Headlines

Brad Schimel demotes head of DOJ environmental unit

Wisconsin State Journal | August 9th, 2016

“It’s pretty difficult to view this as anything but a continuing softening of that office of environmental protection.”
-Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director at Clean Wisconsin

After Scott Walker’s office alerts farm lobby, clean water regulations scaled back

Wisconsin State Journal | August 1st, 2016

“This is just another example of DNR’s authority being cut back,” Clean Wisconsin attorney Elizabeth Wheeler said. “They really need to have all their tools available to them to perform the core function of protecting water quality.”

Ruling in CAFO case adds new twist to DNR powers

Wisconsin State Journal | July 19th, 2016

“We are pleased that courts are rejecting the claim that DNR’s hands are tied by 2011 Act 21, and we hope this is the beginning of many court decisions that restore one of the most critical functions we rely on our DNR for: protection of our water,” said Elizabeth Wheeler, senior staff attorney for Clean Wisconsin.

Regulators Pave Way for Western Wisconsin Wind Farm

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 7, 2016

The Highland Wind Farm in St. Croix County could move toward construction by the end of this year thanks to the work of Clean Wisconsin. PSC commissioners ruled that the noise from wind farm turbines would not cause health problems for local residents after extensive research submitted by Clean Wisconsin.

Waukesha To Draw Water From Lake Michigan

Wisconsin Public Television | June 24, 2016

The first of-its-kind vote happened at this week’s Great Lakes hearing regarding the diversion of water from Lake Michigan to the City of Waukesha. Many do not agree with the diversion because of the precedent it sets for other cities interested in diverting water from the Great Lakes.

Minnesota Puts Hold on Waukesha Water Diversion

Door County Pulse | May 12, 2016

A decision on the City of Waukesha’s application to divert Great Lakes water was put on hold for a week on May 11 when Minnesota representative Julie Ekman asked for more time to discuss recent changes to the application with Minnesota officials.

Who Gets to Drink From the Great Lakes?

The Atlantic | May 10, 2016

Water has become the 21st-century equivalent of oil, and a plan to divert water from the Great Lakes to surrounding areas is raising questions about the possibility of future water grabs from far-flung water-sparse regions.

Waukesha Water Diversion Compromise Likely

Door County Pulse | May 6, 2016

While the representatives of the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces have yet to reach a decision on Waukesha’s application to divert Lake Michigan water to replace its radium-tainted aquifer, it appears the group is leaning toward a compromise in favor of the application, according to Ezra Meyer, water resource specialist with Clean Wisconsin, who has attended every minute of the multiple meetings.

Great Lakes leaders to scrutinize Waukesha water diversion bid

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | April 21, 2016

The City of Waukesha’s 13-year quest for Great Lakes water — criticized as unnecessary by regional environmental groups — will be subjected to a final round of scrutiny Thursday and Friday by officials from seven other U.S. states and two Canadian provinces meeting in Chicago.

New law cuts funding for energy efficiency program

The Badger Herald | April 11, 2016

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law March 30 that will result in a $7 million cut to Focus on Energy, a statewide energy efficiency program.The cut will save energy companies money, but opponents say that Walker’s actions follow a trend of disinvestment in renewable energy in Wisconsin.

Wausau coal plant agrees to strict DNR mercury pollution limits

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | March 23, 2016

One of Wisconsin’s new coal-fired power plants will meet stringent restrictions on mercury pollution under a settlement of litigation between the utility, the state and environmental groups.

Kewaunee Co. drinking water solutions needed

Green Bay Press Gazette | March 12. 2016

The mishandling of the Flint, Mich., water supply directly challenges one thing we take for granted in the Midwest: clean, plentiful water. And as much as we want to believe that our water will always be clean and safe for all, it’s not.

Environmental Groups Call on EPA for Clean Water in Kewaunee County

Door County Pulse | March 10, 2016

Clean Wisconsin and five other environmental organizations sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today, requesting federal support for clean, safe drinking water for Kewaunee County residents.

Funding change for Focus on Energy criticized

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | March 5, 2016

A bill backed by the state’s electric utilities would cut funding for the state’s energy efficiency program at a time when electricity costs in Wisconsin have climbed above the national average and nearby states.

With Scalia’s Death, Walker Says He’ll Monitor State’s Challenge of Federal Climate Change Rules

Wisconsin Public Radio | February 19, 2016

Gov. Scott Walker said he plans to keep close watch on how the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia affects Wisconsin’s case against the Obama administration’s climate change law.

Scott Walker issues order halting Clean Power Plan

The Daily Cardinal | February 15, 2016

Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order Monday barring implementation of the controversial Clean Power Plan as the state waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the law. Executive Order 186 prohibits state agencies or departments from developing a plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan. The order comes after the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay, blocking the law last Tuesday.

Privatizing Wisconsin’s Drinking Water

Public News Service | February 8, 2016

If you turn on your faucet and the water comes out brown, would you rather call someone in your town, or someone at a company hundreds of miles away?

Bill to ease sales of water supplies into private hands sparks clash

Wisconsin State Journal | January 28, 2016 

A bill to make it easier for private companies from outside Wisconsin to buy ailing public drinking water systems is coming under fire from critics who say it would hamstring the ability of citizens to block sales of vital public assets.

Bill aimed at loosening environmental restrictions on shoreline development gets strong reaction at public hearing 

WKOW 27 | January 5, 2016

State lawmakers heard passionate arguments both for and against legislation that would clear the way for more private development on Wisconsin lakes by limiting the regulatory power of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Wisconsinites can save $55 billion with Clean Power Plan 

Wisconsin Gazette | December 15, 2015 

A new report from the environmental group Clean Wisconsin shows the state can comply with the Clean Power Plan while reducing ratepayer energy bills by $55 million statewide.

Attorney General Brad Schimel’s dirty power play 

The Cap Times | December 10, 2015

As world leaders met in Paris in an effort to reach an accord to prevent catastrophic climate change, the Wisconsin attorney general was working to undercut President Obama’s ability to deliver on any agreement.

Clean Wisconsin Opposes Bills to Change Rules Near Water

WXPR Local Public Radio | December 3, 2015

An environmental group is opposing a package of bills sponsors say will protect property rights in areas with water. State Senator Frank Lasee and Representative Adam Jarchow have introduced the bills to limit government regulation and restore property rights they say were taken away over the decades for property owners near water.

DNR can’t impose requirements on water wells for large farms 

Minnesota Star Tribune | November 13, 2015 

Wisconsin environmental officials can’t impose groundwater monitoring requirements as a condition for high-capacity well permits, an Appleton judge has ruled in a decision that could have far-reaching effects on well construction across the state.

Clean drinking water eludes many Wisconsinites

Wisconsin Watch | November 8, 2015 

In this place, hundreds of thousands of people face the specter of drinking water from wells that is unsafe, tainted by one or more contaminants such as arsenic or nitrate.

Two groups challenge DNR Kinnard decision

Green Bay Press Gazette | October 13, 2015 

Two environmental groups Monday filed an appeal challenging the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) decision on Sept. 11 to grant a water pollution permit to Kinnard Farms to expand its large industrial farm to more than 8,000 animal units.

Our groundwater needs stronger protections

Wausau Daily Herald | September 8, 2015 

Tuesday is national Protect your Groundwater Day, and it couldn’t come at a better time for Wisconsin.

DNR puts more coal dust controls on We Energies’ Oak Creek plant

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | August 27, 2015

The state Department of Natural Resources is requiring We Energies to use more controls to limit the drifting of coal dust from the utility’s lakeside power plant in Oak Creek.

Clean Wisconsin: Health benefits of EPA’s Clean Power Plan far outweigh costs 

Gazette Xtra | August 8, 2015 

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a long overdue, reasonable approach to cutting carbon pollution from power plants. It will save lives, stimulate our economy, help residents and businesses save money, and let children with asthma breathe easier.

Scott Walker calls for dramatic rollback on EPA’s role in regulating polluters

Wisconsin State Journal | July 28, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker wants to all but eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and place each state in charge of controlling air and water pollution within its borders if he is elected president, he told a conservative newspaper.

Budget contains a ‘grab-bag of anti-conservation policy’

Wisconsin Gazette | July 17, 2015 

Wisconsin’s Republican leadership has enacted a measure that would allow the accident-prone Canadian energy transportation company Enbridge to bury oil pipelines on property anywhere in the state it desires. The property owner’s approval is not required.

Coalition claims water diversion unneccesary

Wisconsin Journal Sentinel | July 7, 2015   

A coalition of seven local and regional environmental groups has focused its opposition to Waukesha’s request for Lake Michigan water on a state mandate the groups suggest Waukesha can simply ignore.

Wisconsin to phase out microplastics to protect Great Lakes

Wisconsin Gazette | July 1, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed the legislation aimed at phasing out the sale and manufacture of personal care products containing microplastics that pollute the state’s water, including the Great Lakes.

Natural Resources Board considers air regulation changes at Onalaska meeting

La Crosse Tribune | June 20, 2015

Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board will meet next week in Onalaska, where the citizen panel will decide on a proposal to eliminate some of the state’s air pollution regulations and on the sale of 870 acres of state land in Vernon County.

Environmentalist: Proposed Wisconsin Budget “Punitive”

Public News Service | June 15, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget includes some very deep cuts to the ranks of the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Scientific Services.

State budget language would override local shoreland rules

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram | June 12, 2015

Shoreland ordinances intended to reduce the pollution that turns Lake Menomin and Lake Tainter green each summer could be eliminated if a last-minute amendment to the 2015-17 state budget is voted into law.

Lawmakers trim Scott Walker’s cuts for runoff, public broadcasting

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | May 20, 2015

Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee on Tuesday cut funding for public broadcasting and programs to mitigate farm runoff, but not as deeply as GOP Gov. Scott Walker wanted.

New state phosphorus regulations could cost $7 billion

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | May 5, 2015

The price tag of complying with new regulations designed to reduce algae-causing phosphorus in Wisconsin waterways could be more than $7 billion over the next 20 years, state officials reported on Tuesday.

Operators: Open pit mine in northern Wisconsin not feasible

Public Service News | March 5, 2015

MADISON, Wis. – After five years of trying to get permits and approval for a huge open pit taconite mine in Wisconsin’s Northwoods at the southern shore of Lake Superior, Gogebic Taconite Corporation has announced it is closing up shop in Wisconsin.

Budget cuts affect manure spills, runoff mitigation

Green Bay Press Gazette | Feb. 20, 2015

Proposed cuts to Wisconsin’s agricultural programs could exacerbate a recent spike in manure spills and runoff accidents, state conservationists warn.

Wisconsin bill to stop manufacturing microbeads by 2017

WMTV | Feb. 6, 2015

MADISON — A Wisconsin bill is attempting to stop manufacturing skincare and dental products containing microbeads because they could be polluting the lakes and other bodies of water in the state and across the country.

Governments need to do more to address runoff pollution

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Feb. 1, 2015

…Wisconsin has a manure problem. Runoff from farms — large and small, but especially from the megafarms known as CAFOs — that leaks phosphorus and other pollutants into rivers, streams and lakes is one of the largest remaining challenges for Wisconsin waterways.

State focuses on downside of plan to cut carbon emissions

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism | Dec. 16, 2014

In mid-November, the environmental advocacy group Clean Wisconsin held a press conference to announce some excellent news. Its in-house analysis showed Wisconsin well-positioned to meet the challenge posed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan.”

Groups sue Wisconsin DNR over air standards

Associated Press | Dec. 11, 2014

MADISON, Wis. – Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing Wisconsin pollution regulators of failing to update the state’s air quality standards to reflect tighter federal restrictions.

Column: It’s time for DNR to clean up Wisconsin’s water

Capital Times | Dec. 6, 2014

Wisconsin has a drinking water problem. In fact, it has several.

Climate Change Could Have Major Effect On Ag Industry, Says Environmental Report

Wisconsin Public Radio | Dec. 3, 2014

The environmental organization Clean Wisconsin released a report on Wednesday about how climate change could have a major effect on the state’s agriculture industry.

DNR backs off plan to relax pollution standard for dairy farm

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Dec. 2, 2014

The state Department of Natural Resources has backed off plans to relax a pollution standard for groundwater for a dairy farm undergoing a major expansion in central Wisconsin after opponents objected to the weaker limit.

Study questions coal ash use

Racine Journal Times | Nov. 22, 2014

RACINE COUNTY — A new report links coal ash to elevated levels of molybdenum, a metallic element found in water in some areas of southeastern Wisconsin, including Racine County, although a state agency disputes the claim.

Environmental Group Claims Improper Use Of Coal Ash Has Polluted Groundwater

Wisconsin Public Radio | Nov. 18, 2014

A new study from a Wisconsin environmental group has found that when the ash from coal-burning power plants is used in places like construction projects, some harmful chemicals can wind up in drinking water.

Wisconsin considers joining electric car tax trend

Associated Press | Nov. 17, 2014

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin would join five other states that impose special fees on owners of electric vehicles, in an attempt to help make up for revenue drivers of those fuel-efficient cars aren’t paying in gas taxes, under a road-funding proposal put forward by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration.

Poll: Wisconsin Voters Want Renewable Energy

Public Service News | Nov. 3, 2014

MADISON, Wis. – There are many important considerations when voters in Wisconsin go to the polls Tuesday, but the state’s largest environmental organization, Clean Wisconsin, says party affiliation makes essentially no difference to voters when it comes to Wisconsin’s energy future.

Groups Ask EPA to Investigate Pollution Caused by Cattle Farms

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Oct. 22, 2014

Milwaukee — Six environmental groups on Wednesday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to exercise emergency powers under the Safe Drinking Water Act to investigate groundwater contamination in cattle-intensive Kewaunee County in northeastern Wisconsin.

Big Farms, Frac Sand Mines Could Feel Force of Judge’s Groundwater Ruling

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism | Sept. 21, 2014

A recent legal decision is likely to significantly change how Wisconsin manages its groundwater and will especially affect the state’s sandy counties where powerful wells are irrigating potato fields, servicing giant dairies, and providing water critical for the state’s frac sand mining boom.

Strengthen Wisconsin’s Clean Energy Policy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Sept. 15, 2014

On paper, we’re two years ahead of target for renewable energy development in Wisconsin. In actuality, we’re falling behind, and it’s time for our state leaders to do something about it.

Poll Shows Support for Clean Energy in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Public Radio | Sept. 5, 2014

A new poll shows that Wisconsin voters want the state to get more of its energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources.

Wisconsin Ready for New EPA Pollution Standards

Public News Service | May 27, 2014

Madison — Wisconsin is positioned to handle even the most ambitious federal standards for power plant emissions when EPA announces first-ever standards next month.

Supreme Court Ruling Means Healthier Air

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | May 1, 2014  

Milwaukee — We would have preferred that states be given more time and cooperation from the feds in complying with a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency emissions rule governing pollution that crosses state lines. But the Supreme Court ruling this week that sided with the EPA is still a victory.

Earth Day is Forever Tied to Wisconsin

Public News Service | Apr. 22, 2014

Madison — Gaylord Nelson, a former Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator, founded Earth Day 44 years ago. According to Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin, Nelson’s ideals are still alive in Wisconsin.

Concern About Nitrate Levels at Huge Central Wisconsin Farm

Public News Service | Apr. 14, 2014

Madison — The DNR will hold a hearing Tuesday afternoon at the Adams County Community Center in Adams regarding a pollutant discharge permit for Burr Oak Heifers, a huge farm with thousands of head of cattle.

Wisconsin Dairy Farm Contaminates Water

Wisconsin Public Radio | Apr. 7, 2014

After a large Wisconsin dairy farm contaminated groundwater with nitrates last year, the DNR may now exempt it from meeting groundwater quality standards.