WINTER 2008 • Vol. 38, No. 1
Clean Wisconsin wins a ruling against WE Energies In landmark decision, judge rules Oak Creek power plant water discharge permit invalid.
Closing out 2007 with much success thanks to you!
Clean Wisconsin victory for Lake Michigan also has implications for power plants nationwide.
s we began working on this issue of The Defender, our focus naturally gravitated to our successes over the past year. We have achieved a great deal over the last year, making strides in protecting Wisconsin’s clean water and clean air and working toward clean energy solutions. We are always grateful for our members’ support. We believe one of our strongest assets is our membership. Accomplishments happen with your ﬁnancial support and your actions. Thank you! Below is an overview of some of Clean Wisconsin’s 2007 highlights. Many of the articles in this issue of The Defender provide more detailed information about these successes.
n a major victory for Lake Michigan, on November 30, 2007, Clean Wisconsin announced a landmark decision invalidating the water discharge permit for the new Elm Road power plant in Oak Creek. The decision comes in response to a lawsuit by Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club challenging the water pollution permit granted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) for the new plant which is being constructed by WE Energies, the state’s largest utility. “The cooling system WE Energies proposed for this plant has been banned in Illinois, Indiana and other states for several years,” said Katie Nekola, staff attorney for Clean Wisconsin. “And with good reason – it is far more harmful to Lake Michigan than other alternatives.” At issue was the WDNR water permit that would have allowed WE Energies to remove water from Lake Michigan to cool its giant coalﬁred power plants currently under construction. Termed “once-through cooling”, the system would take in 2.2 billion gallons of water each day through a pipe extending nearly two miles out into Lake Michigan. The water returned to the lake would be warmer by several degrees to a temperature known to cause large-scale destruction of ﬁsh and shellﬁsh. The judge’s decision invalidating the water discharge permit pivoted on the deﬁnition of the Oak Creek plant as a new or existing facility. Clean Wisconsin contended in its legal action that the water discharge permit for the Oak Creek plant was wrongly issued under rules governing existing facilities – which have less stringent environmental requirements for cooling systems. However, the judge’s ruling falls
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Clean Wisconsin 122 State Street Suite 200 Madison, WI 53703-2500
Addressing Global Warming Global warming will be one of the biggest challenges and opportunities of the century. Clean Wisconsin is dedicated to helping Wisconsin be a leader on global warming, and to becoming an economic leader in clean energy technologies. In January 2007, Clean Wisconsin began meeting with agency heads and the Governor’s staff to discuss the need for global warming policies similar to those being created in California, Illinois and
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Upper Midwest becomes climate change leader
ithin the last year the Midwestern states have become a pivotal leader in the ﬁght to combat global warming. Wisconsin is playing a leadership role in the region and Clean Wisconsin is playing a leadership role in Wisconsin. While there is still much work to be done, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states have made a huge leap towards putting in place the regulations needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Clean Wisconsin has played and will continue to play a leadership role in developing these policies for the state of Wisconsin and the Midwest region. One key event in working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions came on November 15, 2007. The Midwestern Governor’s Association (MGA) hosted an Energy Summit event in Milwaukee. As Chairman of the MGA, Doyle played a key role in developing the platform and Governor Doyle and Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota were the co-chair’s and hosts of the event.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 Nonproﬁt Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 1291 Madison, WI
INSIDE Taking charge and taking action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 2 Clean Wisconsin’s 2007-08 legislative agenda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 3 Great Lakes Compact; Restoration; Water and global warming. . . . .Page 4 Lake Superior: Will it remain an economic engine?. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 5 In the news: A glimpse of Clean Wisconsin’s media work . . . . . . . . .Page 6 Alliant hits more snags; Closing out 2007, continued . . . . . . . . . . . .Page 7 Global Warming Task Force; Climate change, continued . . . . . . . . . .Page 8 Oak Creek’s old coal plants; Changing global warming perceptions .Page 9 Wisconsin’s waters getting better; Clean Wisconsin’s new website . Page 10 Removing renewable energy barriers; Renewable energy victory Page 11 Cleaning up mercury; Oak Creek victory continued . . . . . . . . . . . Page 12 Nuclear power protections; Important interns and volunteers . . . . Page 13 State eco-news; Staff updates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 14
Taking charge and taking action Below are some of the actions you can take to help protect Wisconsin’s clean water, clean air and clean energy. Help Advance Our Legislative Agenda
Oak Creek power plants
Now is the time to contact your legislators and ask them to make the environment a priority for the remainder of the legislative session. Please contact your state Senator and Assembly representative and urge them to:
Keep your eyes open and your ears tuned for news on public hearings in Racine in January. Your opinions matter! You can help decide whether it makes economic and environmental sense to install pollution controls on the old Oak Creek coal-ﬁred power plants, or whether it would be better to simply shut them down and ﬁnd cleaner sources of energy that don’t contribute to global warming and other air and water pollution. We encourage you to attend and make your voice heard and argue for a clean Wisconsin! Please watch our web site or contact Katie Nekola for details at (608) 251-7020 extension 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Support strong Great Lakes Compact legislation. • Protect our children’s health by supporting the mercury products phase-out bill. • Co-sponsor and support the appliance efﬁciency standards bill. • Support a Phosphorus Ban in Lawn Fertilizers (SB 197 and AB 396). To identify your legislator go to: http://waml.legis.state.wi.us/
Participate in Conservation Lobby Day You can help make sure Wisconsin legislators address our environmental priorities. Join hundreds of citizens from every part of Wisconsin for Conservation Lobby Day on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 in Madison. Clean Wisconsin will be hosting a continental breakfast at our ofﬁce for our members from 8:30a.m.– 9:30a.m. The program itself begins at 10:00a.m. To ﬁnd out further details and to RSVP, please contact Becky Weber at email@example.com or call (608) 251-7020 extension 17.
Tell us Your Observations Are you noticing birds arriving at your feeders earlier in the spring than usual? Did the hibernating chipmunks show up on your porch before they looked awake? Clean Wisconsin wants to know if you’ve noticed any changes in your natural environment that could be attributed to global warming. If so, please call our specially designated toll-free number 1-866-WIS-WARM (866-947-9276) and leave us a message describing the changes you’ve noticed.
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
Communications Director Joyce Harms
Communications Creative Manager Shauna Cook
Water Specialist Will Hoyer
Changing Perceptions of Global Warming Host a presentation of Wisconsin’s Inconvenient Truth in your community. Clean Wisconsin’s Ryan Schryver has been trained by former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore to give global warming presentations. These presentations have helped thousands of Wisconsinites understand the local effects of climate change and identify ways we can work together to reduce our global warming pollution. If you are interested in hosting a presentation in your community contact Ryan Schryver at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 251-7020 extension 25.
Staff Scientist Peter Taglia
Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver
RE-AMP Coordinator Elizabeth Wheeler
Membership and Development Development Director Brian Kelly
Membership & Development Manager Becky Weber
Development Assistant Brenda Voloshin
Administration Ofﬁce Administrator
Tell us YOUR global warming story Call toll free: 1-866-WIS-WARM (866-947-9276) or email wiswarm@CleanWisconsin.org Cut out and place near your phone or computer for future reference. Thank You - Clean Wisconsin. 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 38, No. 1 Issue date: January 2008 ©2008 Clean Wisconsin. All rights reserved Printed with soy ink on unbleached, recycled paper. ISSN # 1549-8107
Intern Adam Conlin
BOARD Pam McGillivray – Chair (Madison) Susan Greenﬁeld – Vice Chair (Racine) Gary Goyke – Secretary (Madison) Gof Thomson – Treasurer (New Glarus) Mark Gill (Milwaukee) Kate Gordon (California member-at-large) Paul Linzmeyer (Green Bay) Carl Sinderbrand (Madison) David Wandel (Madison) Guy Wolf (Stoddard)
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
Clean Wisconsin’s 2007-08 legislative agenda
eading down the home stretch of the 2007-08 Wisconsin Legislative Session, Clean Wisconsin has many “irons in the ﬁre” and is in position to score several major environmental policy victories before the session ends in May. Unfortunately, Wisconsin was the last state in the nation to pass and sign a budget bill. The budget bill was introduced by Governor Doyle in February of last year and should have been passed by the legislature in time to be signed into law by the end of the state’s ﬁscal year at the end of June. Instead, gridlock between the Senate and Assembly kept the budget in limbo until the third week in October when a compromise was reached. The fact that the budget took so long to pass meant that other bills were stalled and much time was lost.
Budget Victory in 2007! The good news is that when the budget ﬁnally passed it contained funding for several key environmental programs. While unfortunate that it took so long, in the ﬁnal analysis the budget bill was worth the wait. Thanks to your support, Clean Wisconsin worked directly with members of the Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee to develop support early in the budget process. Clean Wisconsin helped create this victory via the state budget by describing the environmental, economic and job creation beneﬁts of funding for renewable energy business grants and loans, Ofﬁce of Energy Independence stafﬁng, polluted runoff funding and other environmental programs. Further, Clean Wisconsin helped to build public support for these programs throughout the budget process and in the end it paid off with several budget victories: • $26 million in grants and loans for renewable energy technology development and manufacturing; • $86 million a year for Stewardship Fund natural area land acquisition; • $12 million in cost-sharing for farmers to reduce polluted runoff; and, • $17 million for cleaning up toxic contaminated sediments in the Milwaukee and Menominee rivers.
Remaining 2007-08 Priorities: Great Lakes Compact - With the help of our members, Clean Wisconsin has played a leadership role for more than a year in helping to develop and draft legislation which would protect the Great Lakes from being drained by large scale diversions to other parts of the country or world and keeps the management of the Great Lakes in the hands of the Great Lakes states. The Great Lakes are Wisconsin’s greatest natural resources and this legislative effort to protect them for future generations is Clean Wisconsin’s highest priority in this legislative session. The Great Lakes Compact is an agreement by the Governors of the eight Great Lakes states, and the Premiers of the two Canadian Provinces that border the Great Lakes, that must be ratiﬁed by the legislatures of all eight states and then be passed by Congress to have the force of law. The agreement was signed by the Governors in December 2005 and only Minnesota and Illinois’ legislatures have ratiﬁed it so far. Clean Wisconsin Program Director Keith Reopelle served on a special legislative study committee that drafted Compact ratifying legislation for Wisconsin and now serves on a stakeholder committee convened by Governor Doyle to work out differences between the stakeholders. At the time of writing this article, no bill has been ofﬁcially introduced yet, though Clean Wisconsin has helped prepare draft bill language. (Thank you to all of our members who have taken action to help pass a strong Compact. Your actions are integral to the passing of the bill.)
Mercury Products - Nearly one thousand of our members submitted comments to the DNR on mercury emission limits in 2007. Now, Clean Wisconsin has taken the leadership role in helping legislators draft a bill that will phase out the use of mercury in numerous products where alternatives (to mercury) are available at a reasonable price. The bill, being introduced by Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), will keep mercury out of the environment by phasing out its use in products such as thermostats, switches, relays and measuring devices. (Thank you to all of our members who contacted their legislators to ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Your actions are integral to the passing of the bill.) Appliance Efﬁciency Standards - We are proud to say that Clean Wisconsin is the leader in helping legislators to develop, draft and advance a bill that would set minimum state energy efﬁciency standards for several appliances and equipment that have no such standards at the federal level. If passed, the bill will set energy efﬁciency requirements for products such as residential furnaces, pool heaters, DVD players, walk-in refrigerators and freezers, light ﬁxtures and others. If passed into law soon, the efﬁciency standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 294,000 tons by 2020 and save homeowners and businesses $134 million on the energy bills by 2020.
Safe Climate Act - Clean Wisconsin has supported efforts to advance Senate Bill 81 which would require the DNR to establish rules for monitoring, reporting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The bill, introduced by Senator Miller (D-Monona) and Representative Black (D-Madi-
We Need Your Help To Advance Our Legislative Agenda!
Right now is the time to contact our legislators and ask them to make the environment a priority for the remainder of the legislative session. Please contact your state Senator and Assembly representative and urge them to: 1. Support strong Great Lakes Compact legislation. 2. Protect our children’s health by supporting the mercury products phase-out bill. 3. Co-sponsor and support the appliance efﬁciency standards bill. 4. Support a Phosphorus Ban in Lawn Fertilizers (SB 197 and AB 396).
son) mirrors a bill passed and signed into law in California (AB 32) in 2006. SB 81 is consistent with and complementary to the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, though the task force is moving at a much faster pace than the bill, and many of the bill’s requirements will be obsolete before it is passed. Clean Wisconsin will work with the bill’s authors to strengthen it.
Phosphorus Ban in Lawn Fertilizers - The Wisconsin Association of Lakes is leading the effort to pass a bill that prohibits the application of phosphorous-containing fertilizer to lawns, golf courses and other mowed grassy areas (turf ) except to establish grass in the ﬁrst growing season or in areas where a soil test shows the soil is lacking phosphorus. Phosphorus is the limiting nutrient for weed growth in most Wisconsin lakes and streams which means that an excess of phosphorus causes excessive weed and algae growth. SB 197 was introduced by Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona) and a duplicate companion bill, AB 396, was introduced in the Assembly by Representative Gary Bies (R-Sister Bay). The bill had a hearing in the Senate last summer and stands a good chance of passing this spring.
The Great Lakes Compact: looking back to 2007 and ahead to 2008
his has been an incredibly intense year for the Great Lakes Compact in state legislatures, and between the printing deadline and mailing of this article, there is sure to be some activity. As of December 1, 2007, Minnesota and Illinois passed the Compact into law. Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania have introduced the Compact into their state legislatures; New York has introduced and passed the Compact through both chambers of their legislature, but it hasn’t yet been sent to the Governor. Wisconsin and Ohio have not yet introduced the Compact. This is not to say the topic hasn’t received attention. Wisconsin’s legislature has gone through a legislative council special committee to evaluate implementation language for the Compact; however, due to the actions of a few council members who have very speciﬁc interests for the Compact, no consensus was reached on language. Statewide, mayors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Clean Wisconsin, have joined together with a joint resolution in support of a strong Compact with environmentally protective measures. Governor Jim Doyle has devoted time to the Compact, calling on a variety of stakeholders to help negotiate language. With such activity on the Compact in 2007 and more work to do, we can expect that attention directed at the Compact will continue into 2008.
In 2008, Clean Wisconsin will continue pushing the Compact in our legislature. We’ll continue working with our members, NGO and governmental partners, to build support for the best implementing language to protect our Great Lakes. As we talk to our partners, we will rely on the policy research we’ve done on how best to protect the Great Lakes. We plan to counter our opponents with factual arguments that address the policy and economic beneﬁts that the Great Lakes Compact will provide Wisconsin. With our continued work, Clean Wisconsin is optimistic that we will see a draft introduced in early 2008, and hopefully passed into law this or next session. Member support in 2007 has helped fund Clean Wisconsin’s crucial outreach promoting and building support on the Great Lakes Compact. For example, after a successful series of meetings in northern Wisconsin, Clean Wisconsin was happy to see a signiﬁcant increase in momentum on the Compact. With your continued support, Clean Wisconsin will be able to keep working on this legacy-planning law to protect our vulnerable Great Lakes from the diversions that would otherwise destroy them.
Great Lakes restoration work took many forms in 2007
ne of the highlights that the Great Lakes restoration and protection movement saw this year was a report on the economic beneﬁts of cleaning up the Great Lakes. As Congress debates whether to put $26 billion into a comprehensive Great Lakes restoration strategy, the Brookings Institution researched what the impacts would be. Their report, “Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Beneﬁts of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem,” found that communities in the Great Lakes region would see both short- and long-term beneﬁts to restoration. An estimated $30 to $50 billion in short-term economic gains would stem from the clean-up activities, and at least $50 billion in long-term gains would be a result of increased tourism, ﬁshing, recreation and home values; meaning Great Lakes restoration will net us three to four times what we invest. This report’s conclusion has helped build public and governmental support for restoration legislation, the Great Lakes Compact, and our work to protect the Great Lakes.
Here are some of the activities that your help has supported: Great Lakes Lobby Day 2007: In March 2007, Clean Wisconsin’s water program organized some of our traditional and non-traditional allies, such as sport ﬁshing groups, and lobbied our federal delegation on Great Lakes restoration funding. We followed this up with a petition that nearly 300 people had signed in support of the federal restoration funding. It was a huge success. Within days, nearly all of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation had signed on as co-sponsors of the Great Lakes Collaboration Implementation Act.
Asian Carp Barrier: Clean Wisconsin educated the public and asked our members to be involved in the pressure that led to successful authorization of the Asian Carp Barrier, through the authorization of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. GLRC meeting: Clean Wisconsin’s Water Program Director, Melissa Malott, spoke about Wisconsinite’s environmental concerns for the Great Lakes at the Regional Collaboration meeting in October. Along with supporting more action on the GLRC priorities, Melissa encouraged the collaborative to look at preventable pollution problems, like oil reﬁnery expansions around the Great Lakes. Murphy Oil Reﬁnery: Murphy Oil reﬁnery has announced interest in a $6 billion expansion of its Superior, Wisconsin reﬁnery, the only oil reﬁnery in the state. Their non-ofﬁcial proposal includes the biggest wetland ﬁll in the history of the Clean Water Act, air and water pollution increases, a large withdrawal of Lake Superior water, and processing of oil sands, which is the dirtiest form of oil with the highest greenhouse gas emissions. Clean Wisconsin will be closely involved in this process to protect our great Lake Superior. Your support has made these activities possible. In 2008, we plan to continue our work to protect and restore the Great Lakes. We expect our work against the Murphy Oil reﬁnery expansion will be one of our largest campaigns. Your support, like helping us cover the costs of experts, will help us achieve victory. We look forward to working with you on a successful 2008.
Water use and global warming Will Hoyer
he national media has ‘discovered’ the fact that water supplies are not inexhaustible. Coverage of the drought in the southeast, and particularly Atlanta, has brought considerable attention to the fact that water conservation is something needing to be at the forefront of planning in communities across the country, not just the southwest. The General Accounting Ofﬁce in this country has issued a report saying all or parts of 36 states will be facing water shortages by 2012. The problem is a national one. At a recent national conference in Chicago, hosted by the Alliance for Water Efﬁciency - a new national organization focused on reducing water consumption across the country, the focus was on conserving water for other reasons. Watering your lawn may not be the ﬁrst thing that comes to mind when asked about the causes of global warming but increasingly the connection is being made between water consumption, energy demand and our carbon footprint. Water is heavy, and it takes a lot of energy to pump water either up from deep underground or from lakes or reservoirs, treat it and then distribute it to homes.
The California Energy Commission estimates that 19 percent of electricity usage and more than 30 percent of natural gas usage in the state is associated with water – moving it, heating it, or cleaning it – and the consumption of water in most places is growing, with especially large increases in outdoor water use for decorative water features, pools and lawn and garden irrigation. In many communities 10-15% of water that is pumped is lost to leaking pipes. Combining that with the enormous discretionary water usage for watering non-native plants and keeping a green lawn throughout a dry summer and there are tremendous opportunities for communities to reduce their impacts on water and global warming. In Wisconsin, Waukesha led the way by coming up with a community water conservation plan and Madison and others will be following suit. You can help out by demanding that your communities begin to take aggressive, forward-thinking steps to reduce their water consumption in order to save money, reduce their impacts on local lakes and rivers and to reduce their emissions of global warming pollutants.
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
Lake Superior: Will it remain an economic engine driven by clean water? Wisconsinites need to decide if the ramiﬁcations of the proposed Murphy Oil reﬁnery expansion are worth the beneﬁts
Photo Credit: Google Maps
n recent years we have seen a revolution in environmental awareness and a dedication to addressing human-caused environmental problems. Federal, state and local governments are working to address greenhouse gas emissions; the Congress is striving to pass an omnibus Great Lakes restoration funding package; entire industries are working to clean up their operations and protect our water and air. However, one industry, the petroleum industry, wants to relive the global warming dark ages - a time when we were starting to learn about global warming but were doing nothing to stop it. The petroleum industry is looking to expand development of oil sands. Oil sands, also known as tar sands and bituminous sands, are a heavy form of oil, mixed in with clay and sand. Extraction of oil sands is inefﬁcient and incredibly environmentally destructive; two tons of oil sands are needed to make one barrel of oil, and in the process wetlands are drained, and forests and vegetation stripped. One of the many toxic by-products of oil sands production is a collection of tailings ponds, chemical slurry lagoons that will never be recoverable and so large you can see them from space with the naked eye. According to the Pembina Institute, each barrel of raw oil sands extracted requires 2-5 barrels of water and between 250-1000 cubic feet of natural gas. Worse yet, because of the intensity of the extraction, upgrading and reﬁnery processes, oil sands have approximately three times the greenhouse gases (GHGs) as conventional oil production. Of the handful of industry expansions, one of them is in Wisconsin. Superior’s Murphy Oil reﬁnery is looking at a seven fold increase in size to develop oil sands, from production of 35,000 barrels per day to 235,000 barrels per day. With this, Murphy would increase its energy consumption by 12 times. This expansion would signiﬁcantly increase the size of the reﬁnery, and Murphy has stated that their proposals involve ﬁlling 400 acres of rare wetlands, the largest wetlands ﬁll since the passage of the Clean Water Act. Furthermore, Murphy is planning to withdraw 5 million gallons per day of water from Lake Superior, approximately 2.5 million of which will be lost to evaporation. Clean Wisconsin has not yet been able to obtain details on any increases in air or water pollution, but we found that Murphy has a track record of noncompliance with air and water laws. In the early 2000s, Murphy was prosecuted for violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and “withheld information knowingly and intentionally” from the Wisconsin DNR regarding its permits. In exchange for this signiﬁcant pollution of our air, water and massive destruction of wetlands, Murphy is promising a $6.2 billion project that will bring a few thousand temporary construction jobs to the Superior area, and will increase Murphy’s labor force by up to 400 permanent, high-paid union positions. There is no denying that the prospect of 400 new high-wage jobs in Wisconsin is an exciting prospect. But the question for Wisconsinites is about the costbeneﬁt-analysis: are the ramiﬁcations of the proposed Murphy Oil expansion worth the beneﬁts? We don’t yet have all the facts as to the consequences of Murphy’s pollution, but we do know a lot about the history of environmental harm in Wisconsin and the real costs to us.
www.murphyoilcorp.com 2407 Stinson Ave, Superior - (715) 398-7255
Satellite view of the Superior, Wiconsin Area.
We continue to learn about the value of the Great Lakes. While Murphy claims this proposal will improve Wisconsin’s economy, we know that Wisconsin’s economic security relies on healthy Great Lakes to drive the multi billion dollar industries of tourism, recreation, shipping, and agriculture, not to mention the high quality of life in this state. This enormous economic engine is driven by clean water, not dirty reﬁneries. An expansion would jeopardize not only the economic value Lake Superior brings to Wisconsin, but would also threaten our cleanest Great Lake and our way of life. The costs of expansion in terms of public health risks and environmental degradation are greater than the return on investment. Murphy Oil has a dismal track record when it comes to environmental compliance. An expansion of the reﬁnery would increase that facility’s potential to emit global warming gases, mercury pollution and sulfur dioxide threatening public health and impairing water quality. The Murphy Oil plant expansion would also likely require certain rules and regulations protecting Wisconsin’s environment be bypassed or changed, thus opening up other natural areas throughout the state to development or exploitation. Clean Wisconsin is bringing reason to the debate, whether in Superior or the State Capitol building. We believe Wisconsin has other options to consider. Six billion dollars is the investment amount needed for the expansion. If this same amount were invested in clean, renewable energy technologies, it could create thousands of high-wage, permanent jobs without polluting the lake that drives much of the rest of the region’s economy. Looking at it another
Clean Wisconsin is optimistic that common sense and stewardship will prevail but we need your help. Can you help with the letter-writing campaign? Can you help us offset costs with a donation? Do you own or know someone who has property in the Lake Superior area? Tell us your concerns! Your input will help us strengthen our case. As we discuss this case with our legislators and governor, we will share your concerns with them. If Murphy moves forward and applies for permit applications to expand its operations, we will bring your concerns into the administrative and judicial process. Call Melissa Malott at (608) 251-7020 extension 13 or email her at email@example.com. way, for a fraction of the cost of Murphy’s proposal, we could get the beneﬁt of jobs and economic development, while protecting the Great Lakes and environment and cutting our carbon footprint. People come to northern Wisconsin and Lake Superior to enjoy clean water and air, not swim in contaminated water and breathe in volatile chemicals. When all the facts are analyzed Murphy Oil’s proposal is a bad investment for Wisconsin. Wisconsinites deserve a healthy economy that doesn’t take a toll on public health and our environment.
Prescott Jou rn
al - October
Hereâ€™s a glimpse of some of the recent media coverage Clean Wisconsin has received.
Wisconsin State Journal Madison - November 6, 2007
Wisconsin State Journal - Madison - August 27, 2007
vember 30, Racine Journal Times - No
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
Alliant’s dirty coal plant continues to hit snags Ryan Schryver
ll too often citizens and environmental groups enter too late in the game to affect the outcome of major public decisions. Often times, behind closed doors, high proﬁle lobbyists and lawyers have laid the ground work for the approval of projects with decision makers. By the time these projects reach the public, environmental advocates are often steamrolled by the momentum already developed behind the scenes. Thanks to the support of our members and foundation supporters, Clean Wisconsin’s technical and legal experts have been able to work behind the scenes every step of the way to challenge and delay Alliant Energy’s permit to build a new dirty coal plant in Cassville, Wisconsin.
The lack of information from Alliant about the high rates of global warming pollution from the proposed coal plant is one of the reasons the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has twice declared the application incomplete. Our success can be attributed in part to our ability to enter the game early on. Early in the process we found that the type of coal boiler chosen by Alliant has very high emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas approximately 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. To address this aspect of Alliant’s plan, we set up a meeting with the DNR to review the new information and ensure that all global warming pollution from the new plant is fully accounted for in the development of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the coal plant. The lack of information from Alliant about the high rates of global warming pollution from the proposed coal plant is one of the reasons the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has twice declared the application incomplete. The early involvement of Clean Wisconsin staff and volunteers in the proposed Alliant coal plant has also given us the tools to respond to the latest developments in the global ﬁght against coal. In October 2007, state regulators in Kansas blocked the proposed Sunﬂower coal plant because of the carbon dioxide emissions this plant would contribute. Clean Wisconsin quickly pointed out that the coal plant proposed by Alliant for Cassville has an even higher global warming emission rate (pounds of pollution per unit of energy produced) than the Sunﬂower coal plant, making the power plant chosen by Alliant the worst of the worst. The blocked Sunﬂower coal plant is just the latest in a string of setbacks for the developers of coal power plants, with the majority of the coal projects announced in the past two years facing cancellations and delays, according to the Department of Energy. Recently, Alliant claimed they are committed to burning biomass at the proposed Cassville coal plant to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Again, Clean Wisconsin was ready to point out that the construction application ﬁled by Alliant does not include the equipment required to burn biomass and a ready supply of biomass has not been identiﬁed or quantiﬁed by Alliant. Moreover, even if the proposed Cassville coal plant did burn biomass at the highest rates possible (10 to 20% of the fuel, by weight) the resulting global warming emission rate would still be higher than other plants in Wisconsin burning 100% coal! We are proud to say that the proposed plant is now over one year behind schedule while the costs of building new dirty coal plants and the likelihood of new global warming regulations have both increased. We will need your help as we continue to work to stop dirty coal plants in Wisconsin. Please visit www.CleanWisconsin.org to ﬁnd out how you can help us slam the door on more dirty coal in Wisconsin.
Closing out 2007... from front page Minnesota. Together we helped plan the Governor’s 2007 Task Force on Global Warming that is now reviewing many policy options and will lay out the road map for how Wisconsin will achieve large reductions in CO2. (Please see the related article on page 8 in this issue.) Many of our members contacted their legislators on these issues and we appreciate your loyalty and dedication to Wisconsin’s clean water and air. Your actions and ﬁnancial contributions make a difference!
Protecting Wisconsin’s Waters Clean Wisconsin also focused on reducing polluted runoff and protecting our state’s rivers and lakes. Together, with our partner groups, we won a
policy victory that improves manure management and will reduce spills while keeping manure out of our rivers and drinking water. We also asked the Governor to increase funding for programs that reduce polluted runoff, which he did in the State’s new budget which increased money for these programs from six million dollars to 22 million dollars per year. In 2007, Clean Wisconsin continued our hard work to gain the lasting protections of a Great Lakes Compact. The Compact will protect against large scale water diversions from the Great Lakes, and needs to be ratiﬁed by Wisconsin’s legislature. We are also dedicated to restoring the Great Lakes and have worked with several coalitions to ensure federal funding to address issues impacting the Great Lakes, such as invasive species.
In turn, the Governor asked the DNR to revise the state’s rules, and he asked the DNR for a 90% reduction of toxic mercury pollution. In 2007, thanks to you, Clean Wisconsin staff delivered nearly 1,000 petitions to the DNR in support of stronger rules to reduce this toxic pollutant. We continue to recruit doctors, nurses and other health care workers to support our campaign. As we enter 2008, we are proud to reﬂect on our successes of 2007 and look forward to working with you, our members, on water, air and energy issues in Wisconsin. Please read the article on our legislative agenda (on page 3 in this issue) for an update on what we will be focusing on in 2008. Please see related articles on these topics throughout this issue.
Reducing Toxic Mercury Pollution In 2006, Clean Wisconsin asked the Governor to be a strong advocate on reducing mercury pollution.
Global Warming Task Force recommendations heating up Keith Reopelle
overnor Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming began meeting in May, 2007 and has now developed more than 60 recommendations for policies to curb the release of greenhouse gases in Wisconsin. Members of a Task Force are selected because they are considered experts and advocates in their ﬁeld and are trusted to be reasonable and collaborative to reach the best conclusion for Wisconsin. The Task Force on Global Warming is comprised of issue stakeholders appointed by Governor Doyle, which is considered an honor. We are proud to say that Clean Wisconsin is a leader on the Task Force on Global Warming. Clean Wisconsin not only has a seat on the Task Force but also contributes leadership in the following ways: • We have representatives on four of the six working groups; • We co-chair three of the working groups; and, • We are a representative on the Technical Advisory Committee that is overseeing modeling of the recommendations.
Clean Wisconsin Program Director Keith Reopelle presenting to Governor Doyle and others.
Thanks to your support, Clean Wisconsin has played a central role in developing and advocating for strong recommendations on the Task Force. The recommendations have been developed into these six working groups: • Energy Efﬁciency and Conservation Work Group • Electric Generation Work Group • Transportation Work Group • Industrial Work Group • Multi-sector Work Group (e.g. cap & trade/carbon tax) • Agriculture and Forestry Work Group Some of the major policy recommendations include: • Enhanced Energy Efﬁciency – a tripling of the investment in statewide energy efﬁciency programs. • Increased Renewable Energy Standard – increasing the current requirement that 10% of electricity sold by each utility come from renewable sources by 2015 to 17.5% coming from renewable sources by 2020. • Clean Cars – a requirement that cars have limits to the ﬂeet average greenhouse gas emissions from the tailpipe. • Cap & Trade – requiring that all large stationary sources must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. • Carbon Tax – a tax on all signiﬁcant sources of greenhouse gas emissions that are not large stationary sources covered by the cap and trade program. You can read detailed descriptions of all of these policy recommendation proposals at the DNR’s Task Force website http://dnr.wi.gov/ environmentprotect/gtfgw/. The descriptions include an estimate of total greenhouse gas emission reductions, an estimate of the cost, and a description of barriers to adopting and implementing the policy. We urge you to look at some of these proposed policy recommendations and comment on them online. The Task
Climate change leader... from front page At the conclusion of the Energy Summit, the MGA announced the Midwest Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform. Clean Wisconsin’s Keith Reopelle worked on a stakeholder group that helped draft the platform adopted by the Midwest Governors during the summer and fall 2007. The platform includes four tiers of increasing commitment: • Tier I: A commitment to reduce emissions of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases, while maximizing the energy resource and economic advantages and opportunities of Midwestern states. • Tier II: Speciﬁc objectives for energy conservation/efﬁciency and use of clean renewable energy. • Tier III: Cooperative regional agreements on CO2 management infrastructure, transmission adequacy, bioproduct procurement, renewable
Photo Credit: Sherrie Gruder
Force needs to hear from the public; if you support Wisconsin doing its share to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the level needed to avoid disastrous effects of climate change it will require a great deal of public involvement. Wisconsin’s greenhouse gas emissions were approximately 123 million tons in 2003 (the most recent year we have reliable numbers for). Electric utilities account for 35% of those emissions, transportation 24% and industrial emissions 13%. Scientists estimate that worldwide we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 60 to 80 percent below 1990 levels. Even a 60 to 80 percent reduction from 2003 levels – reducing our emissions by nearly 74 to 90 million tons per year – is a huge up-hill climb. We need everyone involved, including individuals willing to make individual changes and individuals weighing in to support strong policies to reduce emissions. We give a big thank you to all of our members who attended the listening sessions and made comments to the Task Force on Global Warming in 2007 and we will be looking for your support in 2008 as we work towards implementing the recommendations of the Task Force. We will not be able to do this without your help.
fuels and low-carbon energy corridors. • Tier VI: An accord to establish a Midwestern greenhouse gas reduction program. Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas and Manitoba signed on to the greenhouse gas accord agreeing to establish reduction targets and timelines consistent with MGA member states’ targets, develop a multi-sector cap-and-trade regulatory program, join the Climate Registry, develop necessary mechanisms and policies to achieve the targets, and regional incentives and funding mechanisms. In addition, Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota signed on as “observers” of the greenhouse gas accord, reserving the right to sign on as full participants at a later date. A second important element in working toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions results from the work of the cap and trade working group of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming in Wisconsin. Clean Wisconsin’s Keith Reopelle serves as the co-chair of the working group that worked with state utilities, other industries, other environmentalists and other stakeholders including the Potawatomi Tribe to develop a cap and trade policy recommenda-
tion for the state of Wisconsin. There will still be many details of this regional greenhouse gas emission program that need to be worked out and implemented including: • The target reduction levels; • Whether to auction emission permits or give them to polluters; • Whether to include any “safety valves” or price breaks that would suspend the cap if the cost of compliance went above a certain price; and, • Whether to limit the use of offsets (reductions from sources not regulated) for compliance. Clean Wisconsin will continue to play a leadership role in developing these policies for the state of Wisconsin and the Midwest region and we need your help. Please contact Ryan Schryver at (608) 2517020 extension 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org to ﬁnd out how you can get involved.
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
Dirty old coal: Update on Oak Creek’s 45-year-old plants Katie Nekola
to intervene in the case. Our groups will analyze whether the technology being proposed to clean up the plant is the best, most cost effective available; whether it will reduce pollutants such as mercury, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide to the maximum degree possible; and what the utility plans to do about its carbon dioxide emissions, among other questions. Does it make sense for customers to pay nearly a billion dollars in order to keep these old coal burners operating for another 30 years, when we need to take action against global warming now? Clean Wisconsin and CUB will hire experts to review the company’s forecasted and actual need for power to serve its customers, which will tell us whether these old units are needed or whether the utility can meet its customers’ energy needs with its other generating units, energy efﬁciency and conservation, and wind power. Preliminary numbers provided by WE Energies show that their actual electricity sales have fallen far short of the demand growth they predicted a few years ago when they wanted to justify building the new Elm Road 1,300 megawatt coal-burning facility. The bottom line is whether it makes economic and environmental sense to install pollution controls on old coal-ﬁred power plants, or whether it would be better to simply shut them down and ﬁnd cleaner sources of energy that don’t contribute to global warming and other air and water pollution. There will be a public hearing in the Racine area in January where you can express your opinion; we encourage you to attend and make your voice heard and argue for a Clean Wisconsin! Please watch our web site or contact Katie Nekola for details. For more information, contact Katie Nekola at (608) 251-7020 extension 14 or by email at email@example.com.
Does it make sense for customers to pay nearly a billion dollars in order to keep these old coal burners operating for another 30 years, when we need to take action against global warming now?
lean Wisconsin has long made it a priority to advocate for the cleanup or shutdown of old, dirty coal plants. Thanks to your support, we are making great progress. We are currently looking at whether it makes economic and environmental sense to install pollution controls on Oak Creek’s old coal-ﬁred power plants, or whether it would be better to simply shut them down and ﬁnd cleaner sources of energy that don’t contribute to global warming and other air and water pollution. Old-technology coal burners are a primary source of global warming and air and water pollution that threaten public health. They send toxic mercury into Wisconsin’s waterways, contaminating ﬁsh and creating a signiﬁcant health hazard to humans. Last year, the DNR was required to enact more stringent rules governing the amount of air pollution that these units could emit, and power plants owners across the state must now ﬁnally take steps to install modern pollution controls on old dirty plants. Although the new clean air rules require reductions in certain air pollutants, they don’t deal with global warming pollutants at all. Thus, the equipment that utilities are planning to install at coal plants does nothing to control greenhouse gases, and in fact would allow major sources of global warming pollution to keep operating for decades longer. WE Energies has proposed to spend over $800 million to install pollution controls at its old Oak Creek coal units in Southeastern Wisconsin. In order to do so, they must ask the Public Service Commission for permission to raise electric rates in order to pay the bill. Clean Wisconsin is partnering with the Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
Changing perceptions of global warming one event at a time
n the spring of 2007, Clean Wisconsin members from across southern Wisconsin had the opportunity to attend a fantastic conference focusing on the effects global warming is having on Wisconsin. Esteemed professors and researchers from the University of Wisconsin - Madison joined Clean Wisconsin staff, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and nationally renowned Mike Tidwell, author/advocate/global warming expert, for a day of education, organizing and action focused on ﬁnding solutions for global warming. The conference was co-hosted by the Dominican Sisters of the Sinsinawa Mound at their beautiful facility outside of Hazel Green. Over 100 people attended and helped launch several new initiatives working to make Wisconsin a leader on global warming solutions. In addition to the successful conference at the Sinsinawa Mound, Clean Wisconsin members and supporters have helped to sponsor more than 50 presentations on global warming in Wisconsin. Grassroots Organizer Ryan Schryver was trained by former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore to give presentations on global warming. His talks focus on the changes in our local environment we are seeing or expect to see as a result of global warming. These presentations have helped thousands of Wisconsinites understand the local effects of climate change and identify ways we can work together to reduce our global warming pollution. If you are interested in hosting a presentation in your community contact Ryan Schryver at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608) 251-7020 extension 25.
Appleton Argyle Beloit Boscobel Cedarburg Dodgeville Elkhorn Fond du Lac Glendale Hazel Green Kenosha La Crosse Lake Geneva Madison Marathon Milwaukee Mineral Point Monona Mukwonago Palmyra Platteville Port Washington Racine Ripon Spring Green Viroqua
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Wisconsin’s waters: getting better, but there’s still work to be done Will Hoyer
hanks to your support Wisconsin’s waters are better protected now than they were at the beginning of 2007. Two sets of administrative rules, one protecting the quality of our water and one protecting the quantity, went into effect in 2007. The largest of Wisconsin’s farms face increased scrutiny of their manure management practices as a result of updates to NR 243. The updates to NR 243 prohibit Wisconsin’s large farms from spreading manure on frozen or snow covered ground when the threat of runoff into lakes, streams and rivers is greatest and requires these farms to have at least six months of manure storage capacity so that they can avoid spreading at vulnerable times of the year. With these rules in place there will hopefully be no more incidents of manure running off of farms and contaminating drinking water, fewer sick families and fewer ﬁsh kills. Also, there are now rules in place to better manage the impacts of groundwater pumping on springs, trout streams and other exceptional waters of the state. NR 820 went into effect in 2007 and implements the Groundwater Protection Act of 2004. This rule, while a good ﬁrst step, will need to be strengthened in the next year or two to better protect the supply of water in our precious waterways. With your support we can make the necessary improvements. In 2008 we will work tirelessly to get rules to better protect Wisconsin’s water quality from the excess nutrients and contaminants coming from the state’s agriculture industry. With your support we will also be working to update 40-year-old rules governing development along shorelines, and with these changes, over time, Wisconsin’s waters will be better places to live, work and play.
Clean Wisconsin launches new website!
n November, 2007, Clean Wisconsin launched a revamped website. The new site, at the same old address www.CleanWisconsin.org, is the result of numerous hours of hard work dedicated to bringing you a more organized and pleasing site. Clean Wisconsin works on numerous campaigns and is the lead organization on many statewide environmental issues. We have constantly changing “Late Breaking News” and “Take Action” opportunities and wanted to make it easier for you to ﬁnd the information you want on a particular subject. Please take a few moments to review the site and offer comments or suggestion to Shauna at sacook@CleanWisconsin.org. And if you haven’t already signed up for Clean Wisconsin’s Take Action team, do that too. You’ll get the latest news in your email box, and we’ll offer actions you can take on a variety of subjects affecting your clean water, clean air and clean energy.
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
Removing the barriers to renewable energy production Ryan Schryver
hanks to the support of our members across the state and extensive lobbying from Clean Wisconsin staff, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 141 (the Clean Energy Bill). One of the major components of the Clean Energy Bill was a requirement for Wisconsin utilities to begin producing at least 10% of their energy from renewable resources by the year 2015. Now Clean Wisconsin is working to ensure these goals are met and Wisconsin can transition to a clean energy future. If Wisconsin is to meet those renewable electricity goals, wind energy will need to be a major component of our energy mix. But recently, a hodgepodge of unhelpful and ill-advised local laws and regulations have made Wisconsin one of the most difﬁcult places in the country to approve sites and build wind farms. All across the state, local governments have felt the pressure from a small but vocal group of opponents to wind energy development. Since the current state laws leave it up to county and local governments to oversee the permitting of smaller scale wind farms, this has meant that local units of government all across the state have enacted their own unique standards and policies for siting wind energy projects. This process has created a patchwork of policies that make it difﬁcult for wind energy developers to build wind farms in Wisconsin. In many cases local governments have changed the local rules and regulations during the permitting process. Forcing renewable energy developers to hit these moving targets has caused costly and unnecessary delays for many projects across the state. While it is important to consider local interests in any major project, it is also important for consistent standards to be followed during the permitting process. With our abundance of natural resources, Wisconsin should be a leader in clean energy production. But in order to do so, we will need a statewide standard to guide the permitting of wind energy; not the burdensome, piecemeal approach we currently have. Over the course of the next year, Clean Wisconsin will be asking for your support to help create a statewide policy for approving sites for wind farms. We are working with a broad coalition of renewable energy advocates, wind energy developers, businesses, labor unions, and utilities to pass legislation that will open the door for additional clean, safe, renewable energy in Wisconsin. Photo Credit: Clean Wisconsin
Your renewable energy victory Over the course of 2007, Clean Wisconsin members made their voices heard. You wanted more renewable energy, you got more renewable energy! Clean Wisconsin members across the state took the time to meet with and contact their representatives letting them know how important renewable energy is to the future of Wisconsin. This message was received loud and clear. Thanks to the countless phone calls, letters, and emails submitted by Clean Wisconsin members, 7 of Wisconsin’s 8 congressional representatives recently voted to increase the federal Renewable Electricity Standard. Your passionate support for this topic helped push Wisconsin representatives to cross party lines and create strong bipartisan support for clean energy. Your hard work over the last year ensured the US House of Representatives would get serious about backing clean energy legislation. For the ﬁrst time in years, the House of Representatives Energy Bill included minimum standards for the production of renewable energy. This landmark bill will require public utilities around the country to provide at least 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020. This will be a huge leap forward for many states that currently get less than 1% of their energy from renewable sources like wind, solar and biofuels. As of press time, the US Senate and House of Representatives are in the process of ironing out the details of a “compromise” version of The Energy Bill, but most experts believe that the agreement will include the Renewable Electricity Standard. The bill will soon be on the President’s desk and ready for his signature. Your efforts have paid off; more renewable energy is just around the corner! Take a deep breath of slightly cleaner air and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
“And the envelope please...”
omething as simple as a little number nine 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 of our members, is doing. And here is where the envelope comes in. The little envelope that is tucked inside this newsletter makes it easy for you to assist Clean Wisconsin in being an advocate and effective voice. Simply write a check for whatever amount you choose, slip it inside the envelope, stamp it, and drop it in the mailbox. You can even donate via your credit card. It is as simple as that. Perhaps you took a minute. Maybe two. But that act of making a contribution to Clean Wisconsin has an impact. You are helping to work toward clean water, clean air, and clean energy.
Cleaning up mercury from power plants
Photo Credit: Clean Wisconsin
Natural Resources Board Members Christine L. Thomas, Chair Stevens Point, WI (715) 346-4185 Jonathan P. Ela, Vice-Chair Madison, WI (608) 238-8187 John W. Welter, Secretary Eau Claire, WI (715) 831-9565 David Clausen Amery, WI (715) 268-8131 Preston D. Cole Milwaukee, WI (414) 286-3671 Gerald M. O’Brien Stevens Point, WI (715) 344-0890 Jane Wiley Wausau, WI (715) 359-2475
lean Wisconsin led the effort to make Wisconsin the third state in the nation to regulate mercury emissions from coal burning power plants. Clean Wisconsin, other environmental groups and many sport ﬁshing and hunting groups petitioned the Department of Natural Resources in early 2007 requesting a 90 percent reduction of mercury emissions from power plants by 2012 to help protect Wisconsin children from the toxic effects of mercury that is accumulating in the ﬁsh we eat. Thanks to your actions, Clean Wisconsin presented nearly 1,000 petitions to the DNR on the issue. After four years of education and negotiation, the DNR and legislature (which has ﬁnal oversight of agency rules) established a reduction requirement of 75 percent by 2015. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee of the legislature also inserted the requirement of adjusting the reduction schedule to match any federal limits that come out subsequently. Early in 2005 EPA established a national require-
While there were supporters for all three of the alternatives, the general public overwhelmingly supported the 90% reduction option. Clean Wisconsin and other allies have made a very strong case that the technology is readily available at a very reasonable price to reduce emissions by 90 percent from Wisconsin coal plants. Because there is a direct and linear relationship between the amount of mercury in the environment and our ﬁsh and the health impacts to the children and pregnant mothers who eat the ﬁsh, we need to reduce those emissions as much as possible. The Natural Resources board is expected to make a decision on the ﬁnal rules at their January Board meeting. The rules then go to legislative committees for review and could be delayed up to 120 days. If you would like to get involved in supporting strong mercury regulations there is still time; please contact Becky Weber at 608-251-7020 extension 17 or email@example.com.
Interesting tidbit Value of lakefront property in WI = $154.7 billion Value of agricultural land in WI = $46 billion Value of forest land in WI = $48 billion Source: www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer/Special/EPAListserv/LakeShoreValue.html
Clean Wisconsin wins ruling... from front page in line with a federal court ruling earlier this year that determined that power plants under construction similar to Oak Creek are actually new facilities, which therefore must comply with a more protective set of environmental regulations. It is expected that the Wisconsin ruling will have signiﬁcance nationwide for other power plants. “WE Energies gambled with shareholder and ratepayer dollars when they decided to push ahead and build this environmentally destructive cooling system,” said Nekola. “They spent over $100
ment to reduce power plant mercury emissions by 70 percent by 2018 and by allowing trading between utilities in different states. In other words, rather than reducing their own mercury emissions, Wisconsin utilities could buy credits from a utility in Ohio that had over-complied with the law. This means that Wisconsin lakes might still receive signiﬁcant mercury from Wisconsin plants and plants at utilities upwind from Wisconsin who buy credits instead of making reductions. Thirteen states ﬁled a lawsuit against EPA claiming the trading system is illegal and the regulations are not protective of children’s health. Wisconsin was one of those states that ﬁled the suit. As a result of the federal law, the DNR began to revise the state regulations in 2006. In January of 2007 Clean Wisconsin again petitioned the DNR with updated information asking for a 90 percent reduction by 2012. The DNR has proposed a revise regulation and held a hearing last spring taking comments on three alternative proposals: • A 70% reduction by 2018 without the interstate trading (DNR’s proposal); • A 70% reduction by 2018 with the interstate trading (the utility position); • A 90% reduction by 2012 without the interstate trading (Clean Wisconsin’s position).
million dollars on a cooling system that – without a permit to operate it – is a white elephant.” Clean Wisconsin wants to thank all its members for their donations that assisted in this victory. Without your help, this victory would not have been possible. Thanks also go Clean Wisconsin’s hardworking staff, especially staff attorney and energy program director Katie Nekola, for her dedication in making this victory a reality. Nice work Katie! Even though we have experienced a victory here, there is still a lot of work to be done on this issue. We’ll keep you posted as things progress.
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
Nuclear power protections still in place Katie Nekola
cally if utilities decided to build them. Proponents of nuclear power, often funded by the nuclear industry itself, have introduced legislation to repeal this protective law, and Clean Wisconsin and its allies have successfully prevented the repeal. The law continues to be attacked and we continue to work to protect it. Recently, nuclear power has been suggested as a possible solution to global warming, since it produces less carbon dioxide than coal-ﬁred power plants. However, in Wisconsin, it is clear that nuclear power is not a solution because, even if the protective law was repealed, reactors could not be constructed within the time frame necessary to have an impact on global warming, and even if they could, they would be far too expensive to build. Wisconsin utilities have made it clear that they do not want to own nuclear power plants by selling Point Beach and Kewaunee to out-of-state mer-
lean Wisconsin continues to successfully preserve a law that protects Wisconsin from expanding its reliance on nuclear power. The law, which has been on the books for over twenty years, doesn’t prohibit new reactors from being built. Rather, it imposes two sensible conditions. The ﬁrst is that there should be a permanent disposal site available for high-level radioactive waste, so that new plants aren’t built that will add to the tons of waste that are already piling up on the Lake Michigan shoreline. The second condition is that any new nuclear plant proposal must be in the economic best interests of Wisconsin ratepayers, a condition that’s impossible to meet since nuclear power plants are by far the most expensive to build of any type of generation, and our electric bills would increase dramati-
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chants. The CEO of Exelon, a major nuclear plant owner nationwide, has said that he would not build a reactor in Wisconsin. Even if an out-of-state nuclear developer wanted to build here, the permitting and construction process takes years and it is far from certain that Wisconsin regulators would approve a new reactor. Action to stop global warming must take place immediately; we don’t have years to wait. Thus, it makes sense for Wisconsin to keep the law that protects us from becoming more of a radioactive waste dump and paying more for electricity.
Please watch our web site for updates on issues and opportunities to attend public hearings. Or sign up for our Action Network by going to www.CleanWisconsin.org and click on Take Action.
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Interns and volunteers important to Clean Wisconsin’s success Laurie Maloney
our membership contributions are the backbone allowing our organization to exist, grow and protect Wisconsin’s resources. What you may not know is that your generosity and support also inspires others to action such as Clean Wisconsin interns and volunteers. Clean Wisconsin recognizes the importance of all of our team members, and would like to acknowledge and thank ALL of our 2007 interns and volunteers for their hard work. Interns and volunteers continue helping us to achieve our goals year after year, and the ﬁfteen of them who worked with us in 2007 have been exceptional! We’ve said goodbye to seven of them in 2007 and look forward to working with our eight current volunteers as our programs continue in 2008. We’d also like to extend a big thanks to Jeremy Jansen, our former La Crosse intern for his grassroots efforts in the La Crosse area. Jeremy graduated in May and has been replaced by Adam Conlin, a senior at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse majoring in sociology. Aside from classes, Adam has been involved in issue and candidate organizing at the university for the past two and a half years and is currently the co-chair of UW-L ProAdam Conlin David Vitse gressives and involved with the Environmental Council. He recently worked with Greenpeace, gaining trainings and campaign experience in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Slovakia. Welcome to the Clean Wisconsin team Adam! We’d also like to give a big thanks to David Vitse. David joined Clean Wisconsin in July 2007 as a legal intern and is responsible for legal research and writing, assisting with energy policy issues as well as administrative law matters. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in elementary education and English literature, and a law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. David volunteers 20 hours a week at Clean Wisconsin and has proven to be a top-notch team member who is not only smart and dedicated, but a lot of fun to work with as well.
Eco-news from around the state Doug Cowgill, Clean Wisconsin volunteer
ERCO plans to phase out mercury emissions Port Edwards, WI The path to a clean environment in Wisconsin may be a long and winding road, with several bumps along the way. However, a signiﬁcant bump in the road has been cleared when earlier this year ERCO Worldwide announced they will spend $95 million to convert their chlorine manufacturing plant in Port Edwards to state-of-the art membrane technology replacing the outdated mercury based technology. This change will have several beneﬁts for the environment and the plant itself. Since it is currently the source of over 1,000 pounds of mercury pollution every year, it is considered the largest source of mercury pollution in the state, emitting more than 25 percent of all mercury pollution. Oceana, a group campaigning to protect the oceans, cited the ERCO plant in Wisconsin as one of the “ﬁlthy ﬁve” for being a top mercury polluter in the United States. Clean Wisconsin is a member of the Mercury Free Wisconsin Coalition, which is one of several environmental groups in the state that has been advocating this technology change for years. The conversion to membrane technology comes as an overwhelming victory for all environmental conservationists and residents of Wisconsin. ERCO plans to have its renovations completed by 2009, with mercury emissions being phased out completely within the next seven years. Beneﬁts are not just environmental, but economic as well. ERCO points out the conversion will extend the life of the plant at least 25 years, increase the facility capacity by 30%, and reduce operating costs through enhanced electric energy efﬁciency thus beneﬁting company proﬁts. “This is a major step towards reducing the health risks of eating Wisconsin game ﬁsh,” said Keith Reopelle, Program Director for Clean Wisconsin. “Now we need energy producers and product manufacturers to focus on phasing out mercury.”
Waunakee company shares eco-friendly business practices
UWSP the top purchaser of renewable energy in UW System
Waunakee, WI In the summer of 2007, Suttle-Straus, Inc., located in Waunakee, received certiﬁcation from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for using environmental friendly paper products and then held a “Smart Series” in October for businesses to learn the beneﬁts of going green and how the FSC certiﬁcation is achieved. FSC certiﬁcation is a practical step for businesses producing wood products, which helps to reduce the effects of deforestation. Any company using wood products has the potential to be certiﬁed by the FSC, as long as they receive their wood from an FSC certiﬁed mill. There are several of these mills in Wisconsin, which can be found on the FSC website at www.fscus.org. Once a company has begun to take in only FSC certiﬁed wood, they can contact an FSC-Accredited Supervisor and submit an application for certiﬁcation. A certiﬁer will then come to the company and complete an on-site audit to determine the appropriate systems are in place. If everything is adequate, the company will gain FSC certiﬁcation. This allows the company to print the FSC label on its wood products and market a commitment to better forest management. Consumers can then look for the FSC label on the wood products they buy to support those companies using environmentally sound practices. According to Suttle-Straus, beneﬁts also include: better data management, improved marketing results, and reduced levels of inventory. They also stressed that FSC certiﬁcation was the right thing to do, as it is helping to protect the forests of our planet.
Stevens Point, WI Reprinted with permission from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Pointer Alumnus, Fall 2007 After an additional purchase through Wisconsin Public Service’s Nature Wise program, UWSP (University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point) is using 16.4 percent renewable energy on campus. This amount is among the largest use of all UW campuses. The Nature Wise program, created in 2002, uses a blend of wind and biomass energy to generate electricity. UWSP’s purchases of this energy are being funded by the Student Government Association, Residential Living, Residence Hall Association and most recently, UWSP administration. The total use of renewable energy in the residence hall now stands at 33.2 percent. Last September, UWSP was one of four state universities chosen by Governor Jim Doyle for an energy independence project that aims for energy independence through renewable energy sources and aggressive conservation efforts. In addition, UWSP Chancellor Linda Bunnell recently signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging to commit UWSP to the pursuit of climate neutrality to avert the impacts of global warming. “I’m pleased that UWSP is able to take further steps to become energy independent,” said Bunnell. “I’m also proud that our students have led this effort. They are truly examples of what it means to be a global citizen in a sustainable world.”
Thank You Bridget Barry ... and Welcome Brenda Voloshin
lean Wisconsin extends a big thank you to Bridget Barry. For the past year and a half, Bridget has been our development assistant. She was in charge of the day-to-day maintenance of our membership relations, including processing our donations and mailing thank you letters (thank you for your donations and keeping Bridget busy!). Over
the past year and a half, Bridget has become an integral part of the team at Clean Wisconsin and we will miss her as she leaves to study abroad in Spain. In turn, we welcome Brenda Voloshin as she takes over the development assistant duties. Brenda is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, studying political science and environ-
mental studies. She comes to us with experience working for a nonproﬁt in Milwaukee and we are pleased to have her join the team.
Protecting Wisconsin’s environment for future generations
e owe it to our children and grandchildren to pass on a world that has clean water, clean air and clean energy. Let’s face it; protecting our natural resources and the environment is a long-term battle. Clean Wisconsin is preparing for the future to make sure we have the resources to reach our long range goals. To do this, Clean Wisconsin has created an “Acorn Fund” at the Madison Community Foundation. With the support of our members we hope to grow this seed into a full endowment fund. An endowment will provide Clean Wisconsin with a steady source of funding in future years and will help us protect our beautiful state for generations to come. We very much appreciate our members’ annual support which is helping us take on today’s environmental challenges. If you are also interested in making a special contribution to the Clean Wisconsin Acorn Fund, please contact Paul Houseman of the Madison Community Foundation at (608) 232-1763 extension 226. Our future endowment fund will support our statewide advocacy, and you do not need to be a Madison resident to contribute to this fund.
The Defender, Winter 2008,Vol. 38, No. 1
The Defender is the quarterly newsletter of Clean Wisconsin, the state's largest environmental advocacy organization.