Nearly without exception, when Gov. Scott Walker has taken action on environmental issues, it has been to the detriment of environmental protections and sustainability efforts. His approach is often politically motivated, as with his suit over the Obama administration’s EPA carbon emission regulations or his support of looser mining regulations that favored Gogebic Taconite, a company that not only drafted the bill but also directed $700,000 to groups supporting Scott Walker.
When Scott Walker has taken a position, he has pledged himself to the Koch Brothers, signing a pledge promising inaction on any changes that come with a price tag. In addition, Walker aligned himself with the Heartland Institute, appearing as their keynote speaker shortly after the group compared individuals who believe in climate change to the Unabomber. During his 2010 campaign, Walker came out strongly in opposition to renewable energy legislation that would have required 25% of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2025 (Associated Press, April 23, 2010), and this year he has moved forward with a suit challenging EPA carbon emission regulations. He has also twice called on the federal government to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline.
As governor, Scott Walker has also rolled back key forward-thinking programs that would have helped to prepare the state for a future of renewable energy and sustainable growth. Wisconsin’s failure to move toward renewable energy keeps it invested in – and continuing to invest dollars in – older models.