Legislative Agenda 2013-14: Environment & Energy

Wisconsin employers face an increasingly costly environmental regulatory climate. Many environmental regulations in Wisconsin are more stringent than what is necessary to protect the environment, and more stringent than what is required by other states. In addition, federal regulations on the electric power sector are driving significant increases in the cost of electricity. Wisconsin employers need affordable and reliable energy, and relief from costly and burdensome environmental regulations. The following initiatives will help level the playing field by making Wisconsin’s environmental and energy cost structures more competitive: 

•           Enact comprehensive iron mining reform. Create an iron mining permitting framework with firm timelines, clear permitting requirements, and limited opportunities for delay and litigation, while maintaining a rigorous environmental review process. 

•           Align state and federal environmental standards. Remove the cost and complexity of “Wisconsin only” environmental regulations by aligning state environmental regulations with corresponding federal requirements. 

•           Streamline air permitting. Build upon existing permit streamlining tools by expanding the availability of exemptions for small facilities, and increasing the threshold for registration permits. 

•           Repeal the mining moratorium. Eliminate a huge barrier to mining investment in our state by repealing the arbitrary mining moratorium law. 

•           Avoid expensive energy mandates. Stop the escalation that has made electric rates in Wisconsin among the highest in the Midwest by rejecting the enactment of expensive energy mandates. 

•           Hold the line on energy taxes. Keep costs in check by rejecting efforts to increase the energy tax businesses and homeowners pay each month to pay for state energy efficiency programs. 

•           Repeal the moratorium on nuclear energy. Promote an “all of the above” energy policy by removing our state’s virtual moratorium on new nuclear energy in Wisconsin.