In 2007 when global warming extremism was at its zenith with few questioning the now-debunked data and junk science used to come to certain climatic conclusions, Wisconsin’s Governor Jim Doyle established a global warming task force. That task force then created the Clean Energy Committee which produced Wisconsin Assembly Bill 649 and Senate Bill 450 dubbed Doyle’s global warming bills, but actually entitled Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA).
After a couple of years of cold Wisconsin weather, and one positively brutal winter season of 2008-2009, combined with Climategate and Glaciergate, Doyle’s global warming legislation is running into some rough weather of its own. The bill is still being pushed in Madison by four cosponsors and promoted by wind power companies and domestic and international fringe group environmentalists, along with others who stand a chance at raking in some dough, but at least the public debate is starting to heat up.
There is a lack of specific details, costs, tax increases, and job tallies, missing from the debate -- the only cost benefit analysis completed by outsiders estimates a $16 billion increase in the cost of electricity by 2025 -- which begs the question, shouldn’t the legislators who will be voting on the measure and the general public who will be most affected by it and who would be influencing their legislators, need such details? And shouldn’t everyone be concerned with what the funding sources for such a measure might be?
Details that were shared by the governor’s task force include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 22 percent by 2022 and 75 percent by 2050 which is basically and adoption of California’s vehicle emissions standards. Wisconsin Representative Jim Ott, who has been outspoken in his attempt to bring the details of the bill to light, wrote in an op-ed:
Do we want California bureaucrats to set emission standards in Wisconsin? And who will be in charge of administering AB 649/SB 450? The deer-counting-challenged Department of Natural Resources.
The deer-counting-challenged DNR is a standing joke in Wisconsin -- ask any hunter or outdoorsman about the DNR’s on-going deer herd management disaster and deer counting technique.
Mandated in the bill is an emphasis on renewable energy sources: windmills, solar panels, biofuels and storage batteries. The advanced renewable tariff being pushed would force electric utilities to find other and more expensive sources for electricity generation. Estimates from outside the state legislature show the mandates will cost at least $1,000 per year for the average family in higher energy costs, and doesn’t include possible federal cap and trade legislation that may come down the pike.
Doyle commissioned a study by the Center for Climate Strategies --”the nation’s premiere catalyst for climate policy development,” it says on its website -- that concluded the state’s economy would be boosted by $4.9 billion by the year 2025. They also concluded that 16,000 jobs would be created. But this is a center that was specifically formed to assist policy makers, governments, stakeholders, etc., to promote and implement climate change policies, so just a bit biased.
Major increases in energy costs would be devastating to the agricultural industry in the state, as well as to the manufacturing base. Farmers usually have to absorb these types of costs while manufacturers either pass the increases along to the consumer, or pack up and move their operations out of the state entirely. Industry experts say the loss of jobs would range from 30,000 to 43,000 in the private sector, and in a relatively small state like Wisconsin, that is a considerable amount.
Rep. Ott questioned what, if any, benefits to the climate would be seen: “Even if Wisconsin reduced greenhouse gas emissions to zero, there would be no measurable effect on background levels of greenhouse gases and, therefore, no effect on temperatures.” And he added, “Conservation and a cleaner environment make sense, but AB 649/SB 450 is not the answer. Wisconsin does need a sensible energy policy. We should start by increasing our use of nuclear energy. Mandating utility rate increases and oppressive government regulations will only raise the cost of living and cost our state jobs.”
Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman also issued a warning on the Wisconsin governor’s bill:
Given that we are talking about billions of dollars in new windmills, a possible 60 cent a gallon increase in gas prices, and a possible increase in electric bills of 30%, we ought to take a two year break to see whether we recently have global warming or cooling or what we have. In addition to yet another burden on the average consumer, higher electrical prices would also be devastating in comparing Wisconsin’s business climate to other states.
Let’s save the per diems and lobbyist expenses and adjourn for two years. The whole idea that Wisconsin can affect the global temperature with 1/1300th of the world’s population is silly anyway.
It seems as though Governor Doyle is plowing the very same furrow that Obama is with a federal cap and trade bill. Similarities abound, certainly, but Doyle has an extra problem to deal with -- the chairman of Doyle’s global warming task force, Roy Thilly, is the president and CEO of WPPI Energy, a regional power company “serving 51 customer-owned electric utilities,” that provide electricity to more than 192,000 homes and businesses in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, and Iowa. WPPI would be a major financial beneficiary of the high-priced, renewable energy Doyle and other Wisconsin state legislators are mandating in the bill. This would be called a notable conflict of interest.
Thilly, says Senator Grothman, “made it sound during the initial hearing as if he was concerned about the climate and renewable energy. Now it turns out he has such a financial stake in this matter that he could not possibly be an impartial chair and the Task Force’s work should be promptly dispatched to the wastebasket.”
To help send this particular piece of legislation to the proper circular file, it is imperative that Wisconsinites send emails (this link only enables residents of Wisconsin to send emails to their state legislators), make phone calls, or personally visit their state assemblymen and senators (click here for contact information) and insist that they vote “No” on Assembly Bill 649 and Senate Bill 450.