Today’s output from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute’s state-of-the-art HEMMED (High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector) machine is a stiff wind in the face of those who value clean, sustainable energy.
The new governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has worked diligently in his first month in office to blow big wet slobbery kisses to those who contributed to his campaign.
It is too late to complain about Scott Walker. To the victor goes the spoils, as they say. But it is still upsetting to see him spoiling so many things so quickly.
Two things that came out of the rushed session of the legislature and the early gubernatorial fiats were particularly disheartening.
The first was the decision to stop the planned use of biomass in a power plant on the University of Wisconsin campus.
The cost of the project was seen as too high even though there were other benefits to using biofuels. It is not just about costs but about a showcase for future technologies that could bring additional jobs and money into the state. Nothing is more impressive to those who want to convert ideas into reality than seeing a science project in action.
The second was even more discouraging because it immediately followed President Obama’s visit to the state where he praised manufacturing that was creating turbines for windmills:
… the president stopped at Tower Tech Systems, which manufactures utility-scale wind towers. Then he toured Orion Energy Systems, which makes high-efficiency lighting and solar-focused products.
“These aren’t just good jobs that can help you pay the bills and support your families,” the president told some 200 workers at Orion. “They’re jobs that are good for all of us; that will make our energy bills cheaper; that will make our planet safer; that will sharpen America’s competitive edge in the world.”
We can no longer add or expand wind farms in Wisconsin because Gov. Walker’s newest initiative.The law requires wind turbines be 1,800 feet from the nearest property line. Keith Reopelle of Clean Wisconsin said “Walker’s bill will immediately kill 11 proposed wind projects in Wisconsin and hundreds of jobs, while Illinois enjoys $3 billion in economic activity from wind,”
What really stung was the gleeful response from the real estate lobby which had pushed for this new law:
Observers at the Statehouse are still trying to determine why Walker wants to make things more difficult for the wind power industry, given the promise of new jobs and an estimated $1.8 billion worth of projects already in the works.
Clean-energy advocates are pointing fingers at the state’s real estate interests, which maintain that wind turbines significantly decrease property values. In addition, if farmers are able to collect rent by leasing their property for wind projects, they are less inclined to sell their land for a new subdivision.
Wisconsin Realtors Association lobbyist Tom Larson told Midwest Energy News that his group was “definitely” the driving force in getting Walker to call for changes in the wind siting rules.
Records compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign show Walker received $750,833 from the construction industry and $427,629 from Realtors through Oct. 18, 2010. The oil, coal and gas industry contributed another $127,693 to Walker
Shortsighted is one thing. To totally blow it when it comes to energy is another. Every day that we pump non-renewable resources out of the earth and pump carbon emissions into the air brings us another day closer to an environment that will no longer sustain life.
Those of us in states where those interested in the future have been replaced by those whose focus is on rolling back environmental protections have to make a concerted effort to try to reach out to any sensible lawmakers we can find. We need to join groups who are fighting these initiatives and to keep the heat on those who would sacrifice our planet for campaign contributions and political paybacks.
Find organizations in your state and let’s get some wind back in our sails to move forward not backward.
Happy Thursday to everyone and fist bumps!
UPDATED – From DWG in the comments:
Maybe they can be shamed.
MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to toughen wind turbine regulations will not be taken up by the Legislature in a special session the governor called to pass that bill and others, The Associated Press was told Thursday by spokesman for legislative leaders.
The demise of the bill mark’s Walker’s first legislative defeat in an incredibly successful first month in office.
UPDATE 2: Walker will not bypass the Republican legislature to get his way:
Gov. Scott Walker backed off a suggestion Friday that he might attempt to bypass the Legislature in his bid to tighten regulations on wind farms in the state.
Earlier this week, lawmakers decided to put the brakes on a Walker bill that would dramatically increase the distance between wind turbines and adjacent property lines. The proposal would make Wisconsin among the toughest regulatory environments in the country for the wind industry.
The governor’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said Thursday it was possible the governor could achieve his goal through a rules change in the Public Service Commission. Such a move would effectively bypass the Legislature.
On Friday, the governor said it was not likely he would take that route.
When Walker did not get what he wanted from his own Republican state legislature he immediately declared that he would go around them to have the Public Service Commission just put the new rules in place. Then he backed down. So on that one play, he showed his real agenda (appeasing his financial backers) and ticked off the Republican state legislative leaders. That bodes very well for those of us who were hoping to pry a few sensible Republicans from the lockstep tea party line.
The BPI Campus Progressive agenda:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
Return to HEMMED In three days a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for more output from BPI’s state-of-the-art HEMMED (High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector) machine.
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