Tag Archives: clean power plan

For the Clean Power Plan

I write this letter on behalf of all those who feel that the future of our beautiful state is in jeopardy. I grew up camping and fishing in our pristine north woods. I want others, for generations to come, to be able to enjoy these treasures.

But not supporting the Clean Power Plan, regulation on carbon emissions from power plants, can no longer be ignored. The compounding effects from decades of unchecked carbon pollution are getting worse and worse, for our state, our country and our planet.

We all know U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, denies climate change. But what cannot be denied is that these unchecked carbon emissions are also pollutants and hazardous to the health of your fellow Wisconsinites. Asthma, emphysema and other respiratory illnesses are on the rise and are due to the growing effects of unregulated carbon emission particulates from power plants.

With increased illness comes increased health care costs from both the state and its citizens. Plus, supporting the CPP promotes job growth for clean, renewable energy sources.

Isn’t your family’s health worth reducing carbon emissions?

Sen. Johnson needs to reconsider his position on carbon emissions and support the Clean Power Plan, for a cleaner, healthier Wisconsin future.

Ian L Somerville, Wisconsin

On the Web…

To reach Ron Johnson, go here. 

Where Scott Walker stands on key issues as of today

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has shifted his stances on everything from the federal ethanol mandate to Common Core education standards to immigration reform as he positions himself for a presidential run. Here’s where he stands on some key issues as of today, July 3.

IMMIGRATION

As early as 2002, Walker supported creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally. Now he doesn’t. He attributed the shift to his conversations with border-state governors and voters nationwide. “My view has changed. I’m flat out saying it,” Walker told Fox News in March. “Candidates can say that. Sometimes they don’t.” He’s open to granting legal status short of citizenship to many people in the country illegally. But he’s also questioned whether the current policy on legal immigration makes economic sense, suggesting he might side with those who believe high numbers of immigrants — legal or not — suppress wages.

FOREIGN POLICY

A weak link in his presidential resume. To address that, he has traveled overseas four times this year. His visit to Israel in May was tightly controlled, with no public appearances. He stumbled rhetorically at times during a more public London tour earlier. Oddly, in an otherwise well-received speech to conservatives in February, he said his experience taking on thousands of protesters in his state helped prepare him to confront terrorists abroad. Walker has also said that his Eagle Scout training had prepared him for the role of commander-in-chief. He speaks hawkishly about the U.S. conducting pre-emptive strikes to prevent what he insists are certain future attacks on the U.S., although he’s offered no specifics, such as which countries he’d strike and why — only that he would strike somewhere on the globe.

SOCIAL ISSUES

Walker, the son of a Baptist minister, opposes abortion rights, including in cases of rape and incest. As governor, he signed into law a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. He also supports a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Walker also opposes same-sex marriage, even though he’s had a large number of key advisers who are gay and even attended the wedding of a gay relative. Still, Walker called the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states a “grave mistake” and said he’d support a Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Walker opposed the death penalty until 2006, when he switched positions, saying he believed that if DNA evidence proved the guilt of a person, the death penalty was justified. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty. The National Rifle Association gives his gun-rights record a 100 percent rating. In June, Walker signed a bill removing a 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases. Walker also legalized the carrying of concealed weapons in 2011. He supports the drug-testing of welfare recipients and allowing people who get food stamps to only use them to purchase approved items.

EDUCATION

Walker supports Wisconsin’s first-in-the-nation school voucher program, under which taxpayers will pay for students to attend private rather than public schools. That would transfer money from public schools to for-profit schools, including religious schools and schools that have no education standards and no access for the disabled. Walker has extended the program statewide after its start in Milwaukee and Racine, and this year proposed eliminating enrollment caps. Walker cut money to K-12 public schools by $1.2 billion in his first budget, the largest reduction in state history. He called for cutting about $127 million from schools in the first year of his most recent budget, but the Republican Legislature rejected that. Walker’s position has varied on Common Core academic standards. He never explicitly advocated for them, but in his first state budget in 2011 he called for statewide tests that were tied to the standards. By the middle of 2013, Walker was calling for a halt to further implementation of the standards, and in July 2014 he called for a repeal even though it’s up to local school districts whether to adopt them. His budget this year prohibits the state superintendent from forcing local school districts to adopt the standards and calls for new standardized tests.

LABOR UNIONS

Walker proposed, just six weeks after taking office in 2011, that public employees except for police and firefighters pay more for pension and health care benefits, and only be allowed to bargain collectively over base wage increases no greater than inflation. Outrage over passage of that law led to Walker’s 2012 recall election, which he won. This year, Walker signed a right-to-work bill into law, after saying during his re-election campaign that the issue would not come up because it was a distraction. Right-to-work laws prohibit unions from requiring workers to join or pay dues. Walker this year also proposed eliminating tenure protections for University of Wisconsin faculty and staff from law as part of a broader proposal to make the university independent from state oversight and regulation. Walker has referred to that as the higher education version of the law he signed affecting state workers four years ago.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Walker has not made climate change a focus of his campaign, but he has spoken at the Heartland Institute, a group that denies man-made climate change. Walker also joined more than a dozen other coal-reliant states suing the Environmental Protection Agency to block the so-called Clean Power Plan, which would require states to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Walker has also signed the “no climate tax” pledge to oppose any legislation that would raise taxes to combat climate change. Walker’s administration called for the firing of scientists who work at the Department of Natural Resources on issues related to climate change.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: EPA Clean Power Plan bad for business

The EPA closed public comment on its Clean Power Plan on Dec. 1 after receiving more than 1.6 million comments. Among them was one from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is opposing the increased regulation to reduce CO2 emissions.

The plan would cut carbon emissions from the power sector approximately 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and sets out state-specific goals for lower carbon emissions.

The Republican governor said the proposed rule would have a detrimental effect on Wisconsin’s manufacturing-based economy, as well as household ratepayers. Those ratepayers, however, already are seeing rate increases from the utilities under Walker’s watch.

Walker, in his statement, said, “We have made major investments to ensure we are providing our citizens with reliable, clean, affordable power. If enacted, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would be a blow to Wisconsin residents and business owners, and I join business leaders, elected officials, and industry representatives in opposing this plan. I urge federal officials to carefully consider our concerns and the adverse economic impact this plan could have on our state, as well as the nation.”

Walker said the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, which recently approved a rate hike for Milwaukee area electricity customers, said the proposed rule would cost the state $3.3-$13.4 billion. Walker also said a study by Energy Ventures Analysis estimated the average Wisconsin household would see its electricity bill increase by more than $485 in 2020.

The statement said the PSC and the state Department of Natural Resources “have spent months reviewing the rule and soliciting input from all affected parties, since its proposal in June of this year.  Among other items, their review uncovered a number of flaws with the development of the emission rate goals, which penalizes states that have taken early action to reduce CO2 emissions by asking them to reduce emissions more than states that have done less. Wisconsin has invested approximately $10.5 billion over the past 15 years to help reduce CO2 emissions, increase renewable energy usage and energy efficiency, and install air pollution control equipment.”

Walker asked the EPA to reconsider the rule.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan draws support in Wisconsin

Health, faith, environmental and youth leaders united on Nov. 18 in Wisconsin to express support for the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan and for the release of Clean Wisconsin’s latest report, Cutting Carbon Works for Wisconsin. 

“EPA’s proposal is a practical, reasonable and achievable step toward healthier air and a higher quality of life in Wisconsin,” Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin, said in a news release. “If we prioritize increasing investments in energy efficiency we can meet EPA’s goals for Wisconsin and reduce home and business owners’ energy bills at the same time.” 

The EPA Clean Power Plan, currently in draft form, would help to reduce carbon pollution from Wisconsin power plants by 34 percent below 2012 levels over the next 15 years, according to Clean Wisconsin. To date, more than 1.5 million public comments have been filed on the plan. The public comment period is open through Dec. 1.

“This is about safeguarding everyone — kids, families and seniors – from the dangerous effects of pollution on our health,” stated Dr. Michele Brogunier, a family practitioner in Madison. “Cutting carbon pollution would be a very responsible step forward to help reduce the severity of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments.”

Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion. The Clean Power Plan will lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

“It’s troubling to think just how much climate change could further complicate global issues such as hunger, poverty and potable water,” Peter Bakken, coordinator for Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, said in the release. “Many in the faith community feel a true responsibility to act because our congregations have already been hard at work on these issues for years.”

Nationally, the EPA proposal is expected to contribute to an 8 percent reduction in electricity bills by 2030.

Cutting Carbon Works for Wisconsin finds that increasing the role of energy efficiency programs such as Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy will create savings and jobs. The report also recommends a comprehensive stakeholder process to determine how Wisconsin can maximize renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet the EPA’s goal and benefit Wisconsin residents.

“The Clean Power Plan is the United States’ biggest step towards tackling climate change, and it has the support of students and young people across the nation,” stated Brianna Zawada, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student. “We recognize that it is our time to stand up for future generation’s rights to an inhabitable, healthy, and beautiful earth.”

Too darn hot: Ben & Jerry’s, Climate Reality partner on environmental campaign

Nothing says summer heat like a melting ice cream cone. That’s why The Climate Reality Project is teaming up with Ben & Jerry’s to turn the celebrated symbol of the season — the ice cream truck — into a rallying point for action against climate disruption.

Climate Reality and Ben & Jerry’s have partnered in the I’m Too Hot Campaign and are bringing ice cream trucks to the four cities hosting Environmental Protection Agency hearings on the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

Hearings will be place July 29-Aug. 1 in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.

When the trucks roll in, activists will talk with people about the proposed EPA plan and also serve icy treats.

“We are excited to partner with Ben & Jerry’s to bring both ice cream and information about the EPA’s proposed rule to the people,” said Climate Reality CEO Ken Berlin. “This past May was the hottest in recorded history, and was an example of the kinds of records that will keep being broken as our summers get hotter from climate change driven by carbon pollution. These EPA hearings are a crucial opportunity for people to let the EPA know they support the agency’s efforts to reduce harmful carbon pollution, and we’ll be there to make sure our supporters don’t get too hot.”

The proposed plan would provide the first-ever national standards to limit the amount of carbon pollution existing power plants can produce — aiming to cut emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The EPA estimates that the rule would provide significant economic and health benefits, including the prevention of 150,000 asthma attacks and 6,600 premature deaths annually by 2030 as well as the creation of 76,000 to 112,000 new jobs in 2025 by expanding the energy efficiency sector alone.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is open for public comment until Oct. 16.

“The rule would be a critical step towards holding polluters accountable for the carbon pollution they dump into the atmosphere – but first, it’s up to us – the people – to make sure we support the EPA’s efforts and the rule becomes law,” said Berlin.

The EPA hearings are July 29-30 in Atlanta, July 29-30 in Denver, July 31-Aug. 1 in Pittsburgh and July 29-30 in Washington.

Supporters of the plan can tweet the EPA — @EPA — and use the hashtags #ImTooHot and #ActOnClimate.

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