Partisan positions held the day at a Capitol hearing on the Obama administration’s proposed carbon emission limits. It was an informational hearing – there’s no legislation being considered to counter new EPA new standards, although Governor Scott Walker’s Department of Justice is preparing a lawsuit.
Madison Democrat, Representative Melissa Sargent argues the new limits, aimed at reduction of greenhouse gasses, will address real concerns. “I’m hearing concern about the health of the people in our state, asthma in children and older people in astonishing numbers. I’m concerned about our environment and our climate,” Sargent said.
“Bascially what we have here is an unfunded mandate from the federal government, the Obama adminstration, saying that we need to do these things, which is going to cost anywhere between $3 billion to $13 billion here in the state of Wisconsin to achieve those goals,” said state Senator Rick Gudex, a Fond du Lac Republican. “One of the intended consequences of this unfunded mandate is that the ratepayers are going to pay more money. One of the unintended consequences is that we could in a way stifle our economy.”
The Environmental Protection Agency announced carbon dioxide emissions targets for all 50 states last year, and Wisconsin would be expected to reduce emissions by more than 30 percent in just 15 years. “The idea that we’re going to make transformative changes to our energy generation and distribution system in Wisconsin in such a short time frame, I think underscores how ill-suited the Clean Air Act is as a vehicle to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” said Scott Manley with Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
Walker announced in his state of the state address that he will work with Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel to prepare a lawsuit against the federal government over the EPA carbon emission reduction targets.