Global Warming Bill Heats Up in Wisconsin
While debates continue at the international level as to whether or not Global Warming is, in fact, an actual phenomenon, a Global Warming Taskforce in Wisconsin has introduced its own solution at the direction of Governor Doyle.
In 2007, Doyle signed an executive order directing a 29-member committee to present recommendations to reducegreenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Wisconsin; advise on the ongoing opportunities to address global warminglocally; and outline specific short and long-term goals for reductions in GHG emissions in Wisconsin.
From there, smaller committees made 50 policy recommendations in the utility, transportation, agriculture, forestry and industry sectors. The final report was released in July of 2008. The bill, containing many of the recommendations made by the taskforce, was finally released by Governor Doyle this month.
Public hearings are now being held, and the co-chair of the Special Assembly Committee on Clean Energy Jobs, Rep. Spencer Black, says he is eager to pass the bill before Earth Day (April 22). However, there is much disagreement over this bill even among the Democrats, so it is questionable whether this proposal will even pass before the end of the legislative session.
A lot of the disagreement stems from the fact that it's a very expensive proposition for a state to try and tackle the Global Warming problem on its own - especially when Wisconsin only contains 1/1300th of the world's population.
A cost-benefit analysis conducted by the non-partisan Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston concluded that the task force recommendations would result in a loss of more than 43,000 jobs. They also concluded that annual investment would drop by $619 million and real disposable income would decrease by about $8 billion.
A few of the proposals in this bill include:
- 25 by 2025: This provision mandates that utilities produce 25% of their electricity from renewable resourceslike wind by the year 2025. Utilities have said they will do this, but that the cost will most definitely be passed on to the consumer. The annual cost of this is estimated at $15 billion - much of which will be paid by manufacturers, an industry already suffering in Wisconsin.
- California Low-Emission Vehicle Standards: Wisconsin must adopt the requirements specified under California's Low Emission Vehicle Program. The annual cost of this would be over $350 million, and it would tack on about $1000 extra to the cost of each new car sold here.
- Low Carbon Fuel Standard: This Wisconsin-specific fuel standard will ban or restrict the use of corn ethanoland Canadian crude derived from oil sands. According to the George C. Marshall Institute in Virginia, this provision will increase the cost at the pump by $0.61 per gallon.
There are many other stipulations in this global warming bill, but you can see clearly from the examples above that adopting these new standards is a terribly expensive proposition. It threatens to further erode the economic health of Wisconsin families and put Wisconsin businesses and jobs at a competitive disadvantage when compared with other states.
The bottom line is that this - like commuter rail and government-run healthcare - is another cornerstone of Jim Doyle's liberal wish list. And he will do whatever he can to force it on the state of Wisconsin before leaves office. But the fact remains that even if he ideologically believes that global warming should be solved at the state level, it's just another wildly unpopular policy, the cost and ramifications of which we should not have to accept, just so Doyle can leave a big-government legacy for Wisconsin.
If you would like to express your concern for this high-cost, job killing bill, I would encourage you to contact your Racine County representatives - Sen. John Lehman, Rep. Cory Mason and Rep. Bob Turner to ask them to help stop this legislation from being enacted in Wisconsin.
State Representative Robin Vos State Capitol - Room 321 East - Post Office Box 8953 - Madison, Wisconsin 53708 Phone: (608) 266-9171 - Toll Free: (888) 534-0063 - Fax (608) 282-3663 Email: Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov On the Internet: Representative Vos' Web Site