Wisconsin Republicans: Against Labor and Against Clean Energy – Two Sides of the Same Coin

March 8, 2011

As the now-famous prank phone call demonstrated, there is a tight bond between Wisconsin Republicans, their drive to balance budgets on the backs of the middle class, and their slavish devotion to the far right wing ideology of the Koch Brothers, who have contributed so much to Governor Scott Walker, and to Republicans nationwide.

The Kochs have enormous investments in fossil fuel energy, and many have questioned whether special provisions in Governor Walker’s budget legislation are configured to benefit the Kochs specifically, at the expense of Wisconsin tax payers.

But that’s not all. The republican legislature in Wisconsin recently upended a statewide plan for development of wind resources, one that was carefully worked out over two years, in a move that may shut down the wind industry in Wisconsin for the forseeable future.

At least they’re consistent.

The American Wind Energy  Association (AWEA) reports:

In a major setback for Badger State wind power development, a joint committee of the Wisconsin state legislature voted today to roll back wind farm siting rules developed in a multi-stakeholder process, immediately threatening all future wind power development as well as job growth-and potentially hanging a “closed for business” sign on the state’s potential storefront of economic development from the industry.

In a highly unusual and drastic move, the 10-member Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) suspended the Wisconsin Wind Siting Rules, known as PSC128, on the same day they were set to take effect, despite the fact that the rules had been developed by consensus over the course of two years in an open, balanced and collaborative process.

Numerous organizations and hundreds of major stakeholders, including business representatives and landowners, contributed to the development of the PSC128 rules, which created a level playing field for developing the state’s rich wind resources, while still protecting the health and safety of its citizens and neighbors.

The exhaustive bi-partisan, multi-stakeholder process had already produced a set of rules that would have been among the most restrictive in the country. Apparently, this was not enough for the GOP dominated legislature. The fact that wind industries have already created thousands of jobs in Wisconsin, and promise to create thousands more, did not seem to carry any weight in the deliberations.

AWEA spokesman Jeff Anthony, who is also a Wisconsin resident, commented, “It is inconceivable that the siting rules would be suspended on the very day they were scheduled to take effect….By suspending these rules, wind project development will be diverted to other states that have reasonable rules in place,” said Anthony. “Jobs that would have been located in Wisconsin are now going to migrate to neighboring states such as Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. These states are clearly ‘open for business.’ The signal sent today is that Wisconsin is ‘closed for business.’ If the Walker administration and the state legislature were truly as serious about Wisconsin remaining ‘open for business’ creating well-paying jobs in Wisconsin, this action today would not have taken place.”

NBC News on the prank phone call, what it revealed, and questions about special favors for the Kochs.

The famous, and revealing, prank call:

2 Responses to “Wisconsin Republicans: Against Labor and Against Clean Energy – Two Sides of the Same Coin”

  1. […] Wisconsin GOP radicals have shown that they hate labor, and apparently hate the industries of the future that might create more work for “union thugs” in their state. In addition to placing […]

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