Signals intention to continue environmental progress despite budget cuts

MADISON — From protecting Wisconsin waters to running our cars on cheese, Governor Doyle highlighted recent environmental victories and signaled his intentions to move forward with environmental progress despite budget cuts in his annual State of the State Address yesterday evening.

In his address, Governor Doyle celebrated the recent passage of the Great Lakes Compact, a historic agreement between eight Great Lakes States and two Canadian Provinces not to divert water outside the Great Lakes Basin. He further noted the recent passage of a mercury rule, which requires a 90 percent reduction of the toxic pollutant from coal-fired power plants by 2015.

“These recent environmental victories represent nearly a decade of hard work and deserve celebration,” said Mark Redsten, executive director of Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “As we celebrate these successes, it is important that we also look forward and ensure we continue our environmental progress.”

Beyond celebrating recent victories, the Governor also signaled his intention to establish Wisconsin as a leader in the clean energy economy.

“Our nation’s dependence on foreign oil must end, but drilling our way out of this crisis is not the answer. We must invent and innovate our way to a cleaner, safer energy future,” Governor Doyle said. “And tonight, from generating wind power in Fond du Lac to harnessing the power of biomass in Rice Lake, Wisconsin is ready to lead the way,” he continued.

A path to reducing the state’s global warming pollution and creating green jobs was created at the request of the Governor by the Global Warming Task Force, a broad spectrum of stakeholders that convened researched, comprised, and voted overwhelmingly in favor of recommendations to accomplish these goals in 2008.

“By increasing our investment in renewable energy and enacting the recommendations of the Global Warming Task Force, Wisconsin can create jobs, clean our environment, and reduce global warming pollution,” said Redsten, whose organization sat on the Task Force. “We’re happy to hear that the Governor continues his commitment to ensure Wisconsin leads the way in the new clean energy economy.”