This Earth Day a bust at State Capitol

Posted on April 27, 2010. Filed under: Climate change, Economic development, Energy Policy |

From a column by Bill Berry in The Capital Times:

It was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day last week. Fittingly, we celebrated the past — because the present hasn’t given us much to brag about.

In fact, 2010 will go down as a real stinker in Wisconsin when it comes to the environment.

Gov. Doyle’s Clean Energy Jobs Act bit the dust late last week as lawmakers buttoned up the spring session. The act, which was built on recommendations of Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force, would have required 25 percent of the state’s energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2025. Despite the potential for green jobs creation and more clean energy, the bill wasn’t perfect, and its backers scrambled in the late innings to make it palatable to utilities, business and farm groups that opposed it. In the end, it wasn’t enough.

Many of the measures sought in this bill have worked elsewhere in America and the world. There was nothing radical in it. Maybe in the wake of the Roberts Supreme Court ruling giving corporations the right to unlimited spending in elections, lawmakers are running scared.

Doyle wore the black hat in the eyes of most conservation and environmental organizations earlier this year when he vetoed a bill that would have restored the power of appointing the Department of Natural Resources secretary to the citizen Natural Resources Board. Breaking promises is nothing new for politicians, but Doyle kept those groups on the line long enough to win two terms of office and then cut bait.

Conservation and environmental groups focused a ton of attention on that effort. Had they spent as much time and energy supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Act, they might be happy today.


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