Governor Walker was apparently full of hot air when he promised to create jobs in Wisconsin. One of his first actions as Governor was to throw wind development out the window by imposing extreme restrictions that would have suffocated Wisconsin’s clean energy future.(1) Luckily a bipartisan majority of the legislature voted against and halted Walker’s attack on wind energy. But, by then, it was too late. All of the stakeholders in Wisconsin had worked for over two years to perfect fair rules regarding new wind projects. But, the day the rules were to go into effect, Walker proposed suspending them, demanding they be re-written. His bill would have put a stranglehold on the wind industry by making it too difficult to build wind farms here.(2)
|“The biggest hurdle to wind farm development in the nation.”– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said of Governor Walker’s wind proposal|
Walker’s bid to blow Wisconsin off course was ultimately blocked by the legislature,(3) but, sadly, the damage was already done. Three wind farm developers with a combined investment of more than $600 million and 1,100 jobs had stopped operations in Wisconsin because of what they call a “hostile business environment for green energy.”(4) 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.”(5) 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.(6) A poll taken by Wisconsin Public Radio showed an overwhelming 77% support for more wind energy investment!(7) Yet Walker decided to 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!(8) It seems Walker is more interested in paying back his buddies than working for Wisconsin. Even though our motto is “Forward,” Wisconsin is way behind other states when it comes to renewable energy. Other Midwest states have been constructing the capacity to produce major megawatts of wind, 5,133 in Iowa, 3,568 in Illinois, and 2,987 in Minnesota. In Wisconsin? A sorry 648 megawatts.(9) It is abundantly clear that Wisconsin is not open for business. Governor Walker’s rejection of wind energy innovation has failed Wisconsin’s economy and people.