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06/06/2012 03:16 PM     print story email story  

Wisconsin Governor Walker's Record on Clean Energy, Environment

SustainableBusiness.com News

There's more than one reason Wisconsin Governor Walker made it through his recall election last night, but no one can doubt the huge funds that poured in from out of state had a major impact on the results.

Much of those funds came from very wealthy individuals, a number of them associated with the Koch Brothers "million-dollar donor club."

The League of Conservation Voters were among the many progressive groups on the ground in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin chapter says:

"During his first legislative session, Scott Walker proved to be the most anti-conservation Governor in Wisconsin's history. From air to water and land to wildlife, he left no stone unturned when it came to desecrating what makes Wisconsin a great place to live, play, and work."

In his 15 short months in office, he:

  • Hampered green technology and green job development
  • Repeatedly restricted wind energy development
  • Fast-tracked the filling of wetlands
  • Rejected science in wildlife and natural resource management
  • Weakened clean air standards
  • Decimated transit opportunities
  • Gave a pass to polluters threatening our water
  • Failed to enforce the conservation laws that remain on the books
  • Attempted to eliminate local recycling programs

Example: Three wind farm developers with a combined investment of more than $600 million and 1,100 jobs stopped operations in Wisconsin because of what they call a "hostile business environment for green energy."

Wisconsin only has 5 megawatts of wind under construction, compared to its neighbors: Illinois (614MW), Iowa (470MW), Michigan (348MW) and Indiana (202MW).

Example: Phosphorous pollution in waterways. Grist explains it this way: The Kochs own Georgia Pacific paper, which spent years dumping excess phosphorous into Wisconsin waterways. In 2010, the state's natural resources board was working on regulations to stop the dumping. But Walker's first budget bill included a passage that reduced the board's limits on dumping and in separately put a two-year moratorium on the 2010 phosphorous rules.

He's outlined a plan to de-regulate open-pit mining, the most toxic kind of mining that's usually tightly controlled.

But the worst, among many aggregrious measures, is a new product that is essential for natural gas fracking, which most people haven't even heard of yet: sand frac.

Wisconsin sits on a bed of sandstone, the remnants of an ancient ocean. About 30 sand frac facilities were approved or operating as of July of 2011, but seven months later, there were over 60 mines and 45 processing facilities. And that number is now old news.

The fracking industry would grind to a halt without sand to prop open fractures in the shale. In 2009, sand from all US sources amounted to over 6.5 million metric tons - about the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza. In Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources says corporations are hauling over twice that now - at least 15 million metric tons a year.

"Crystalline silica is a known carcinogen and the cause of silicosis, an irreversible, incurable disease. None of the very few rules applied to sand mining by the state's Department of Natural Resources limit how much silica gets into the air outside of mines. That's one many concerns of those living near the facilities."

Read the full article about sand frac:

Website: http://grist.org/natural-gas/against-the-grain-fracking-companies-mine-rural-wisconsin-for-sand/



Reader Comments (1)

Author:
Jeff

Date Posted:
06/07/12 10:19 PM

I have a couple of questions: "who were Governor Walker's teachers and did he pass a basic biology course that had an ecology unit? I am a 69 year old male and the lessons I had in junior high school are still with me on the environment, conservation and human relationship with te environment. Shame on Walker.

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