Carbon pollution limits, investments in clean energy important for Wisconsin businesses, farmers and the health of its residents

MADISON — Moments ago, President Obama outlined a comprehensive but practical plan to reduce carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, an announcement  welcomed by businesses, health professionals and environmental groups.

“We thank the President for his leadership in addressing carbon pollution; the carbon pollution standards will spur investment in clean energy, move us toward energy independence and preserve our natural resources,” says Gary Rockweiler owner of Rockweiler Insulation, a residential and commercial insulation company in Verona. “From carbon pollution standards to greater investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, moving forward with Obama’s plan now is critical to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”

President Obama’s plan includes new standards for carbon pollution; just like standards for lead, mercury and other toxic substances, carbon pollution standards are critical to protect public health.

“Climate change is a significant public health threat, with increasing heat waves, air pollution and infectious diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease,” says Jacqueline Ruby, a Registered Nurse from Marshfield. “The good news is that President Obama’s plan can save lives by helping to prevent asthma attacks and respiratory health problems.”

In addition, Wisconsin and the Midwest will see new manufacturing opportunities from investments in solar panels, wind turbines, anaerobic digesters and energy-efficiency equipment.

“With our experience in turning waste streams into bioenergy, Wisconsin is in the driver’s seat for designing and building the clean energy technologies that will be needed to help meet these carbon pollution standards,” said Dan Nemke, chief operating officer of US Biogas, an anaerobic digester company in Mequon. “These standards will help drive innovation and shift from investing in other states and countries to investing in Wisconsin’s farmers, construction companies and manufacturers.”

Throughout the country, the past two years have demonstrated the enormous cost of extreme heat and drought, flooding and violent storms. Without the practical actions and investments laid out by President Obama today, these costs, and the associated health impacts, will increase dramatically.

“We must take responsibility for the world we are leaving our children,” says Keith Reopelle, senior policy director of Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy group. “This is a very fixable problem, and we applaud the President for leading the effort to take on that responsibility.”