 4.8 million tons per year. Overall, global warming pollution from Wisconsin alone will increase by at least 15 million tons when the Elm Road project in Oak Creek and the Weston project near Wausau are in operation, and if the proposed Cassville project gets approval. But

approval for the Cassville project is far from certain. The expansion of the Cassville plant will require filling high-quality wetlands that lie between the river and the bluffs, in federally protected areas and will increase barge traffic in an area with some of the last remaining healthy populations of endangered native mussels. The national surge in awareness and concern about global warming pollution has made any new coal plant proposal questionable. Clean Wisconsin supports the Governor’s commitment to energy independence, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency. They are the foundation on which we can build a new, carbon-free energy supply. As we work toward creating that clean energy future, we must also make a commitment to stopping global warming pollution, from both vehicles and conventional coal plants. Clean Wisconsin has long opposed the construction of any new outdated technology coal plants in our state, and we are actively fighting to keep the Alliant project from being approved by the PSC. If you would like to help out, contact Ryan Schryver at (608) 251-7020 extension 25.

Water and warming in the Mississippi River Basin Ryan Schryver

C

lean Wisconsin and the Dominican Sisters of the Sinsinawa Mound are teaming up to host a conference focusing on regional water issues and global warming on Saturday, April 14th 2007. The conference will be held at the beautiful and inspiring Sinsinawa Mound conference center, featuring picturesque views of southwest Wisconsin and the Mississippi River watershed and will kick off Earth Week events around the state. The conference will be headlined by Mike Tidwell, author of Bayou Farewell. Tidwell’s most recent book examines the effects of global warming on the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River Basin. He predicted with frightening accuracy the disastrous effects of a large hurricane striking New Orleans. Mike Tidwell is uniquely qualified to lead us in a discussion focusing on the effects of global warming as it relates to the river region. Joining Tidwell will be some of the nation’s leading experts on global warming. Dr. Jon Foley is the Director of the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the University of Wisconsin, where he is also the Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. Dr. Foley is widely renowned for his expertise on global warming and will provide expert analysis of the most current and cutting edge global warming research. Dr. John Magnuson will be addressing global warming from a regional and local perspective. Dr. Magnuson is Professor Emeritus of Zoology, Director Emeritus of the Center for Limnology, and Emeritus Member of the Limnology and Marine Science Graduate Program at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Magnuson's research and many

4

Kick off Earth Week! Clean Wisconsin and the Dominican Sisters of the Sinsinawa Mound are teaming up to host a conference focusing on regional water issues and global warming. Learn about the global warming threats to our waters and way of life, and what you can do to protect and improve our natural resources.

Wisconsin DNR Mississippi River team lead Gretchen Benjamin will be presenting on threats, opportunities and current legislation regarding the restoration and protection of Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes, including the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. Specific topics will include polluted runoff, aquatic invasive species, bio-accumulative toxins, and more. In the afternoon participants will be able to attend training sessions focusing on building the necessary skills to act on all of the newfound knowledge. Training sessions will focus on topics such as media skills, grassroots organizing, basic activism, letter writing, coalition building, as well as other topics that will help both veteran and new activists develop the skills to help save Wisconsin’s vital natural resources. We hope to see all of our members there and are looking forward to what should be one of the best conferences of

April 14, 2007 9:00am – 5:30pm Sinsinawa Mound Conference Center (10 minutes from Dubuque, Iowa) Register online at www.CleanWisconsin.org or www.sinsinawa.org or call (608) 748-4411. publications have focused on the influence of climate change on inland waters and ecosystems. The Sinsinawa Mound’s scenic location overlooking the Mississippi River Basin makes it an ideal location to examine and discuss the threats our local and regional waterways face. Clean Wisconsin’s Water Program Director Melissa Malott and

the year! For more information and registration information go to www.cleanwisconsin.org, www.sinsinawa.org or contact Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver at (608) 251-7020 extension 25.

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


Incorporating the important connections between Wisconsin watersheds into planning Melissa Malott

The WDNR uses protection, planning, regulation, incentives, and education as watershed planning tools. Currently, they use the following water quality planning and assessment programs, which are available online or through the DNR offices:

D

espite the implementation of water quality protections into our state laws - like the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act - the majority of our rivers and streams remain polluted. While continuing our efforts to make good public policy at the legislative and judicial level is necessary, clean water advocates need to take a larger look at the integrated water system: the watershed. A watershed is a home for a water body, a geographical area in which all rain or snow drains down into a river, lake, wetland, or ocean. Wisconsin has three main watersheds: Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River. Within each of these are smaller watersheds such as the Wisconsin River watershed. It is important to look at water pollution using a watershed approach in order to see the full extent of pollution. The Clean Water Act, which has been instrumental in regulating pollution from industry, factory farms, and municipal sewer systems, fails to adequately account for pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, farm runoff, road runoff, and construction sites. In fact, Environment and Energy Daily (E & E) reports Lieutenant General Carl Strock, chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, sees the narrow focus on projects that don’t consider the general watershed as the “biggest problem in U.S. water policy”. Strock said that more basin-wide studies, along with the close monitoring of the environmental and economic impacts of projects would help water policy goals. A watershed plan, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a “strategy and work plan for achieving water resource goals that provides assessment and management information for a geographically defined watershed… [including] analyses, actions, participants, and resources related to development and implementation of the plan.” The planning process for a watershed is collaborative, and identifies and prioritizes problems in an ongoing manner to be able to address problems as they arise. “This way we could follow through and see if they are delivering the benefits and if there [are] unintended consequences,” E & E reports Strock

Photo Credit: EPA

A watershed is a home for a water body, a geographical area in which all rain or snow drains down into the river, lake, wetland, or ocean.Wisconsin has three main watersheds: Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River. Within those, there are 21 smaller watersheds, such as the Wolf River, Central Wisconsin River, Milwaukee River, Lakeshore (Door County shores) and more. And within those watersheds are even smaller watersheds. You can find out which watershed your local river or lake is in at the following website: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/ gmu/sidebar/watersheds.html. saying. “Right now that sort of measuring monitoring falls on the backs of the individual projects, so I think a basin-wide approach would be better.” The EPA is increasingly prioritizing watershed plans to help combat pollution. A watershed perspective must include local stakeholder groups and use sound science and appropriate technology to address problems. Furthermore, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has moved towards a watershed model of managing water resources because, “it focuses stakeholders on what a particular lake, river, or wetland needs and what they can do collectively to meet that need”. Clearly, the WDNR recognizes that involving stakeholders in the process is an effective way of protecting a watershed.

National Watershed Conference in La Crosse May 20-23

W

atershed managers, federal officials, state agencies, community groups and dam safety advocates will be descending upon La Crosse in the spring of 2007. The National Watershed Coalition (NWC) is holding its 10th biennial conference in this beautiful Mississippi River town from Sunday May 20th through Thursday May 23rd at the La Crosse Convention Center and Radisson Hotel. "Total Watershed Awareness Extending the Legacy" is the conference theme. It will bring professionals from all over the United States to soak up the rich cultural and professional heritage offered by the region. Attendees will examine the topography and communities which shaped the development of watershed approach to the application of conservation methods through the 1933 Coon Creek Watershed project. Dozens of concurrent professional sessions will take place throughout the week. Everyone will gain insight into how relevant the principles of HH Bennett, Aldo Leopold and Mel Cohey still are today, some 75 years later. A bus tour of the watershed is planned. People interested in attending the conference should contact the NWC at its website located at www.watershedcoalition.org.

Clean Wisconsin

• State of the Basin Reports, http://dnr.wi.gov/ org/gmu/stateofbasin.html; • Water Quality Assessments, (aka “305(b) Report”), http://dnr.wi.gov/org/ water/wm/watersummary/305b_2006/ letter_to_citizens.htm; • Sewer Service Area Planning, http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/GLWSP/ SSAPlan/index.htm; • Wastewater Systems Facility Planning, http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/GLWSP/ facilities/index.htm; and • Local Water Quality Planning Aids Grants to Local Communities, http://dnr.wi.gov/org/ water/wm/lwqag.html; In Wisconsin, there are three main watersheds: Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River. Within those, there are 21 smaller watersheds, such as the Wolf River, Central Wisconsin River, Milwaukee River, Lakeshore (Door County shores) and more. And within those watersheds are smaller watersheds. You can find out which watershed your local river or lake is in at the following website: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/gmu/sidebar/watersheds.html. The WDNR has State of the Basin Reports available for most Wisconsin watersheds and you can find out the major water quality issues in your basin. Clean Wisconsin has always pushed for comprehensive, smart planning for the use of our natural resource that welcomes and incorporates the thoughts and concerns of local citizens. It is encouraging that the WDNR and EPA are starting to set up and helping to fund watershed plans. These watershed plans need the valuable input of local citizens, like you, who have a stake in the waterways. As more watershed plans are established, and the process proceeds, Clean Wisconsin will be your voice in the legislature. We want to know what you think about watershed plans in your area. To voice your opinion or concern, contact Melissa Malott at (608) 251-7020, extension 13 or email mmalott@cleanwisconsin.org. Please sign up for our email action alerts so we can keep you up to date with watershed progress in your area. To sign up, email beweber@cleanwisconsin.org.

5


Clean Wisconsin and sporting groups serve DNR mercury petition Keith Reopelle

O

n January 22, Clean Wisconsin, the Sierra Club, and numerous sport fishing organizations gave the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) a formal citizen petition requesting that the agency strengthen the regulations of mercury emissions for coal burning power plants. Groups that joined Clean Wisconsin on the petition included the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Lakeshore Fisherman Sports Club, the Wisconsin Division of the Izaak Walton League, the Muskellunge Club of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations. Clean Wisconsin led the way on this issue in 2000 when we filed a similar petition asking to regulate mercury from coal plants for the first time. That petition resulted in Wisconsin’s current regulations, called NR 446, that require a 75 percent reduction of mercury emissions by 2015. Wisconsin was just the third state in the nation to regulate mercury emissions from coal burning power plants. Since then, the EPA developed federal rules requiring a 70 percent reduction by 2018 and allowing interstate trading of emissions credits,

which means that utilities in Wisconsin can buy credits from utilities in other states rather than making reductions at their own power plants. The DNR must revise their rules and there are two big unanswered questions: will they allow interstate trading of mercury credits (22 states have rejected that EPA program); and will they make our state’s regulations stronger by requiring a 90% reduction, or weaker, as they are proposing, by adopting the 70 percent reduction by 2018 as suggested by EPA? Clean Wisconsin and the other petitioners are asking the DNR for a 90% reduction by 2012 with no trading allowed for several compelling reasons: • Substantial new data and information on mercury control technology have become available since NR 446 was established in 2004 that support a significantly stronger regulation. • NR 446 as promulgated and established in October of 2004 recognizes and anticipates the need for adjustments in the rule such as those requested in the citizen’s petition.

• The Federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR), requiring just 70% reductions by 2018, that DNR is considering adopting, was developed illegally. • Substantial new data and information on the extent and degree of harmful health impacts to the citizens of Wisconsin have become available since NR 446 was established in 2004. The DNR will be proposing a new mercury rule soon (by the time you read this) and will have scheduled public hearings to solicit public input. They will also take written comments. Please visit Clean Wisconsin’s website often (www.CleanWisconsin.org) to obtain public hearing dates and locations. If you are interested in becoming more involved in the mercury regulations, either these rules regulating power plants or the bill to phase mercury out of products (see story on page 3), and would like more information on how to do that, please call me, Keith Reopelle, at (608) 2517020 extension 11.

Fishing season is just around the corner Keith Reopelle

overall water quality. Governor Doyle put $37 million in his budget bill to help reduce polluted runoff. Clean Wisconsin played a key role in developing the state’s polluted runoff regulations and will be working hard this Spring to secure adequate funding through the budget bill to implement them.

T

he opening day of fishing season, the first weekend in May, is not far off. The winter sports shows have been fun, but cabin fever is mounting and like hundreds of thousands of other Wisconsin anglers I can hardly wait for the open water season to begin. I spend all of my working hours protecting Wisconsin’s environment. So when I have time off I like to enjoy our state’s natural resources; and my favorite outdoor recreation is fishing. I’ve fished all my life. Growing up in Milwaukee my father took my brother and me on countless weekend fishing outings to Waukesha County lakes, Okauchee in particular and Fox Lake in Dodge County. The fishing was great. We caught many limits of bass, northern pike and sometimes walleye, and that was without the use of sonar. We spent many a family summer vacation on lakes in northern Wisconsin. I spent a lot of them fishing: Catfish and Cranberry Lakes near Eagle River, Lac Court Oreilles, Grindstone, and Big Round lakes near Hayward. Now I do most of my fishing on the Madison lakes and in Vilas County. I still love fishing, and catch a few from time to time, but a lot has changed. Many of the lakes have changed. For example, the introduction of the Eurasian milfoil weed in combination with increased nutrient loading from polluted runoff has caused many lakes, or parts of lakes, to be choked with excessive weed growth. Monona Bay in Madison is a prime example. Some lakes in Oneida County have the

6

Reducing Toxic Mercury in Game Fish The State Health Department warns anglers and their families to limit consumption of Wisconsin game fish because of high levels of toxic mercury that impact the brain and nervous system development of children and fetuses. Clean Wisconsin is working to strengthen the regulations limiting mercury emission from power plants and establish laws that phase out the use of mercury in products where alternatives are available.

Clean Wisconsin’s Program Director Keith Reopelle poses after landing a 46” musky on Lake Waubesa. opposite problem. The rusty crayfish, another exotic species eats native weeds at such a rate that it has completely eliminated weed growth in some lakes. Clean Wisconsin is working hard to address five critical water quality issues to restore our lakes and streams for fishing, swimming and other forms of recreation:

Reducing Polluted Runoff Excess nutrients and sedimentation from polluted runoff has greatly accelerated the eutrophication (aging process) of many lakes and rivers leading to excessive weed growth, algae blooms and poor

Invasive Species Carp, zebra mussels, rusty crayfish, milfoil, the list of disastrous exotic species in our Great Lakes and inland lakes and streams just keeps growing and changing our aquatic ecosystems in irreparable ways. Clean Wisconsin is helping to secure funding to address aquatic invasive species across the state and working to establish policies, such as ballast water treatment, to deter new invasive species from entering the Great Lakes Basin.

Great Lakes Restoration The Great Lakes ecosystem is under assault from a variety of threats from sewage overflows, to Continued on PAGE 10 ☛

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


Clean air rules in Wisconsin’s Legislature Elizabeth Wheeler

T

he Natural Resources Board authorized the DNR’s Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to go to the legislature on January 24, 2007. CAIR has been implemented in 28 states in order to reduce pollution that contributes to ground-level ozone (smog), namely nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). The rule provides incentives for power plants producing the state’s energy to operate at a higher efficiency, such as allocating allowances calculated based on how much electricity is actually produced, rather than how much heat is required to produce it. Clean Wisconsin addressed the board by public appearance, asking for better incentives for renewable energy sources to participate in the trading program, such as making NOx credits available to renewable units in their first five years of operation, an option that is currently unavailable to developers of renewable energy. Other important upcoming rulemakings include the Reasonable Available Control Technology

(RACT), which requires additional controls on power plants in non-attainment areas, and Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART), which requires even further reductions of certain air pollutants from particular sources. Further, Governor Doyle recently directed the DNR to petition the EPA to “re-designate” eight counties in Eastern Wisconsin as meeting air quality standards. This re-designation will result in less stringent requirements for new businesses and developers in the eastern part of Wisconsin. A redesignation means that the area will be designated as “attainment” rather than “non-attainment”. Attainment areas have less stringent pollution control requirements, because the area is meeting air quality standards. As part of this re-designation, the DNR will have to establish a maintenance plan, ensuring the areas will not slip back into nonattainment. Clean Wisconsin will be participating in this process with the DNR, including making sure that DNR uses accurate and appropriate data for the re-designation request and making the maintenance plan as good as possible.

Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) has been implemented in 28 states in order to reduce pollution that contributes to ground-level ozone (smog), namely nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2).The rule provides incentives for power plants producing the state’s energy to operate at a higher efficiency. Although it is true that Wisconsin’s air quality in the Milwaukee area has gotten better over the past five years, there is still room for improvement. Clean Wisconsin will continue to work with the DNR to promote air pollution laws that help improve Wisconsin’s air quality. For more information, please contact Elizabeth at ewheeler@cleanwisconsin.org or (608) 251-7020 extension 21.

Clean air goes to the U.S. Supreme Court Elizabeth Wheeler

C

lean air advocates await two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that will interpret the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corp The first case, Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corp, was argued on November 1st, 2006. The Duke Energy case addresses which sources are subject to the “prevention of significant deterioration” (PSD) standard under the Clean Air Act. This standard requires pollution control updates when a plant goes through modifications that increase pollution. The PSD standard is intended to merely maintain, not improve, regional air quality when pollution sources expand. The case was originally brought by the EPA against Duke Energy for violating PSD requirements. The EPA, at the time, defined PSD applicability as to any modification that resulted in increased emissions, measured in tons per year. Duke countered that the PSD definition could not differ from the New Source Performance Standard definition, which measured increased pollution in emission rates. Thus, under PSD, a modification that resulted in the plant increasing its operation time but not its emission rate, the plant would still have to meet PSD requirements. However, a plant that increased its emission rate would have to meet the same standards as a new source. Thus, PSD has a lower bar for what constitutes an increase. The Duke Energy case involves several procedural issues – but the outcome will determine whether the EPA’s rule (and cleaner air) will be upheld or overturned. This case will affect mostly old, outdated power plants – the source of 70 % of Wisconsin’s energy. Having a lower bar for requiring pollution control updates on these facilities for

Clean Wisconsin

prevention of significant deterioration (of air quality) is important – especially with regard to facilities such as the Valley power plant in Milwaukee. The Valley power plant was grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act and has very few pollution controls. It spews tens of thousands of tons of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide into Milwaukee’s air and contributes to mercury pollution in Wisconsin. Valley is just one of many old, grandfathered power plants in Wisconsin that, if Duke succeeds in challenging EPA in this case, will be subject to less stringent air pollution rules under the Clean Air Act.

Massachusetts v. EPA The second, more well-known case, Massachusetts v. EPA, was brought by twelve states, three cities and thirteen environmental groups in an attempt to force the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from cars. This case is part of the environmental movement’s attempt to address global warming. The arguments, heard on November 29th, focused on whether regulation of carbon dioxide from cars in just the United States would have any real impact on global warming. The clean air advocates argued that

Photo Credit: clipart.com

it would, and that the United States had to regulate carbon dioxide to set an example for the rest of the world. The EPA countered with the argument that regulating carbon dioxide on an ad-hoc basis through existing laws would be much less efficient than drafting new regulations that would target carbon dioxide. The outcome of the Massachusetts case could hold EPA accountable for neglecting its duties under the Clean Air Act. Just because carbon dioxide was not considered a harmful pollutant when the Clean Air Act was drafted in 1970 does not mean that it is not a harmful pollutant today. Indeed, global warming has become one of the most critical environmental problems of our time, and reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide has been identified as the single most important step in stopping it. The outcome of the Massachusetts case will help to determine how quickly – and by what means – we begin to attack the problem of global warming on the national stage.

7


Vulnerable lakes. Responsible solutions. Melissa Malott

T

he Great Lakes are one of the natural wonders of the world - the heart of the ecosystem we rely on for life and a vital resource for us to use and protect. Holding almost 20% of the word’s surface freshwater, the Great Lakes are vast. But they aren’t infinite – only 1% of the water in the Great Lakes is renewed by rainfall and snowmelt every year. And yet there is no plan currently in place to ensure the long-term protection of our Great Lakes water – which is why we need to urge our legislators to ratify and implement the Great Lakes Compact. This binding agreement will help guarantee the sound management of Great Lakes water, ensuring that these treasures are not sold to the highest bidder and that they are protected for generations to come. Currently, the Compact language is being drafted in a legislative council committee. Clean Wisconsin is your voice in the legislature, pushing for the following parts of our platform for a strong Compact:

No Bottled Water Loopholes. Wisconsin must reaffirm that the Public Trust Doctrine applies to the waters of the Great Lakes Basin and eliminate the bottled water loophole that allows the diversion of Great Lakes water in containers 5.7 gallons or less.

Strengthen the Standards for Diversions. Diversions of water from our Great Lakes should occur only in absolutely necessary situations and should absolutely not damage the Great Lakes. The Compact provisions concerning diversions outside of the basin must be strengthened. Increase Public Participation. The Great

Lakes are a public treasure, and citizens should have access to information and decisions regarding the lakes. The drafters of the Compact incorporated public comment and participation at the regional level. The Compact should be implemented in Wisconsin to incorporate public participation at the state and local levels.

Require Strong Water Conservation Standards. Wisconsin needs to take steps to

Set Standards for In-Basin Users of Great Lakes Water. For the first time, the Compact

We all have a responsibility to protect the Great Lakes, not for a single interest, but for our families, wildlife and the future. For more frequent updates on the implementation of the Compact, along with e-mails letting you know how you can help us pass a strong Compact, please contact Melissa at mmalott@cleanwisconsin.org or 608-251-7020 extension 13.

establishes a uniform standard to apply to in-basin uses of water, but allows each jurisdiction to set the withdrawal level at which this standard will apply. We should require permits for all new or increased withdrawals of 100,000 gallons per day or more, consistent with our existing Groundwater Protection Act.

safeguard its water wealth by requiring each permit holder to implement water conservation measures, as well as set a mandatory statewide conservation program with measurable goals.

Great Lakes update: Urge Congress to support Asian carp barrier legislation Melissa Malott

A

sian carp, an invasive species, are moving up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the Great Lakes. Asian carp are dangerous. They have already sent many Illinois boaters to the hospital because they leap into the air at the sound of a passing boat motor. Furthermore, Asian carp are voracious filter feeders that could destroy the $4 billion recreational fishery in the Great Lakes. Since invading the Illinois River, nine out of ten fish are Asian carp. Currently, there is an electric barrier preventing the carp from moving up the Illinois River into the Great Lakes; however, this last line of defense for the Great Lakes needs funding to keep working. The U.S. Congress has introduced much-needed legislation to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes. This legislation authorizes the completion of an electronic barrier to keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The threat to our family experiences like fishing and boating on the Great Lakes is enormous. Forget cutting your feet on invasive zebra mussels; imagine having your teeth

8

Take action against Asian carp and help protect your Great Lakes 1) Call your U.S. Representative and Senators today.The Capital switchboard will connect you to your member of Congress: 202-224-3121. 2) Tell them the Asian carp will destroy the Great Lakes. Urge members of the House of Representatives to support the Great Lakes Asian Carp Barrier Act of 2007. Urge Senators to support the Barrier Project Consolidation and Construction Act of 2007. knocked out after getting clobbered by a flying 40pound Asian carp. And the fragile Great Lakes ecosystem will receive the ultimate knockout blow when the voracious filter feeders literally suck the life out of the lakes. Unless we invest in a solution today - and the electronic barrier is a good one - the price we will

Photo Credit: Mike Smith

Asian carp are voracious filter feeders that could destroy the $4 billion recreational fishery in the Great Lakes. Since invading the Illinois River, nine out of ten fish in the river are Asian carp. pay tomorrow will be much higher and future generations may never experience the Great lakes as we know them. Congress must authorize and fully fund the barrier.

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


Nuclear Madness Committee Katie Nekola

D

uring this past fall and winter, Clean Wisconsin participated in the Legislative Council “Special Committee on Nuclear Power”, chaired by Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Green Bay. Committee members included five legislators and 12 public members, among them representatives from the electrical workers union, the Wisconsin Paper Council, Dairyland Power, UWMadison, and other public and private organizations and individuals. What most members of the committee had in common, according to statements made at the first meeting, was that they supported nuclear power in Wisconsin. The stated purpose of this committee was to “study the role of nuclear power in Wisconsin’s energy future, and to develop legislation that implements the recommended role, including, as appropriate, any modifications in the state’s moratorium law.” The committee’s chair, Rep. Montgomery, made it clear right away that he believed the nuclear moratorium law, which has been on the books for over twenty years, should be repealed. This law does not prohibit building new nuclear power plants; rather, it sets

CLEAN WISCONSIN’S 2007-08 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA:

forth two reasonable conditions that must be met before new construction can take place: that there must be a permanent radioactive waste disposal site available, and that building new nuclear plants must be in the economic interests of ratepayers (i.e., not make our electric bills skyrocket). So far, neither condition can be met, because the long-promised Yucca Mountain disposal site has not opened and seems less likely to open every day, and because nuclear power plants remain extremely expensive to build. However, proponents of nuclear power, such as the nuclear industry-funded UW-Madison Department of Engineering Physics, gloss over these practical and important issues, instead pushing for more nukes at any price, and regardless of whether expansion of the nuclear fleet results in Wisconsin becoming a permanent radioactive waste dump. Because the sole purpose of the “study committee” was to conclude that the moratorium law should be repealed, the committee heard a series of presentations from overwhelmingly pro-nuclear speakers, and the predictable majority vote at the end was to repeal the protective moratorium law. Clean Wisconsin, CUB, and the Energy Center of Wisconsin dissented from this vote, as did Senator Dave Hansen and Rep. Chuck Benedict, and Richard Shaten, professor at the UW Energy Analysis and Policy Program. This majority vote does not mean that the law will be repealed, however. The committee’s recommendations go next to the full Legislative Council, which decides whether to introduce them as legislation. If they make such a recommendation, the bills must pass both houses of the legislature and the governor must approve them. Fortunately, Governor Doyle has promised that he will wisely veto any legislation to repeal the nuclear moratorium law. For more information about nuclear issues in Wisconsin, contact Katie Nekola at (608) 251-7020 extension 14 or knekola@cleanwisconsin.org.

would create minimum efficiency standards for a number of appliances and other products that the federal government has failed to set such standards for. Minimum standards would be created for products such as residential furnaces, DVD players, pool pumps and heaters, walk-in refrigerators and light fixtures. By 2020 the appliance and equipment standards Clean Wisconsin is proposing would reduce global warming emissions by 294,000 tons and sulfur dioxide by more than 4,000 tons. They would also save homeowners and businesses $134 million in energy bills. In a separate bill, Clean Wisconsin is working with labor unions and teachers to invest $30 million in efficiency improvements in schools. These investments would not only save energy and reduce pollution, but save strapped school districts across the state millions of dollars.

part to curb global warming, while investing in Wisconsin resources, industries and workers. Global warming is a major challenge but also creates opportunities, and we’re dedicated to positioning Wisconsin to be a leader in the transition to a clean energy future. To avoid the worst impacts to Wisconsin’s resources and public health we need to make deep cuts in emissions and this will require addressing all sectors. We will work with a variety of agencies including the DNR, Public Service Commission and Department of Transportation. We will also work with the Governor and his newly appointed Global Warming Task Force; we applaud his leadership in taking this important first step and for proposing major investments in clean energy technology in his biennial budget. We will also be working with legislators this year to develop bills that address the impacts of global warming on Wisconsin and the policy solutions needed to tackle this critical threat.

Responsible solutions for global warming

Protecting our children from mercury contamination

Clean Wisconsin has made global warming emission reductions a top priority and is committed to developing solutions that help Wisconsin do its

Clean Wisconsin has helped legislators draft a bill that will phase out the use of mercury in a variety of products including thermostats, switches, relays and

measuring devices. The DNR estimates that more than 5,000 pounds of mercury are emitted to the environment each year in Wisconsin from products that are incinerated, landfilled, or otherwise discarded. Our proposed legislation would phase out the sale of products with mercury that have alternatives to mercury readily available at a reasonable cost. Similar legislation has passed in several New England states. Mercury is a neurotoxin that adversely affects the brain and nervous system development in young children and fetuses when their mothers eat mercury-contaminated fish. Based on Wisconsin Department of Health studies that examined blood mercury levels in women of childbearing ages, we estimate that more than 9,000 children are likely to be born in Wisconsin every year with some degree of reduced memory function, attention span and IQ due to mercury poisoning. This legislation is a critical step towards getting mercury out of our fish and keeping mercury out of our children. If you would like to become more directly involved in Clean Wisconsin’s work, go to www.CleanWisconsin.org and click on TAKE ACTION! or turn to pages 14 and 15 of this newsletter for a list of actions you can take.

COVER: From PAGE 1

new structure, and is obviously a new facility. However, the judge in that case agreed with DNR, so we took our case to the next level, the Dane County Circuit Court. In the meantime, a federal court ruled that the loophole used by WE Energies and DNR to classify this plant as “existing” could no longer be used. Dane County judge Shelley Gaylord took the federal case (Riverkeeper II) into account, and ordered

the state administrative law judge to reconsider his ruling with Riverkeeper II in mind. Although WE Energies continues construction, they could be required to scrap this expensive and destructive cooling system and to use cooling towers instead. This would be an enormous victory, not only for Lake Michigan, but as a precedent for banning open-cycle cooling nationwide.

From PAGE 3

the performance standards for existing facilities are much less stringent than for new facilities. Clean Wisconsin challenged the classification in an appeal to the state division of hearings and appeals, pointing out that the new Elm Road coal plant is independent of the adjacent Oak Creek coal plant, is an entirely

Clean Wisconsin

9


More alphabet soup:TMDLs in Wisconsin Will Hoyer

T

he Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will spend 2007 working on what is by far their most ambitious TMDL yet. What is a TMDL you might ask? TMDLs, or Total Maximum Daily Loads, are requirements under the federal Clean Water Act that specify the maximum amount of a pollutant that can enter a body of water. All waters that are listed on what is known as the 303(d) list of impaired waters in each state are required by the EPA to have a TMDL prepared but very few actually do. The DNR is presently working on a TMDL for the Rock River Basin in southeast Wisconsin. This basin extends from the Illinois border north along the far western Milwaukee suburbs and up towards Lake Winnebago and includes Madison and a total population of over 800,000 people. The TMDL

would be for phosphorus and sediment, two very common problems in a highly agricultural watershed like the Rock River basin, which contribute to algae blooms and habitat degradation. To date the few TMDLs that have been completed in Wisconsin have been in very small streams and watersheds and have dealt primarily with sediment. TMDLs are very data-intensive and can be time-consuming to develop, but, once completed can help provide guidance for how to manage water pollutants in a watershed. The Rock River TMDL will build upon a major study of the basin done in 2000. TMDLs are simply a tool to be used in managing water quality. They specify the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive from ‘point’ sources or ‘non-point’ sources. Enforcement mechanisms for these pollutant allocations have been what has traditionally been lacking. Recent efforts

around the country would use TMDLs as the starting point for water pollutant credits trading, whereby polluters who can not or will not reduce their pollution levels can pay other polluters who do reduce their pollution levels, much like is being done nationally with sulfur dioxide emissions to the air that cause acid rain. It is possible that such a water pollution trading scheme could be proposed here in Wisconsin. For more information see: • Wisconsin DNR Rock River TMDL webpage http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/ wm/wqs/303d/RockRiverTMDL/ • EPA TMDL webpage http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/intro.html

How committed is Wisconsin to reducing polluted runoff? - One measure will be the amount allocated in Wisconsin’s state budget Will Hoyer

S

ome rivers that once were prime fishing spots are fish-free. Lakes that were once blue are now green with algae or brown with sediment. Why? These changes are largely the result of polluted runoff coming from farms and cities across the state. As rain and snow melt flow across fields, lawns, roads and parking lots nutrients and other pollutants run off into Wisconsin’s waterways. In 2002 Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to pass a comprehensive policy and rules addressing polluted runoff. These rules were heavily focused on agricultural runoff and are recognized as being quite strong. Unfortunately, these rules have one big problem with them; existing farms do NOT have to follow them unless there is cost sharing money available to them to make changes on the farm. In this case the cost-share (or subsidy) is 70%, meaning that farmers would have to be paid 70% of

FISHING SEASON: From PAGE 6 invasive species, to contaminated sediments and shoreline habitat destruction. Clean Wisconsin is working with a regional coalition to leverage a major investment in restoring the Great Lakes. We’re also working to support Governor Doyle’s $17 million budget earmark for clean up of PCBs in the sediment of two Lake Michigan tributaries in Milwaukee.

Global Warming The impacts of global warming are harder to predict but some are coming into clean focus, and it’s not a pretty picture. Warmer weather has meant later freeze up in the fall and early ice out in the spring. The ice fishing season has been gradually becoming shorter and if the trend continues the

10

the cost of making changes. If the cost-sharing money is not available then the law does not apply. In the ensuing five years this is exactly what has happened. Insufficient funds have been allocated in subsequent state budgets, and this means that a good state policy has failed to deliver the results Wisconsin deserves, and 90% of our lakes and 40% of our rivers remain impaired by runoff. It means that groundwater has been contaminated, threatening public health and hurting hard working families. It means that recreation, tourism and local economies have been hurt. Increasing funding for the state’s polluted runoff program is one of the conservation community’s highest priorities for this spring. Without full

“hard water” fishing season will, at some point, become a thing of the past. Warming also threatens many of our cold water fisheries. The DNR predicts that habitat for native brook trout, for example, will be severely reduced in coming decades due to warming. Clean Wisconsin is pushing a comprehensive agenda of cutting edge technologies and policies to reduce global warming emissions. When you wade into your favorite trout stream this spring, or head out on your favorite lake to chase muskies, bass, walleye or panfish think about the many challenges facing our lakes and rivers and remember that Clean Wisconsin is working hard to restore these waters and improve our fishing. And if you see an especially egregious threat to your favorite water, shoot me an e-mail (kreopelle@cleanwisconsin.org). If we can’t help with it we’ll contact

Photo Credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

funding the state’s polluted runoff program is little more than a paper tiger. With adequate funding it would demonstrate Wisconsin’s commitment to conservation and lead to cleaner lakes, healthier rivers, and better recreational opportunities for all.

Keith doing what he loves - posing for pictures with a big catch. This 40” musky is from the Three Lakes chain. whoever we think can. Oh, and if you catch a lot of fish, let me know about that too; you don’t have to tell me the exact spot.

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


And the member survey says… The Defender does a great job at updating Clean Wisconsin members on our work Shauna Cook

Frequency and size?

W

henever I’ve issued surveys in the past, I sit on the edge of my seat until the results are tallied and the feedback comes in – the information is always interesting to read. Surveys can be a wonderful tool for gauging the status of something – responses can offer praise, constructive criticism, suggestions for improvement, and help steer how something moves forward toward increased success. In this case we asked you how The Defender accomplishes our goal of Too hot? Too cold? Just right? keeping you, our members, informed 72% think we write at a solid level about the programs we work on at Clean – not too technical, not too basic Wisconsin. You responded with some 89% like our existing use of glorious praise about the work we do and visuals…just right. how we go about reporting it to you. We heard over and over again how The Defender is the place our members expect Interested readers to find the environmental news (the “real deal” so-to-speak) that they do not 77% read The Defender within a receive in their local newspapers and week of receiving it. radio or television stations.

58% like it quarterly at its existing size 31% want it every other month but shorter in length 10% want it monthly, shorter and electronically

Printing contributors, or not? 42% regularly read them and want to keep the regular listings

58% want to save print space and not print contributors’ names

The survey results showed three areas that somewhat divided our membership, they are: 1. Electronic delivery of The Defender versus mailing a printed hard copy; 2. Whether we print or don’t print the names of contributors; and, 3. The validity of the Kids’ Page – the back cover of The Defender geared toward creating interest in the young environmentalist of the family. We also received feedback on things we can do better or differently. A few of these things are: 1. Monthly email updates on timely program issues; 2. Whether it be small lifestyle changes or volunteering time, you want to know more ways to take actions that make a difference; 3. More reporting on our victories and other environmental success stories; and, 4. More reporting on how business and the environment are working together.

Electronic versus print? 73% want a printed piece mailed

27% want electronic mail

In response to numbers one and two above, please turn to pages 14 and 15 in this issue to learn how to sign up for our established email action network and learn about actions you can take to help keep Wisconsin’s water, air and energy clean. In upcoming issues of The Defender we will be implementing new ideas and striving to continue supplying you with an information-packed newsletter. If you did not have a chance to complete a survey and want your opinion to be heard, please email sacook@cleanwisconsin.org or call (608) 251-7020 extension 15, and leave a message with your request for a survey and your name and address. One will be mailed to you.

Here’s what some of you had to say: What do you like best about The Defender?

“Statewide, concise, defines problems and solutions.”

“Clearly organized into the major interest areas air, water, energy. A bigger mailing quarterly makes more sense than frequent small ones. Emails can be monthly and deal with specific issues, one at a time.”

“Well written, interesting, summarizes issues well, helps me to understand the more complex issues.”

“Coverage of the latest issues being tackled. There is a fair amount of technical info yet usually presented so most readers would gain a lot of information.” “It is thorough and talks about environmental victories and quantitative results. I like the statewide nature of it.The tone always seems to be that Clean Wisconsin is on top of their game, and this makes me more confident about supporting Clean Wisconsin.”

Clean Wisconsin

What do you like least about The Defender? The overwhelming majority of respondents stated things like: “No complaints” or “I like everything.” But there were a couple of themes related to not liking the “List of donors” or “Kids’ Page.”

What types of articles, if any, do you feel are missing from The Defender? “I would like to read more examples of how common readers are taking action in their own communities and personal circles.”

“Relationship to other states/Best practices.” “I would like to see more articles or resources on the little things one can do to make a difference other than political. Also would like to see recognition for companies that do positive things so I can support these companies.” “Good news from places in the state, where member and general citizen interest and participation made a real tangible difference. Articles that have specific ways families can make a difference...ie activities for several generations or family groups to do together.” “How business and enviros are working together.”

11


Either you’re part of the problem or you’re part of the solution Ryan Schryver

To put it simply, Alliant has proposed

n February 7th 2007, Alliant Energy filed an application to build another oldtechnology coal plant near the footprint of their existing coal plants in Cassville, Wisconsin. We have been anticipating this application for quite some time, which has been delayed for months. Alliant has run into several difficulties in getting their preliminary permits because they want to build in such an environmentally fragile location. It is no secret that coal burning power plants are some of the largest contributors to global warming pollution in the world today. But Alliant has taken this dirty energy source to a new extreme by proposing to use a technology that has the highest global warming pollution rates of any technology available. Other coal plants under construction in Wisconsin are more efficient and produce less global warming pollution than Alliant’s proposed plant. To put it simply, Alliant has proposed to use the worst of the worst available technologies. Global warming is already a problem for Wisconsin, and scientific models show that the problem will grow worse if global warming pollution continues to rise. Instead of helping us find a solution, Alliant Energy has made it clear that they intend to be part of the global warming problem. Join with Clean Wisconsin to be part of the solution by helping us stop this dirty coal plant.

to use the worst of the worst available technologies. Join with Clean Wisconsin to be part of the solution by helping us stop this dirty coal plant.

O

We believe we can win this fight, but we need your help! • Please sign up for Clean Wisconsin’s email action network to stay up-to-date with the

action needs of this campaign. Make your request by emailing Becky at beweber@cleanwisconsin.org. • We also need organizations, faith congregations, community clubs, elected officials, and sporting groups to sign our statement supporting renewable energy and opposing outdated coal plants. If you are a part of, or know anyone in a group that may be interested in listing their support for renewable energy, contact us as soon as possible. • Educating the community about the ill effects of global warming and coal plants will be one of the most important steps in holding Alliant accountable. Please help us get the word out; help schedule and plan public events in your hometown to highlight this issue across the state. Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver has given presentations to diverse citizens groups including churches / faith organizations, colleges, hunting and fishing organizations, women’s organizations, Rotary Clubs, libraries, community groups, high schools, outdoor enthusiasts, and others concerned with the issue. We are able to tailor presentations to specific very specific audiences, and can address these important issues from a variety of angles.

Contact Ryan Schryver at 608-251-7020 extension 25 or rschryver@cleanwisconsin.org to help with the campaign.

UW-La Crosse's new academic building: A green building? Jeremy Jansen

T

he University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is in the process of planning for the construction of a new academic building. Clean Wisconsin's La Crosse intern, Jeremy Jansen, is one of two student representatives on the steering committee. Serving as a representative for UW-L's Environmental Council, the purpose of the having students on the committee is to ensure the new building is constructed with the environment in mind. Governor Doyle and the State Legislature recently enacted two pieces of legislation requiring tougher energy efficiency standards on new or retrofitted state facilities. In 2005 and 2006 Senate Bill 459 and Executive Order 145 respectively required buildings to meet or exceed Leadership and

12

Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) standards for sustainable design. This is a wonderful step forward for the State of Wisconsin's environmental record. Overall, these green or sustainable requirements make good sense for a number of reasons. For example: • Using natural day-lighting rather than relying on an abundance of light bulbs saves energy and saves the university money which in turn saves money for Wisconsin tax payers and students. • Using recycled products in construction, saves our trees and consumes less. Deforestation and consumption are some of the causes of global warming. • Other options are to use less or non-toxic substances in construction, such as paint. Using non-toxic products creates a less toxic

environment which helps people who are sensitive or allergic to chemicals. These standards will decrease the building's impact on the environment, human health, and our wallets. Currently, the final project statement is being finalized. During the rest of the semester, there will be public forums on the building's Environmental Impact Statement which is required by the state and federal government. Furthermore, there will be forums with the architects to brainstorm and finalize the elements of sustainable design the new building will incorporate. There will be an update in the next issue of The Defender on the specifics of this building's design.

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


Eco news from around the state

State to evaluate options for Madison coal fired power plant Seth Nowak, Clean Wisconsin Volunteer

O

n January 10th one of Clean Wisconsin’s Clean Energy goals moved a step closer to realization. The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) announced a multi-stakeholder study to analyze options for the Capitol Heat and Power plant in central Madison. The State has taken the lead to bring together the City of Madison, Dane County, and Madison Gas and Electric to look into near-term and long-term approaches to make the plant cleaner and more efficient. The study could be a big opportunity for cleaner energy, air, and water in our capital city. The Capitol Heat and Power facility is a century old and has no

modern pollution controls. While the name includes “power”, virtually all the coal burned at the plant is used for heating large government buildings surrounding the Capitol Square. DOA explicitly mentioned that cogeneration will be examined in the study. Cogeneration, also called combined heat and power, refers to producing electricity, steam, and chilled water at the same plant. Cogeneration is a proven technology that can be three times as efficient as burning coal to produce electricity alone. The DOA’s announcement was packed with references to environmental protection as a primary purpose of the study. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said the study would explore “energy efficient, environmentally sensitive options.”

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz called it “an important step forward in improving our air quality”. Robert Cramer, administrator of the DOA Division of State Facilities, expects the study will “find ways to reduce emissions”. The announcement is also good news for the Madison Area Clean Energy Coalition (MACEC). Clean Wisconsin has been working with MACEC for over a year along with more than a dozen other health, environmental, and community organizations to advocate for cleaner, greener, more efficient energy solutions for Dane County. Community involvement is essential; join our email list to stay updated on important actions you can take by contacting Laurie Maloney at lmaloney@cleanwisconsin.org.

Clean Wisconsin releases two new reports:

Global Warming Arrives in Wisconsin

T

his report looks at and briefly summarizes some of the changes already occurring in Wisconsin as a result of global warming and some of the more dire consequences down the road for our environment, health and economy as predicted by computer models. Some of the global warming impacts to Wisconsin that are anticipated later this century if we do not make major reductions in global warming gases include: 1. A 3 to 8 foot drop in the Lake Michigan water level will cost the shipping industry and port municipalities many millions of dollars. 2. Elimination of half or more of all inland cold water fish habitat including brook trout habitat. 3. Higher crop losses due to more frequent and severe droughts, storms and insect pests and

heat stress on livestock will depress farm income, particularly for family farms. 4. Major reduction, if not complete loss of characteristic northern forests including boreal, hemlock and sugar maple forests. 5. An increase in mosquito and tick borne diseases such as Lyme disease and West Nile encephalitis. 6. Major loss in winter tourism revenues as the period of safe ice cover on Wisconsin lakes diminishes or disappears completely. The good news is that we possess many reasonable solutions to the global warming threat. Many of them are solutions we can implement in our daily lives and others are policies we need to implement at the state, regional and federal level such as requiring higher efficiency in our vehicles and

requiring a reduction of global warming gas emissions from power plants. If you are interested in reading the full report, you can obtain a copy online in the publications section of our website, at www.CleanWisconsin.com. If you do not have Internet access and want a copy of the report please mail your request to us along with a $4 nominal fee to cover shipping and handling costs. Be sure to include your full address and phone number in case we have questions. Mail your request to: Clean Wisconsin Attention: Global Warming Report 122 State Street, Suite 200 Madison, WI 53703

Wisconsin’s Groundwater: Valuable…Vulnerable…Vanishing? Issues surfacing in eight Wisconsin hotspots and what we can do about them

C

lean Wisconsin will be releasing a new groundwater report with the above mentioned title. Groundwater is one of Wisconsin’s most vital natural resources. Seventy percent of Wisconsin residents and more than 9 out of 10 Wisconsin communities depend on it for drinking water. It is used in industrial manufacturing and is used to grow crops such as potatoes and corn. It helps sustain fishing and paddling opportunities across the state and the much-visited water parks in Wisconsin Dells. It feeds the beautiful rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands across the state.

Clean Wisconsin

Despite its importance, groundwater is, for many people “out of sight and out of mind” and communities across the state are finding out the hard way that groundwater supplies can and do diminish without proper management. This report highlights eight areas in the state facing groundwater shortages and controversies, and Clean Wisconsin offers solutions to help address the different issues. If you are interested in reading the full report, you can obtain a copy online in the publications section of our website, beginning in May: www.CleanWisconsin.com. If you do not have

Internet access and want a copy of the report please mail your request to us along with a nominal $4 fee to cover shipping and handling costs. Be sure to include your full address and phone number in case we have questions. Mail your request to: Clean Wisconsin Attention: Groundwater Report 122 State Street, Suite 200 Madison, WI 53703

13


Taking Charge Shauna Cook

O

ne of the results of the recent Defender survey reiterated our members’ desires to have more options on how to take action to help keep Wisconsin’s water, air and energy clean. In this new and recurring column, we’ll deliver a one-stop shop of actions you can take. We’ll provide you with actions related directly to the issues Clean Wisconsin is working on and reporting on in the current issue. If there is additional space, we’ll also provide you with general things you can do to make a difference in our world. If you have an action you would like to submit for consideration in an upcoming issue, please email it to sacook@cleanwisconsin.org. (Please understand we cannot guarantee to use all submissions.)

A whack on the side of the head - Asian carp are no laughing matter

Attend a conference on water resources and the threat of global warming

Forget the funny-looking videos of fish flying into boats and whacking people on the head. Asian carp are an increasingly serious issue needing our attention. (For more information, read Melissa Malott’s article in this issue, located on page 8.)

Clean Wisconsin and the Dominican Sisters of the Sinsinawa Mound are teaming up to host a conference on regional water issues and global warming on Saturday, April 14th 2007. Held in southwest Wisconsin, among picturesque views of the Mississippi River watershed, the morning will consist of presentations by the nation’s leading experts on global warming. The afternoon will provide training sessions on topics helping veteran and new activists develop the skills to help save Wisconsin’s vital natural resources; among some of the topics are media skills, grassroots organizing, basic activism, letter writing, and coalition building. For more information and registration details go to www.cleanwisconsin.org, www.sinsinawa.org or contact Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver at (608) 251-7020 extension 25 or at rschryver@cleanwisconsin.org. (For more information, turn to page 4 in this issue.)

Take action: 1) Call your U.S. Representative and Senators today. The Capital switchboard will connect you to your member of Congress: (202) 2243121. 2) Tell them the Asian carp will destroy the Great Lakes. Urge members of the House of Representatives to support the Great Lakes Asian Carp Barrier Act of 2007. Urge Senators to support the Barrier Project Consolidation and Construction Act of 2007.

Oppose Alliant Energy’s new plan for an old technology coal plant Clean Wisconsin has long opposed the construction of outdated coal plants in our state, and we are actively fighting to keep the Alliant Energy project from being approved by the Public Service Commission. We will consistently need your help in this campaign. Currently, here’s what you can do: • The best way for us to contact you is through our email alert system. Please sign up by emailing Becky at beweber@cleanwisconsin.org. • We also need organizations, faith congregations, community clubs, elected officials, and sporting groups to sign our statement supporting renewable energy and opposing outdated coal plants. If you are a part of, or know anyone in a group that may be interested in listing their support for renewable energy, contact us as soon as possible. • Educating the community about the ill effects of global warming and coal plants will be one of the most important steps in holding Alliant accountable. Please help us get the word out; help schedule and plan public events in your hometown to highlight this issue across the state.

Energy savings tips

Great Lakes Compact

Turn to page 20 and check out the Kids’ Page in this issue of The Defender. You’ll find a handful of energy saving tips for everyone, not just kids.

We all have a responsibility to protect the Great Lakes, not for a single interest, but for our families, wildlife and the future. For more frequent updates on the implementation of the Compact, along with emails letting you know how you can help us pass a strong Compact, please contact Melissa via e-mail at mmalott@cleanwisconsin.org. (For more information on this topic, turn to page 8 in this issue.)

If you do not have email and want to help in this fight, contact Ryan Schryver at (608) 251-7020 extension 25. (For more information, turn to page 12 in this issue.)

14

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


& Taking Action Email action alert system

Mercury petition

Clean Wisconsin’s email action alert system is how we connect to you on timely issues where we may need your help, or just want to share current environmental news. Please sign up by emailing Becky at beweber@cleanwisconsin.org. For those of you who do not have a computer, maybe a neighbor or family member would be willing to receive the alerts on your behalf. If so, have that person email Becky at the address above to request to become part of the email alert system.

Help get mercury pollution out of Wisconsin’s children and fish and clean up our air and water. Sign Clean Wisconsin’s mercury petition cutting pollution from power plants by 90% by 2010. Go to www.cleanwisconsin.org/action/ mercuryaction.html.

Which watershed is your watershed? In Wisconsin, there are three main watersheds: Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River. Within those, there are 21 smaller watersheds, such as the Wolf River, Central Wisconsin River, Milwaukee River, Lakeshore (Door County shores) and more. And within those watersheds are smaller watersheds. You can find out which watershed your local river or lake is in at the following website: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/gmu/ sidebar/watersheds.html. The WDNR has State of the Basin Reports available for most Wisconsin watersheds and you can find out the major water quality issues in your basin. We want to know what you think about watershed plans in your area. To voice your opinion or concern, contact Melissa Malott at (608) 2517020, extension 13 or email mmalott@cleanwisconsin.org. (For more information, turn to page 5 in this issue.)

All washed up on energy efficiency? Here’s a staff member’s tale in buying a new washing machine. Melissa Malott When my aging clothes washing machine recently died in a bubbly blast of warm water, I decided it was time to spend the extra money to get an energy efficient washer, in hopes that it would reduce the load on my aging dryer. There were a dizzying array of options. The newer front-load and “high-efficiency” top load washers have better capacity and washing performance than the traditional top-loaders, which means fewer loads of laundry (this non-domestic diva appreciates that). Additionally, these new types of machines use less water, and have higher spinning speeds than old versions, which reduces the amount of drying time. Front-loaders are quieter than many top-loaders, and do not pose the risk of an unbalanced load causing the machine to bounce around your laundry room. While I was initially tempted by all the bells and whistles of the top-end, pricey front-loaders, with their fancy steam, silks, and/or wools cycles and beautiful colors, I found through research that the less fancy machines can accommodate delicate fabrics with specific settings (plus, I enjoy supporting the environmentally-friendly dry cleaner when needed). In the end, I spent a couple of hundred dollars more than a typical top-load machine, but with the increased capacity and higher spin speeds, I am doing fewer loads of laundry, and spending half the time and money drying.

15

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2


Jill Logeman

E

very time we turn on a light, ride in a car, or take a bath we use energy. Almost all everyday actions require energy, but we rarely think about how much energy we’re using or where that energy comes from. There are many different sources of energy. The two main categories that these sources fall under are non-renewable and renewable. Non-renewable energy sources are those that take a very long time to be made again once they are used up. This means that we have a limited supply of them. Most non-renewable energy sources are called fossil fuels, meaning that they are formed from the buried remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Examples of fossil fuels are coal, natural gas, petroleum, and propane. All of these nonrenewable sources are found in the ground, and we must mine or drill the earth to get them. These processes are often very harmful to the earth, destroying the habitat and polluting the air and water. As these fuels are used up, they will get more and more expensive, and we will have to find replacement energy sources. Renewable energy sources, on the other hand, are those that can be replenished very quickly, meaning we do not have a limited supply of them. The most common renewable sources are sun (solar), wind, biomass, and geothermal. In addition to never running out of these types of energy, we can also expect a lot less damage to the environment. Fossil fuels release a lot of pollution into the air when they are burned. These pollutants make the air harmful to breath, and rain can wash them into the water system as well. The worst part is that the air pollution released includes greenhouse gasses, the cause of global warming. Renewable energy does not pollute the air or water in this way when they are used. Because we mainly use non-renewable resources, it is very important to conserve energy so that we cut down on air and water pollution. This may seem like a “grown-up” problem, but there is a lot you can do…

How can you conserve energy? • Turn off lights, TVs, stereos, and video games when you’re not using them. • Take showers instead of baths; when taking a shower, time yourself to see if you can take a shorter shower. • Make sure you don’t leave doors or windows open if your air conditioning is on. • Instead of turning on the air conditioning right away in the summer, use fans to circulate air and keep your house cool. • Plant trees in your yard. Trees help to clean pollution from our air and can keep our homes cooler in the summer.

Fill in the Blank: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

________ fuels release greenhouse gasses when they are burned. Solar and wind are types of ____________ energy sources. __________ types of energy take millions of years to be formed. Natural gas, petroleum, propane, and _______ are all non-renewable resources. _________ anything that uses electricity if you’re not using it.

Answers: 1 Fossil; 2 renewable; 3 Non-renewable; 4 coal; 5 Turn off

Resources: http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/ http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/saving_energy/index.html http://www.tvakids.com

NON- RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

SOLAR

16

WIND

BIOMASS

COAL

NATURAL GAS

OIL

The Defender, Spring 2007,Vol. 37, No. 2

The Defender, Spring 2007  

The Defender is the quarterly newsletter of Clean Wisconsin, the state's largest environmental advocacy organization.

The Defender, Spring 2007  

The Defender is the quarterly newsletter of Clean Wisconsin, the state's largest environmental advocacy organization.

Advertisement