Scott Walker’s Record on the Environment

When Gov. Scott Walker Has Taken Action on Environmental Issues, It Has Been to the Detriment of Environmental Protections and Sustainability Efforts

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.

The Foundations of Scott Walker's Agenda: Bradley and Koch

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker touts himself as purveyor of big, bold ideas for the public good in his pursuit of the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination. But according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, Walker has instead advanced his own political career by pledging allegiance on pet issues for major right-wing funders the Bradley Foundation, run by his gubernatorial campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, and the Koch family foundations of notorious right-wing billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

[One Wisconsin Now, 05/15/2015]

Kochs Support Walker in Race for 2016 GOP Pres. Nomination

In what may be one of the least surprising endorsements thus far in the race for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have said they favor Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross noted that Walker has been a long-time Koch brothers loyalist, dating back to a 2008 loyalty pledge to support the notorious brothers animus to efforts to halt climate change that could impact their business empire’s bottom line.

[One Wisconsin Now, 04/21/2015]

Scott Walker Appointee Says Climate Action Is Pointless Because Volcanoes. He is wrong

“Gov. Scott Walker recently appointed Mike Huebsch to the state Public Service Commission, and Huebsch was asked about his views on climate change during his confirmation hearing this week. The Public Service Commission oversees utility issues in the state, including electricity, gas and water. "I believe that humans can have an impact to climate change, but I don't think it's anywhere near the level of impact of just the natural progression of our planet," Huebsch said,according to the Wisconsin Radio Network. "You know, the elimination of essentially every automobile would be offset by one volcano exploding. You have to recognize the multiple factors that go into climate change." Scientists have studied this issue fairly extensively, and concluded that emissions generated by human activity—specifically, the burning of fossil fuels—far surpass volcanoes when it comes to warming the planet.” (Note: Huebsch later admitted his statements were inaccurate.)

[Mother Jones, 04/10/2015]

Walker says it’s not “unreasonable” to prohibit state employee from working on climate...

While Walker did not directly vote on the matter, his office issued a statement indicating the policy was not “unreasonable.” “A small Wisconsin agency that manages thousands of acres of state land has banned its 10 employees from working on climate change issues while on the job. The measure was passed by a 2-to-1 vote on Tuesday during a board meeting of the Republican-controlled agency, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, which manages more than $1 billion in trust assets, including 77,000 acres of land, mostly in heavily forested northern Wisconsin…Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for the Republican governor, said in an email that “Generally, Governor Walker does not think it is unreasonable to enact policies requiring board staff to focus on board-related activities.” [New York Times, 04/09/2015]

Walker Proposed Stripping Natural Resources Board of Its Authority

The move met broad opposition, including from all living former DNR Secretaries. “In an unprecedented letter of unity, all six former living Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretaries have endorsed that the Natural Resources Board should retain its current authority over the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.The former secretaries’ careers span 36 years of leadership from 1975 through 2011; they include secretaries who served under both Republican and Democratic governors, and served as both board-appointed and governor-appointed…The letter stated: ‘The state budget that is presently before the Joint Finance Committee proposes to change state law by removing the decision-making authority of the Natural Resources Board and making it solely advisory to the Department of Natural Resources Secretary. We all agree that the Natural Resources Board should be retained as the decision-making body for the Department of Natural Resources. As presently constituted the board provides immeasurable value for Wisconsin citizens and the natural resources of the state.’” (Note: The Joint Finance Committee removed Walker’s proposed change from the budget.) [Agri-View, 04/06/2015]

Will Walker's Views on Ethanol 'Evolve' for Trip to Iowa Ag Summit?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has consistently opposed ethanol fuel requirements as a state legislator, Milwaukee County Executive and gubernatorial candidate. But in his audition for the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination Walker has made well publicized flip flops and panders on issues like immigration, labor rights and abortion. As Gov. Walker travels to Iowa on Saturday to speak at the Iowa Ag Summit the question is, will his views on ethanol ‘evolve’?

[One Wisconsin Now, 03/06/2015]

Walker wants to end funding for renewable energy program.

“In an about-face from his first term, Gov. Scott Walker wants to eliminate funding for a University of Wisconsin-Madison renewable energy research center that has played a key role in helping land one of its biggest government grants ever. In his budget, Walker is proposing to eliminate $8.1 million over two years — a total of 35 positions — from a bioenergy program. The reductions are separate from his proposal to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System over the next two years. The research program, founded in 2009, is charged with developing technologies to convert wood chips, corn stalks and native grasses to homegrown sources of power. The program also funds research in other energy disciplines, including power generation and energy efficiency. Last year, Johnson Controls, the state's largest company, opened an energy storage research lab on the UW campus…UW officials say that Walker's proposal to end funding for the bioenergy program would cripple broader energy-development research that is receiving $25 million annually from the federal Department of Energy.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 02/28/2015]

Walker earmarked budget funds for a wind power study that is “literally a gift to the coal industry.”

“Critics of Gov. Scott Walker would say there are numerous lumps of coal buried in the $68 billion budget he unveiled a week ago. And Kate Sheppard of the Huffington Post found one that is literally a gift to the coal industry. It consists of $250,000 toward a study "on wind energy system-related health issues." Sheppard notes that such studies have been done in the past, finding no health effect caused by wind turbines. "The Wisconsin Wind Siting Council, an advisory group to the state's Public Service Commission, issued a report to the state Legislature last fall that concluded that 'some individuals residing in close proximity to wind turbines perceive audible noise and find it annoying,'" Sheppard writes. "But 'it appears that this group is in the minority and that most individuals do not experience annoyance, stress, or perceived adverse health effects due to the operation of wind turbines.'"

[Capital Times, 02/13/2015]

Walker’s 2015 budget calls for more recycling cuts

Gov. Scott Walker is proposing cuts in his budget for recycling, a move that represents more than a 50% reduction in funding to communities over a five-year period. In the two-year budget he unveiled on Feb. 3, Walker proposed $15 million in state spending for local recycling programs. That's a drop from $32.1 million in fiscal 2010-'11, according to budget figures. Recycling funds come from a $7 per ton tipping fee charged at landfills. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 02/11/2015]

Walker budget steeply cuts DNR’s science bureau

The employees include scientists and others with master's and doctoral degrees who perform research for the DNR on environmental regulation and wildlife management policy. Walker's budget would cut 18.4 positions in the Bureau of Scientific Services. The bureau has a total of 59.4 budgeted positions, although 9.4 are currently vacant. That would a 31% cut in total budgeted positions and a reduction of nearly 20% of the positions now filled in the bureau. All told, Walker's budget would cut 66 positions from the DNR. Of this, more than 25% would come from the science group. Environmentalists questioned whether scientists at the agency were coming under attack for research that has sometimes provoked criticism. But a northern Wisconsin lawmaker who has been critical of some DNR research agreed with Walker's plan.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 02/06/2015]

Walker suing federal government over EPA limits on carbon emissions

“Walker has been working to paint himself as a reformer who opposes big government since he won re-election to the governorship in November. He announced during his "state of the state" address Tuesday that he's collaborating with Attorney General Brad Schimel on a lawsuit challenging the emissions limits. The governor said the standards would result in soaring electric bills, as utilities spend billions to comply, and threaten the state's manufacturing sector. "These proposals could have a devastating impact on Wisconsin because we are so heavily dependent on manufacturing," he said. "Instead of fighting with states like Wisconsin, the federal government should work with us to find reasonable alternatives." Shahla Werner, the Sierra Club's Wisconsin chapter director, said Walker's announcement was disappointing but not surprising given his presidential aspirations. She said warnings of excessive compliance costs and job loss are overblown. Moving to more renewable energy sources will create local jobs and reduce health ailments such as asthma over the long run, she said.”

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 01/16/2015]

Walker: Where Have We Heard That Before?

In his first term in office Gov. Scott Walker signed at least nineteen bills or budget provisions into law that were drawn from corporate bill factory the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He, along with the GOP legislature, also allowed a mining company that donated $700,000 to write large portions of a bill weakening the state’s laws on mining. Now running for re-election Gov. Walker continues “borrowing” from others, using the same campaign catch phrase as 21 other GOP governors and lifting a controversial portion of his jobs plan from a failed experiment in Florida.

[One Wisconsin Now, 09/22/2014]

A Guide to Gov. Walker's Education Policy

 While studies of the voucher program have failed to demonstrate higher achievement for students, pandering to the voucher industry has been lucrative for career politician Scott Walker’s campaign account. According to One Wisconsin Now executive Director Scot Ross that may account for Gov. Walker’s call yesterday to further expand the unaccountable private school voucher program.

[One Wisconsin Now, 09/04/2014]

Walker Voted in Favor of Mining Moratorium

But the first-term Republican governor has not always been so pro-mining. In fact, he helped block a proposal to construct another major mine in northern Wisconsin years ago. In 1998 — as a member of the Assembly — Walker voted in favor of a mining moratorium that put the brakes on a proposed copper and zinc mine near Crandon. The measure passed in the Assembly on a 91-6 vote and was signed into law by Gov. Tommy Thompson. The mine was never built. Scot Ross, head of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, said it is worth asking whether Walker's support for the proposed iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties was linked to the $700,000 that Gogebic Taconite LLC gave to Wisconsin Club for Growth during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 08/26/2014]

Walker lobbies Kerry for Keystone XL pipeline

Gov. Scott Walker is sending another letter in support of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver oil from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Walker addressed the letter Thursday to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the project's approval. The letter is similar to one he sent in April and comes after the State Department found the pipeline would have little impact on the environment.

[Pioneer Press, 03/06/2014]

Walker and the War Against Wind

“Across the nation we are seeing a boom in the growth of wind power. According to Wind on the Wires, an advocacy group for the industry, in 2012 seven percent of the entire world market of wind energy was developed in America’s upper Midwest, but 99.4 percent of this development occurred outside Wisconsin. “The climate in this state is perceived as very unfriendly by wind developers and they’re just not trying to develop here as a result,” says Katie Nikola, general counsel for the non-profit Clean Wisconsin…The industry came to a standstill after Republicans took over the legislature and Gov. Scott Walker took office.”

[Urban Milwaukee, 01/23/2014]

Under Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin Republicans have taken no action to address climate change

“Sept. 11: 'State cool to climate-change action': While the Wisconsin Federation of College Republicans drew national notice for arguing that climate change is an issue the GOP should address, the Republican-controlled Legislature has apparently not gotten the memo. Of the more than 600 bills introduced in the 2013-14 legislative session when this column ran, none dealt specifically with this issue. That remains true today, with the total now past 1,000 bills.”

[Capital Times, 12/24/2013]

United Sportsmen Official Offered Free Two-Day Fishing Excursion to Author of Sweetheart Deal

The author of a sweetheart deal worth potentially millions of dollars for a politically-connected organization was offered a free, two-day Lake Michigan fishing excursion by the lobbyist and Executive Director for the group, according to a story in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. One Wisconsin Now has filed a formal complaint with the state Government Accountability Board asking for an investigation of possible violations of state ethics laws based on the report, according Executive Director Scot Ross.

[One Wisconsin Now, 09/29/2013]

Lost opportunity for investment in wind energy under Walker

“Only a few years ago, fighting global warming was a front burner topic among state policy makers. But the issue has been largely ignored in Wisconsin since 2010 with the collapse of legislation that would have required a big shift to renewable power…Wisconsin’s renewable efforts pale compared to Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. Each added over 600 megawatts of wind power last year. “ [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 09/26/2013]

Under Walker, global warming takes back seat in Wisconsin

“After an intense focus on climate change under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature have devoted little attention to such issues…Shortly after taking office in 2011, Walker canceled plans to burn renewable biomass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The school's power plant had come under fire for high construction costs and other problems.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 09/26/2013]

New Developments In Scandal Greet Walker Upon Return

According to a campaign spokesperson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be arriving back in the state today from a trip to the key GOP 2016 presidential primary state of South Carolina. While in the state for a short week before he jets off to Michigan for the weekend for another political appearance, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross called on Walker to answer questions about the sweetheart deal to send state tax dollars to a partisan political front group that endorsed him in his recall election.

[One Wisconsin Now, 09/16/2013]

State cool to climate-change action during Walker’s term

“A recent study ranked Wisconsin 19th in the nation for clean-energy leadership, behind all four of its Midwest neighbors. Of the more than 600 bills introduced in Wisconsin’s 2013-14 legislative session, none contains the terms “climate change,” “greenhouse gases” or “global warming,” and only a handful deal with energy policy…Asked about climate change, Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster writes: “The governor believes the focus in protecting our natural resources should be science-based and predictable. He believes you can ensure Wisconsin has clean air, clean land and clean water, while still fostering a positive business climate.” [Wisconsin Watch, 09/11/2013]

Scandal Surrounding Gov. Walker's Attempt to Reward Political Allies Deepens

 The scandal surrounding Gov. Walker's attempt to reward an organization that endorsed him in his 2012 recall election with $500,000 in state tax dollars in the 2013-15 budget continues to grow. Breaking news reports today reveal that the group in question may in fact be a for-profit corporation that received at least $235,000 in income in 2011, courtesy of the right-wing Citizens for a Strong America. Yet according to information from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, there is no record of the United Sportsmen of Wisconsin filing a tax return or paying any income taxes for 2011 or 2012.

[One Wisconsin Now, 09/09/2013]

Gov. Walker on Line One: Wisconsin Gov. Phones Home From Political Junket in Washington State to Cancel...

 A $500,000 taxpayer funded state grant to United Sportsmen of Wisconsin has generated increasing controversy over the last several weeks as serious questions were raised about how the grant process was rigged to make sure it went to a politically connected GOP front group and the trustworthiness of the organization.

[One Wisconsin Now, 09/05/2013]

Walker among signers of Koch-backed ‘No Climate Tax Pledge.’

“Signers of the pledge, now numbering 411, promise to "oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue” — in other words, no legislation on climate change without an equivalent amount of tax cuts. They include one U.S. senator from Wisconsin, three House members, four members of the state Senate, and four members of the Assembly — as well as Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

[Capital Times, 07/03/2013]

Has Wisconsin’s proud pro-environment tradition faded?

The wind energy business in Wisconsin has also had a rough ride. A decade ago, the state was considered a leader, with the towering white turbines becoming a common sight on the rural landscape. But the state Public Service Commission - with two of three members appointed by Walker - recently voted down a 102-megawatt wind farm in St. Croix County - siding with neighbors who argued the wind towers are too noisy. "The wind industry has been effectively driven out of the state," laments Reopelle.

[Capital Times, 04/17/2013]

Wisconsin lags in wind power under Walker

Until we get the policies corrected in this state, we're going to see more wind-power jobs leave Wisconsin, said Jeff Anthony, director of business development for the American Wind Energy Association. "Getting the policies right is extremely important right now."…Under construction in the region, he said, are 614 megawatts of wind power in Illinois, 470 in Iowa, 348 in Michigan and 202 in Indiana. That compares to 5 megawatts under construction in Wisconsin.

[Wisconsin State Journal, 03/25/2013]

Mining Legislation was a “Major Victory for Walker”

Gov. Scott Walker on Monday signed a bill that rewrites iron mining laws and could pave the way for construction of a $1.5 billion open pit mine in northern Wisconsin...The legislation was a major victory for Walker and Republicans who pushed several versions over the past year to address objections. The measure relaxes environmental protections for iron mining - but not other forms of mining - and provides more clarity to the state process of reviewing an iron ore mine application. Still, opening a mine is far from a done deal. A new mine would require extensive evaluation from state and federal regulators before permits would be issued. Lawsuits are also likely. Democrats and environmentalists said the changes have the potential to cause environmental harm - especially to streams, wetlands and groundwater - from the removal of millions of tons of rock. They also say Republicans have oversold the economic benefits of a project that could be built because of the legislation.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 03/11/2013]

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Passage of Special Interest Mining Bill

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements related to Assembly passage of the open pit mining bill that will compromise Wisconsin critical natural resources. Ross pointed out that the bill passed as Gov. Walker prepares to attend a big money fundraiser in Florida today, home of mining magnate Chris Cline and his 164-foot luxury yacht, “Mine Games.”

[One Wisconsin Now, 03/06/2013]

Gov. Walker’s Campaign Set to Drop Anchor at Exclusive Florida Yacht Club

Gov. Scott Walker leaves snowy Wisconsin behind this week as he jets off to sunny Florida for “lifestyles of the rich and famous” campaign fundraiser at the exclusive Naples Yacht Club. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross wondered if Chris Cline, whose open pit mining bill is one of Walker’s top legislative priorities, will cruise by in his 164-foot luxury yacht ”Mine Games’ to drop off a contribution.

[One Wisconsin Now, 03/05/2013]

Wisconsin Citizens Shut Out While Out-Of-State Mining Company Helps Draft Bill to Develop Massive Open Pit...

Legislation being fast-tracked by Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled state legislature to roll back environmental standards for a massive open pit mine in Northern Wisconsin was, according to drafting records obtained by One Wisconsin Now, extensively modified at the behest of the out-of-state company seeking to open the mine.

[One Wisconsin Now, 01/28/2013]

Walker, GOP's Latest Promises of Moderation at Odds With Record

After two years of unprecedented partisan political strife under their governance, a stagnant economy and record cuts to public education, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans enter the new legislative session claiming in media reports that they will pursue a moderate political agenda.

[One Wisconsin Now, 01/06/2013]

Differing Views of Gov. Walker’s First Two years in Office

The group, One Wisconsin Now harbors a different perspective to Walker’s tenure. Executive Director Scot Ross issued a release citing, what he calls, some of the governor’s low lights: “Looting the public treasury to dole out favors to big business. Slashing investments in education and health care to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Thrusting the state into chaos and turmoil as he stripped workers of their rights. Undermining free and fair elections by rigging legislative districts and signing shameful voter suppression legislation. Flooding the state with previously unseen campaign cash from out-of-state millionaires and billionaires,” Ross said.

[Milwaukee Public Radio, 01/02/2013]

Walker aligns himself with climate change denying Heartland Institute

“Walker will be the keynote speaker at a benefit dinner for the Illinois-based Heartland Institute, a group that has recently come under fire for a billboard campaign linking those concerned about global warming to "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, serial killer Charles Manson, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. …Heartland proudly displayed the campaign on the front page of its website and issued a lengthy press release explaining: "The people who still believe in man-made global warming are mostly on the radical fringe of society. This is why the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen."

[PR Watch, 06/11/2012]

The Heartland Institute’s Special Guest: Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for the Heartland Institute’s benefit dinner in August, 2012. Heartland has lost more than $1 million in expected corporate funding in the wake of public outrage over its climate denial, reducing president Joe Bast to beg for more financial support. Walker is a perfect fit for the anti-science extremists at Heartland — like them, he’s Koch-funded global warming conspiracy theorist. Walker has attacked investment in high-speed rail, wind power, and even recycling. [Think Progress, 06/06/2012]

Under Walker, Environmental Inspections Dropped Significantly

Environmental inspections by the state Department of Natural Resources dropped sharply during the first year of Gov. Scott Walker's administration. Inspections declined in most categories that affect air and water quality, and they mirrored a previously reported decrease in 2011 enforcement cases, according to DNR records. Inspections are a critical component of environmental enforcement by laying the groundwork for a possible referral to authorities for legal action - or more frequently, by catching problems early and getting polluters back into compliance. Former DNR Secretary George Meyer called the drop in inspections "very dramatic" and said a vigorous enforcement system breeds good compliance and starts with inspections or citizens calling up to alert regulators about problems. "If you don't have that, then things begin to slide," said Meyer, who was appointed secretary by former Republican Gov. Tommy G. Thompson.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 05/19/2012]

Walker Undermined Wildlife Management

2011 WI Act 50: On November 4, 2011, Walker signed a bill into law that prohibited the Department of Natural Resources from establishing restrictions of hunting antlered deer and regulating the fall open seasons for hunting deer with firearms (eliminated “Earn a Buck” program, which mandated killing one buck per doe).

[2011 WI Act 50, 11/04/2011]

Wind siting rules still stuck in limbo

Hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in potential economic development are stuck in limbo as officials continue to argue over new wind siting rules.…Those rules were scheduled to go into effect in March. But after taking office in January, Republican Gov. Scott Walker introduced a bill to dramatically increase setbacks.Officials in the wind industry said the governor’s proposal would ruin their business in Wisconsin.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 10/09/2011]

Walker Eliminated the Office of Energy Independence

2011 WI Act 32: In the budget, Walker eliminated the Office of Energy Independence, which as part of the Department of Commerce. The Office provided long term-planning and development of Wisconsin fuel, technologies and business practices to reduce the state’s dependency on foreign energy. [2011 WI Act 32, 06/26/2011]

Major Changes for Focus on Energy program

Focus on Energy, a statewide program that promotes energy efficiency, is in the midst of big changes: new management by an out-of-state corporation, suspension of a popular rebate program, and sharp funding cuts in the pending state budget. Nearly 20 people already have lost their jobs, mostly in Madison, as a result of the management change. Meanwhile, dozens of small Wisconsin businesses that specialize in setting up solar panels and wind turbines fear for their futures because of the slashed allocation and rebate removal... [Wisconsin State Journal, 06/26/2011]

Walker approved cuts to Focus on Energy of $340 million over next four years

In the 2011-13 budget, Walker repealed current provisions that authorize the Public Service Commission to spend more than 1.2% of their annual operating revenues on energy efficiency and renewable resource programs, if approved by the Joint Committee on Finance. Effective January 1, 2012, the budget prohibits the PSC from requiring any energy utility to spend more than 1.2% of its annual operating revenues on energy efficiency and renewable resource programs. In December 2010, the Finance Committee voted to require contribution levels of $120 million in 2011, $160 million in 2012, $204 million in 2013 and $256 million in 2014 and thereafter. At that time, PSC staff estimated the 1.2% requirement would generate contribution levels of approximately $100 million in 2011 and 2012, therefore this provision would reduce 2012 contributions from $160 million to $100 million. Extrapolated through 2014, that’s a reduction of $340 million. (2011 WI Act 32 Comparative Budget Summary, Public Service Commission, #8; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call) [2011 WI Act 32, 06/26/2011]

Walker cut $234 million from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program

In the 2011-13 budget, Walker signed into law cuts of $234 million from the state stewardship program, which allows the Department of Natural Resources to acquire land and provide grants to local units of government and non-profit conservation organizations for land acquisition, easements and nature-based outdoor recreational property development activities. (2011 WI Act 32 Comparitive Budget Summary, Department of Natural Resources Budget Summary, Stewardship Program; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call) [2011 WI Act 32, 06/26/2011]

Under Walker, lost opportunity for “Clean Energy” Jobs

Walker eliminated the Green to Gold Fund, administered by the now defunct Department of Commerce. This was a “green jobs” initiative to encourage new manufacturing and technology related to the development of clean energy, so the state could gradually reduce its reliance on foreign oil. This fund offered $100 million in lower cost loans to manufacturers to retool and expand production related to clean energy. It required specific wage standards as a condition of the loan along with job creation and retention targets (2010 SB 651). The Office of Energy Independence is abolished as well. (2011 Act 32 Budget Comparison, Commerce Budget Summary, page 203, #14; 2011 Act 32 Budget Comparison, Administration Budget Summary, page 51, #19; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, inroduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call) [2011 WI Act 32, 06/26/2011]

Walker Reduced State Recycling Program

Walker signed the state budget, which cut $24 million from the municipal and county recycling grant program over the biennium. In Walker’s proposed executive budget, he entirely eliminated funding for the recycling grant program and repealed the requirement for local governments to implement recycling programs. After public backlash, the GOP controlled legislature restored $40 million to the program (previously a $65 million program) and restored the current recycling mandates. Walker also eliminated the recycling and renewable energy fund, which collected revenues from recycling tipping fees and electronic waste and newspaper recycling fees, and created a new “economic development” fund in which he deposited some of the recycling fees and surcharges, with the remaining portion of the fees going into an “environmental” fund. (2011 WI Act 32 Comparative Budget Summary, Department of Natural Resources Budget Summary, Page 514-520; 2011 Assembly Bill 40, introduced 3/1/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call) [2011 WI Act 32, 06/26/2011]

Walker repeals bill affecting water testing

One bill Walker signed repeals a state Department of Natural Resources rule that calls for municipal governments to install equipment to disinfect their water by December 2013. Supporters say the repeal would save the 66 affected municipalities millions of dollars. Democratic critics in the Legislature argued that doing away with the testing requirement raises the risk of contaminated well water sickening people.

[Associated Press, 05/24/2011]

Walker Overturned Clean Municipal Water Law

On May 23, 2011, Walker signed into law a bill that overturns a requirement for municipal water systems to provide continuous disinfection of the municipal water supply starting by December 1, 2013, unless continuous disinfection is required under federal law. Only 66 out of 612 municipal water systems don’t already have the disinfecting equipment, covering about 85,000 people, including Ladysmith, Rice Lake and Tomahawk. The Senate passed the bill 21-11 on May 17, 2011, and the Assembly, 58-35, on May 10, 2011. Walker signed the bill into law on 5/23/2011. (2011 AB 23, introduced 2/17/11; Senate Passage; Assembly Passage) [2011 WI Act 19, 05/23/2011]

Midwest Wind Energy Suspends Development Activity in Wisconsin

In view of continued regulatory uncertainty in the State of Wisconsin a leading wind farm developer has announced that it has suspended development activity until a more predicable climate can be restored… According to MWE President, Stefan Noe, it no longer makes sense to invest significant development capital in a state that appears to be closed to the wind energy business. “Most states are clearly open for renewable energy development and the economic development dollars and jobs that come with it. So long as there are states rolling out the welcome mat it doesn’t make sense to devote significant dollars to a state that is creating unreasonable roadblocks for wind development.”

[Midwest Wind Energy, 03/30/2011]

Walker Allowed Bass Pro Shops To Build On Wetland

Walker signed a bill that granted a special exemption of wetlands laws to allow Bass Pro Shops to build on wetlands in Brown County. Under the bill, the building affecting the wetland in Brown County was considered to be in compliance with the water quality standards applicable to wetlands and exempted the building from other laws administered by DNR that relate to water quality and navigable waters if the building met certain criteria. (2011 January Special Session SB 10, introduced 1/19/11; Senate Roll Call; Assembly Roll Call) [2011 WI Act 6, 02/04/2011]

Illinois seeks Wisconsin wind energy jobs, projects

In response to Walker’s wind energy regulations proposed Jan. 11, the Illinois Wind Energy Association is inviting wind power developers to “Escape to Illinois.” Walker’s proposed legislation would require wind turbines to be constructed with a 1,800-foot setback from neighboring property lines, a mandate IWEA’s executive director Kevin Borgia said “would effectively ban wind development from the Badger State,” in a press release.

[Milwaukee Business Journal, 01/25/2011]

High-speed rail funds scatter to other states

“Wisconsin will keep only a fraction of the $810 million it won in federal high-speed rail money, while the rest will help fund train lines in California, Florida, Illinois and other states, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday. Governor-elect Scott Walker had vowed to kill the planned 110-mph Milwaukee-to-Madison passenger train route that was to be funded with Wisconsin's share of $8 billion in federal stimulus dollars.”

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/09/2010]

Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Banks Join FOX News in Financing $2 Million in Walker Negative Attacks

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s long career of supporting big oil, big banks and big insurance has paid off with enormous contributions for the Republican Governors Association, which has raised $27 million in 2010 alone and has already purchased $1 million in attack ads in Wisconsin. Total spending by the Republican Governors Association to support Walker’s anti-middle class priorities will likely top $2 million this year.

[One Wisconsin Now, 08/17/2010]

Walker supported allowing county streams to be used for wastewater

“Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway Friday defended the board's opposition to use of county streams for treated wastewater from Waukesha on health grounds. Waukesha has proposed using Underwood Creek as a way to return Lake Michigan water the suburban community wants to buy from Milwaukee. Holloway said in a statement that "returning water in this manner would create a terrible public health situation and put children at risk. Children play in this water and animals drink from this water," Holloway said. Waukesha Water Utility Manager Dan Duchniak has said the treated effluent would improve water quality in the creek. Holloway also said he disagreed with Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's comment that the board's opposition was ‘a knee-jerk reaction.’ Walker said he would veto the board's resolution opposing the Waukesha water plan. But if the 13 supervisors stick to their position, they could override the veto. Holloway said the county should have a direct role in the issue.”

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 04/23/2010]

County Supervisor said Walker has not supported efforts to get federal stimulus funds for green construction...

“While the board's override of the veto establishes the county is in favor of using stimulus money, County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said she is concerned Walker will delay efforts to research and apply for the money. County Supervisor Theodore Lipscomb, chairman of a committee created to research stimulus opportunities for the county, said that is happening already.”

[Daily Reporter, 04/01/2009]

Supervisors criticized Walker for dragging his feet on hiring for County’s “green” building projects.

“Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker came under fire Tuesday for delays in hiring the county's first engineer to oversee the county's "green" building projects. Although the position was created in July 2007 and money was set aside for it in this year's budget, the job remains vacant. The idea was to have a sort of environmental quarterback to spearhead the county's efforts at energy efficiency.”

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/29/2008]