Here in Wisconsin, we do not have the luxury of Arizona’s sun exposure for solar power, nor do we have the open plains like Iowa and the Dakotas to yield a high margin of wind energy. In Wisconsin, we rely on coal, and it accounts for more than 60 percent of our energy production in this state.
The Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities, along with the Senate Committee on Public works, held a joint informational hearing Jan. 28 to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed guidelines for states to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric generation units under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. According to the EPA, under the guidance of President Obama, the plan will cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 across the nation and by 34 percent in Wisconsin.
Throughout the hearing, we heard a number of alarming issues with the proposed plan. Specifically, we were told of the negative impact it will have on Wisconsin’s business community, as well as the average ratepayer. According to the Department of Natural Resources, as well as the Public Service Commission, this rule alone could cost Wisconsinites somewhere between $3.3 and $13.4 billion. Not only is this an astronomical cost that will put thousands of jobs at risk, but the timeline put in place by the EPA is unrealistic and unattainable.
According to testimony from the Wisconsin Utilities Association, $1.5 billion has been invested just since 2005 by Wisconsin’s largest utilities to improve air admissions from coal-fired plants. Due to our advancements in protecting our environment and the investments already made, our most dependable source of energy, coal, could be largely eliminated over the next 15 years. The biggest contributor to our overall energy portfolio will be scaled back.
We appreciate the administration working to protect our environment, but at what cost? The National Economic Research Associates states that the global impact of these new regulations will slow global warming by less than two one-hundredths of a degree and reduce the sea level rise by one one-hundredth of an inch by the year 2050.
Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) represents the 84th Assembly District, which includes parts of Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties. He is the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities.
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- On February 12, 2015