The Walker Conservation
During his first legislative session, Scott Walker proved to be the most anti-conservation Governor in Wisconsin’s history. From air to water and land to wildlife, Governor Walker left no stone unturned, desecrating the things that make Wisconsin a great place to live, play, and work. The Walker Conservation Failure Files detail his many conservation failures.
File III: Wind Fail
Governor Walker was apparently full of hot air when he promised to create jobs in Wisconsin. One of his first legislative goals was to throw wind farm development out the window by imposing extreme restrictions that would have suffocated Wisconsin’s clean energy future. Luckily the legislature voted against Walker’s attack on wind energy with bipartisan support.
All of the stakeholders in Wisconsin had worked for over two years to perfect fair rules about new wind projects. But, the day the rules were to go into effect, Walker suspended them, demanding they be re-written. His rules would have put a stranglehold on the wind industry by making it too difficult to build wind farms here.
"In order for a business to thrive in our state, especially one on the cutting edge of technology and innovation, it needs a regulatory system that supports it and encourages growth."
~Jeff Ehlers, president of Renewegy, an Oshkosh manufacturer of small wind turbines.
Walker’s bid to blow Wisconsin off course was blocked by the legislature, but, sadly, the damage was already done. Three wind farm developers with a combined investment of more than $600 million and 1,100 jobs have stopped operations in Wisconsin because of what they call a “hostile business environment for green energy.” What happened to Wisconsin being open for business, Governor? Our neighbor to the south is now inviting yet another rejected Wisconsin project to “Escape to Illinois.”
Instead of embracing $1.2 billion in potential wind farm investment for the state, Walker took the wind out of Wisconsin’s sails by choosing special interests over the people of Wisconsin. A poll taken by Wisconsin Public Radio showed an overwhelming 77% support for more wind energy investment!Yet Walker decided to yet again reward private interests like the anti-wind Wisconsin Realtors Association, fossil fuel company Koch Industries, and the oil, tar, and gas industries. Walker received over $1.5 million in campaign cash from interests opposed to wind energy! It seems Walker is more interested in paying back his buddies than working for Wisconsin.
"There's no reason to do this at a time when we should be looking to create jobs and grow the clean energy economy. This is continuing to take Wisconsin in exactly the opposite direction from many, many states elsewhere in the country.”
~Jeff Anthony, Wind Energy Association's Director of Business Development
Even though our motto is “Forward,” Wisconsin is way behind other states when it comes to renewable energy. Right now other Midwest states are constructing major megawatts of new wind, 614 in Illinois, 470 in Iowa, 348 in Michigan and 202 in Indiana. Under construction in Wisconsin? A sorry 5 megawatts.
Most recently, Walker has refused to cooperate with 5 other Great Lakes states in their efforts to speed up approval of offshore wind farms in the Great Lakes. Because of Walker, Wisconsin will not be a part of this team effort to strengthen the economy, create jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources.
Walker has made it abundantly clear that Wisconsin is not open for business. Governor Walker’s rejection of wind energy innovation has failed Wisconsin’s economy and people. We cannot let Walker throw Wisconsin’s future to the wind. Stay tuned for more from the Walker Conservation Failure Files.