James Rowen
Op Ed

The Anti-Green Governor

While Republicans like John Kasich embrace green measures to boost jobs, Walker rejects them all.

By - Jan 6th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Scott Walker

Scott Walker

In late December there was a story about Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich breaking ranks with Republican legislators and vetoing a bill which Kasich feared would stifle green jobs.

For which Kasich is getting a lot of praise:

“Governor Kasich’s veto sends the signal that Ohio is back in the clean energy game, and ready to deliver good jobs and a healthy environment to businesses and families,” said Samantha Williams, Staff Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“While the lawmakers who fast-tracked this legislation seem determined to freeze Ohio in the past, the administration wisely sees that embracing the clean energy shift that is already under way can only help the state move forward. Jobs and investment are coming to the region–the governor is right to steer them to Ohio.

Don’t look for Scott Walker to turn green with envy.

We know that Walker had obstructed wind farm development in Wisconsin, and his Public Service Commission backed new fees on solar installations (now blocked by a judge, though utilities can now pay less for solar electricity returned to the grid, an industry win), but Team Walker also stands at odds with green, clean power and growth with its consideration of transferring state Focus on Energy program green innovation dollars to a worthy but unrelated goal – –  rural broadband development.

Walker’s PSC would not be thinking of robbing Peter to pay Paul in this fashion if he had not rejected $23 million in federal broadband expansion funding in 2011 – – just after he turned aside federal Amtrak expansion funding, and before he turned down federal Medicaid expansion funding – – knowing at the time that the federal broadband money could be used to improve rural service:

The money was to have boosted broadband connections in 380 Wisconsin communities, including 385 libraries and 82 schools. It also could have been used to improve police, fire department and hospital communications in rural areas.

The funding transfer would please Walker’s rural constituency but also restrict green jobs development there and statewide that Walker’s GOP colleague in the Ohio knows needs boosting.

Just another reason Walker is now two years late hitting his 250,000 new jobs promise.

Backwater Wisconsin, again, where ideology trumps pragmatism, science and growth.

James Rowen, a former journalist and mayoral staffer in Milwaukee and Madison, writes a regular blog, The Political Environment

Categories: Environment, Op-Ed, Politics

33 thoughts on “Op Ed: The Anti-Green Governor”

  1. tom says:

    Just more evidence that Scott Walker always looks out for his own political future. He has been instructed by Koch and others to refuse Medicaid expansion and refuse federal mass transit funds. He’s turned away over $1B that could have stimulated our economy, improved our infrastructure, expanded broadband in rural areas, and funded healthcare for our poor and most vulnerable. Scott Walker is a despicable ideologue that needs to go in 2018.

  2. Rich says:

    Clearly there’s a segment of the populous that concerned by his track record here, but what is it that he’s offering that those who rank this as less important continue to vote for him?

  3. Jason says:

    Democrats use to be about the poor, I suppose capturing wealthy suburbs like River Hills, Shore wood, Whitefish bay and Fox point have changed their prospective. Keep the green issue alive and beeting will win the elections.

  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    So you can’t care about the poor and the environment? Yeah that makes perfect sense.

  5. Virginia says:

    Walker says forget Ohio. His model is Kansas, another state rapidly sinking into the abyss.


  6. blurondo says:

    Walker has combined “liberal” with racism. He has convinced rural, white Wisconsinites that things like climate change, mass transit, the environment, solar energy, are things that liberals support, and those rural folks all know that liberals support minorities.
    He has played the race card without mentioning race.

  7. daniel golden says:

    There are two problems here. We have a puppet of a governor who is beholding to the fossil fuel billionaires who bought the election for him. We also have a power generating grid which is in the hands of reactionary corporations. 5 years ago the privately owned utilities met in Washington D. C., allegedly for the purpose of dealing with threats to their industry, such as cyber attacks. The meeting quickly morphed into how to stop the growing installation of homeowner controlled solar and wind power generation.The result was to set aside environmental considerations, in favor of policies that would continue their control of central distribution systems. Steps they agreed to take: increase the monthly connection fees to remove the savings from home generation of power, and levy a surcharge on power fed back into the system by surplus homeowner generated power. Certain states like Hawaii and Arizona have gone further, requiring a 4000 dollar up front payment to connect to the grid. MG&E claimed in getting the Public Service Commission to approve a doubling of the monthly connection fee that this increase was necessary to “maintain the grid” . This is a boldfaced lie, as the PSC’s own website shows the monthly connection fees for municipally owned systems at less than MG&E’s fee before the increase. Nothing will change until the PSC members are appointed by a governor who is not controlled by the fossil fuel billionaires such as the Kochs.

  8. Chris Deisinger says:

    Thanks for this piece, Jim Rowen.

    Walker is so out of step. Republican Governors Snyder, in Michigan, and Rauner, in Illinois, just signed sweeping state energy legislation that will greatly accelerate renewables and energy efficiency.

    Wisconsin already has the highest power prices in the Midwest. That’s because we doubled down on 19th century coal technology. We need to go 21st Century, but Walker doesn’t get it.

    All is not completely lost. We beat Walker and the Realtors on restrictive wind siting standards. Now two Wisconsin utilities, Dairyland Power Coop and Wisconsin Public Power Incorporated will be building wind farms in the state.

  9. Jason says:

    Blurondo, the “green issue” resonates with educated urban whites and that is about it. Your party traded poverty for the ” green issue”. If the “green issue” resonated with African Americans than Hillary Clinton would be President and the African American vote would not be down 20 percent in the city of Milwaukee compared to the election in 2012. Citizens of the city had six weeks to vote and at various sites in the city and they chose not to stomach Hillary Clinton.

  10. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    It should be the “Anti stupid spending” governor.
    We all know climate changes, look at the dinosaurs, but of the 28 things that govern climate we have little to say or do. More CO2 means planst grow faster, then produce more oxygen for us to breathe.
    If all the lefties would stop the Hot Air, coming out of them, we would be worrying about the cold er that is coming and making it worse.

  11. Virginia says:

    Daniel & Chris make excellent points. Here’s one possible explanation for why Walker stubbornly refuses to join some other GOP governors in embracing alternative energy and acknowledging climate change.

    He’s acting like a CEO who thinks only in terms of maximizing short-term profits. And for Walker and GOP legislators those “profits” are campaign donations from big donors, many of whom are from out of state. That campaign cash is then used to win votes.

    Esquire columnist Charlie Pierce nails it in his constant descriptor: “Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin.”

    Walker is treating Wisconsin like a vulture capitalist who has taken charge of a corporation and does not care if ultimately is destroyed—as long as its assets can be used for temporary “extraction.”

    Other Republican governors are taking more pragmatic long-term approaches that will actually benefit their states and citizens, at least in terms of energy policies. Walker is merely a craven manager doing the bidding of his corporate masters. It has nothing to do with “believing” anything. Sacrificing Wisconsin’s economy, education system, natural resources and future is simply required–like massive layoffs during downsizing

    Nonetheless, the vulture-capitalist model requires getting out while the getting is good. Although some think Walker will run again in 2018, as Wisconsin keeps going down the tubes he may have to “cash out” before then. One exit strategy would be for Walker to land a hugely-compensated gig as a Washington lobbyist. He has said his wife would rather he made a much-bigger salary (sure, blame Tonette!). They’ve sold their Wauwatosa home so they can more easily make that transition.

    Unless forced to redraw their gerrymandered districts, GOP legislators would still be protected for a while and thus able to continue destroying Wisconsin for their own personal gain, regardless of the governor’s race.

  12. Jason says:

    Virginia, CEO bashing. It is all about the bottom line, yuk! yuk!. Northwest mutual gives $30 million dollars to charities every year. Sendik’s and Target supports are local museums. The Bucks owners gave a 100 million dollars to build an arena in Milwaukee to keep the bucks here. Corporate executives realize it is not always about the bottom line but it is the community that buys their products. Is it so bad for Governor Walker to cultivate an environment where private companies succeed?

  13. Vincent Hanna says:

    Too bad he hasn’t succeeded Jason. WI has been “open for business” since he took office and the state’s economy stinks. And 52% of voters say the environment is very important to them. That’s 7% more than abortion. So obviously it’s more than educated urban whites. But don’t let facts get in the way Jason. You never do.

  14. Virginia says:

    Jason, I referred only to companies taken over by vulture capitalists. Often called “distressed assets,” they are not treated as having long-term value–only as sources of short-term extraction. Conscientious CEOs are not short-sighted.

    This also has nothing to do with corporate philanthropy, which is indeed a good thing. (However, Bucks owners underwriting a small percentage of a new building that will financially benefit only their interests cannot remotely be called philanthropy. Their “investment” will be returned simply in guaranteed naming rights.)

    Walker’s policies are NOT cultivating “an environment where private companies succeed”–except perhaps a few big ones that fund his and other GOP campaigns–often through dark money. Decimating education, the environment, clean government, and overall quality of life will continue to send Wisconsin on its downward spiral. The proof is in the pudding.

  15. Virginia says:

    One more thing, Jason.

    Wisconsin tourism had a $19 billion economic impact in 2105. Tourism depends on a healthy environment and overall “ecosystem.” Crippling the DNR will lead to tourism suffering in the long term. Not a winning strategy.


  16. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Baloney our landscape, rivers, lakes are better now then when I was a kid in the 50′. Sensational hogwash.

  17. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Economy stinks?? We have the most people working, this yea,r then we have ever had in Wisconsin history. We continue to grow.
    Compared to obama and Doyle we have great growth, but the whole national economy has never gotten going wit the failure of Obama to get above 2% growth.
    We are much better off than the Lefty Nirvana south of us or on the west coast.

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    Of course they are better now WCD! Because there is more concern for the environment now and stronger regulations. Thanks for stating the obvious and making our point for us.

  19. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Baloney, ever since I was a kid we had Conservation clubs, worked on streams, cows used to stand in them, planted trees did al kinds of things in scouts and other group. Conservation has always been strong in Wiscosnin since WWII.

  20. Vincent Hanna says:

    Compared to Obama? By that you mean the nation as a whole? Then please explain this 2016 headline: “Once again, Wisconsin job growth trails national pace.” And the U.S. economy grew by 2.9% in the 3rd quarter of 2016, so there goes your other point. Anything else you want to make up?

  21. Vincent Hanna says:

    You said lakes, rivers, and our landscape are better now than in the 1950s. Why is that? It isn’t magic. How do you explain it?

  22. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Last week it was announced that over 96 million people, the most ever are not working, that is Obama economy.

  23. Jason says:

    The left crows over the environment but without Flint Michigan when was the city of Milwaukee going to tell its citizens about the lead pipes and the drinking water. It is so easy to blame Walker or Corporations for compromising air, land and water but why do we give Barrett a pass?

  24. Virginia says:

    Yes, Wisconsin has been a leader in conservation for more than 100 years. That has involved ongoing vigilance, which in the 1960s included waging the nation’s first battle to ban DDT, which was killing many species.

    This book describes that effort:
    Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way


    “On a December day in 1968, DDT went on trial in Madison, Wisconsin. In Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way, Bill Berry details how the citizens, scientists, reporters, and traditional conservationists drew attention to the harmful effects of “the miracle pesticide” DDT, which was being used to control Dutch elm disease.

    Berry tells of the hunters and fishers, bird-watchers, and garden-club ladies like Lorrie Otto, who dropped off twenty-eight dead robins at the Bayside village offices. He tells of university professors and scientists like Joseph Hickey, a professor and researcher in the Department of Wildlife Management at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, who, years after the fact, wept about the suppression of some of his early DDT research. And he tells of activists like Senator Gaylord Nelson and members of the state’s Citizens Natural Resources Association who rallied others to the cause.

    The six-month-long DDT hearing was one of the first chapters in citizen activism in the modern environmental era. Banning DDT is a compelling story of how citizen activism, science, and law merged in Wisconsin’s DDT battles to forge a new way to accomplish public policy. These citizen activists were motivated by the belief that we all deserve a voice on the health of the land and water that sustain us.”

    Wisconsin’s conservation legacy is being weakened and legislators are proposing plans that could severely gut the DNR.

  25. Jason says:

    The government owns nearly 20 percent of all lands in Wisconsin. The left will not be satisfied until all citizens relinquish their properties to the state.

  26. Vincent Hanna says:

    That is false WCD. A total lie. Politifact said the number is 21 million Americans. Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/aug/31/donald-trump/donald-trump-says-us-has-93-milion-people-out-work/

    Yes that is part of the official party platform for Democrats Jason. All citizens must give all their property to the state. So glad you never resort to insane hyperbole.

  27. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    In many cases, people it is best to have people think that your are stupid, then prove it. Take the number working and subtract that from 325 million, dummies.
    People should do some research.

  28. Vincent Hanna says:

    I did do research, and your claim was ruled false. At least I shared a link. Where is yours?

  29. Vincent Hanna says:

    Here’s another link showing you’re wrong. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/02/trump-wildly-inflates-unemployment/

  30. Vincent Hanna says:

    Also: Since President Barack Obama first took office, the unemployment rate has dropped well below the historical norm; job openings are at a 15-year high. http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/obamas-numbers-october-2016-update/

  31. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Unemployment rate is meaningless number. some peoel are so dumb that they say 21 million from 325 million is to say that 304 million are working. dopey nuts.
    In the 8 years, jobs increases have not kept up with the number needed, to get everyone hired.

  32. Vincent Hanna says:

    Holy hypocrite Batman! You always use the unemployment number in Wisconsin as evidence that Walker is doing a great job! You can’t have it both ways WCD.


    Trump said, “We have 93 million people out of work. They look for jobs, they give up, and all of a sudden, statistically, they’re considered employed.”

    That figure, boosted by Trump’s description, represents a basic misunderstanding of the labor market.

    Once you strip out full-time students, senior citizens, the disabled, and those who have chosen not to work to take care of their children, a more reasonable estimate of “out of work” Americans is somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 million, or less than a quarter of Trump’s figure. Meanwhile, he is flat wrong that the government reclassifies discouraged workers as “employed.”

    We rate his claim False.

  33. Vincent Hanna says:

    WCD, you got nothing? Suddenly you go silent once your hypocrisy is pointed out?

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