Environmental Groups Reiterate Support for Global Warming Task Force Recommendations

, By Clean Wisconsin

Clean Wisconsin invites Rep. Huebsch to help pass recommendation package

MADISON — In a press release issued late Tuesday, Representative Huebsch suggests that Clean Wisconsin and other environmental groups do not fully support the recommendations of the Global Warming Task Force; these statements blatantly misrepresent the position of the organization. After Huebsch refused to issue a retraction as requested by the organization yesterday, Clean Wisconsin today publicly invites Representative Huebsch to join hands and help pass the Task Force Recommendation package in its entirety.

In Tuesday’s release, Rep. Huebsch suggests that environmental organizations including Clean Wisconsin “walked out” on the recommendations of the Task Force by publicly opposing AB 516, a bill that entirely repeals Wisconsin’s “nuclear moratorium law.”

In July 2008, the Governor’s Global Warming Task Force finalized 63 recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, all but one of which promote the development of clean energy technologies that will help create jobs in Wisconsin. The other recommendation modifies the state’s current nuclear power regulations to rely less on the federal government and more on the state for managing nuclear plant construction and waste management.

“While our groups do have a long history of opposing nuclear power in Wisconsin because of its environmental implications and exorbitant cost to ratepayers, we support the Task Force recommendations as a package, in its entirety, because 98 percent of those recommendations support clean energy solutions to global warming,” said Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director for Clean Wisconsin, and member of the Task Force.

“Claims that the Sierra Club does not fully support the Governor’s Global Warming Task Force recommendations are patently incorrect, and anyone who claimsthis would be seriously misinterpreting our position. The Sierra Club served on the Task Force and voted for the recommendations, and we are now working hard to ensure that they are implemented in the strongest form possible,” said Shahla Werner, PhD, Director of the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter.

Clean Wisconsin and the Sierra Club were two of several environmental groups that supported the final package of Task Force recommendations, along with the state’s five investor-owned utilities, labor unions, farm organizations, several large in-state corporations, ratepayer watchdog groups and others.

“As part of the full package, we can support the Task Force recommendation to modify the so-called ‘nuclear moratorium law,’ because it includes protections for ratepayers and natural resources,” said Reopelle. “AB 516, however, completely repeals the nuclear moratorium law with no ratepayer or environmental protections, and doesn’t include any mention of clean energy.”

Rep. Huebsch’s own press release pointed out that the Task Force is recommending ratepayer protections, even though his bill does not. The Task Force recommendation advises the governor to amend the moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants and suggested that any future plants “must be built to meet Wisconsin needs at a cost that is reasonable and advantageous to customers.”

“We appreciate Representative Huebsch’s apparent support for maintaining the integrity of the Task Force package, and we would happily work alongside him toward that goal,” said Reopelle. “Passed as a package, the Task Force recommendations will create thousands of clean energy jobs in Wisconsin and keep energy bills affordable while addressing global warming.”