Governor Jim Doyle says cap and trade is important to Wisconsin. In a conference call with reporters while he was in Washington on Tuesday, the governor said Congress seems poised to enact some type of cap and trade system regulating carbon emissions, even as Wisconsin moves ahead with a multi-state, regional initiative.
"I think it's highly preferable that there be a national system," Doyle said. "But I do believe that the work we're doing in the Midwest can be very helpful, and we have to do it, because the Midwest has some very unique concerns. Compared to the rest of the country, we use coal and have used coal for a hundred years, and we are also much more committed to manufacturing. And states that burn coal and states that are committed to manufacturing, could have some very serious interests in making sure that cap-and-trade does not work to their disadvantage."
Wisconsin currently burns coal for about sixty five percent of its energy needs, a situation which Doyle says is unlikely to change dramatically. "It is just not going to happen that we are going to drop somewhere below fifty percent anytime in my lifetime," Doyle said, adding that going from sixty five to fifty percent would represent "a huge decrease."
Doyle met with federal officials (PDF) to discuss how stimulus dollars might best be used for energy projects in Wisconsin, such as converting the coal-fired Charter Street Plant in Madison to biomass.