Take Action to Stop Utilities from Enacting Anti-Clean Energy Rate Changes
Whenever utilities want to change their rates, they are required to present their rate change
requests to the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC is a committee of 3 individuals that have been appointed by the governor. We Energies, WPS, and MG&E have requested radical rate changes which penalize customers who install solar panels, wind systems, low-income customers, and low energy users who have invested in energy efficiency. Read the ugly details below, then leave your comment for your utility with the Public Service Commission today. Your input to the PSC is critical now to ensure that the drastic changes these utilities are requesting will not become reality.
We Energies is asking the PSC to approve a monthly demand charge of $3.794/kW of PV demand for anyone who has a solar or wind system that exports electrons to the grid. This will cost about $22.76 per month (that's over $273 per year) for the average 6-kilowatt solar system. In addition, We Energies is asking to change their net metering calculation from a yearly to a monthly basis, so that renewable energy producers would only get credit for excess solar power produced over a 30 day period (rather than crediting extra energy produced throughout the year). They are also asking to raise the monthly flat connection charge for all customers from $9 to $16 a month. This punishing plan will very likely completely shut down the clean energy marketplace in We Energies’ territory. If you are a We Energies Customer, Add Your Comment Opposing this Anti-Clean Energy Rate Change on the PSC Website Today (Comment Deadline is October 7, 2014), and attend the rate case rally Wed. October 8 at 5:30 PM at the Wilson Senior Center, 2601 W. Howard Avenue in Milwaukee (just before the 6:00 PM PSC public hearing the same location).
Madison Gas & Electric (MG&E) proposed raising the monthly flat connection charge by about 80%, from $10.46 to $19.00 per month in 2015 for every household (after activist outcry prompted them to withdraw their initial request which would have increased these charges to a wopping $49/mo by 2016). Do you want to pay nearly $20 every month before you even turn on a single light? What's worse, MG&E could again ask for more monthly flat fee increases after studying the issue next year with "stakeholders." MG&E's rate request not only cripples clean energy users, but it also rewards wasteful energy users by lowering the cents per kilowatt hour by about 8% ($0.144 to 0.133/kwh)! Madison Gas & Electric claims to be green in every advertisement, but MG&E is actually very dedicated to selling coal power. Only 12% of their energy comes from clean renewable energy. If you are an MG&E Customer, Add Your Comment Opposing this Anti-Clean Energy Rate Change on the PSC's website today (Comment Deadline is October 8, 2014) and attend the rate case rally Thursday October 9 at 9:00 AM at the PSC, 610 N. Whitney Way in Madison (just before the 9:30 AM PSC public hearing at the same location).
Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) has joined other regressive utilities by asking for an increase in their monthly household flat charge from $10.40 per month to $25. Similar to MG&E, they are also asking to reward waste by reducing the per kilowatt hour rate! Thanks to all of you who submitted comments in September.
All of these billing schemes penalize and strongly discourage clean energy by greatly increasing payback periods for energy efficiency, solar, and wind investments. These changes also encourage electricity consumption, increasing our dependence on coal which will lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. Approving these rate changes threatens our future with climate change impacts which risk everything from our farms to our forests to our coldwater fisheries. These schemes give customers fewer energy choices, encourage more energy use, encourage more global warming pollution, and send more of our energy dollars out of Wisconsin. These changes also directly hurt solar energy businesses and workers throughout Wisconsin.
Public comments work. Last year, the PSC received over 600+ comments when it wanted to cancel Focus on Energy rewards for solar electric systems during the 3rd quarter even though there were remaining funds reserved for renewable energy systems. Please let the PSC know that you oppose allowing your utility to make these harmful rate changes today.
Take Action to Expand Clean Transportation Options in Wisconsin
Expanding investments in transit, biking, walking, and local roads is essential for reducing our dependence on dirty tar sands oil, reducing climate change emissions and air pollution, and meeting mobility needs of low-income communities, disabled citizens, young professionals and seniors.
For many years, WisDOT has been spending billions of taxpayer dollars overbuilding highways, while shortchanging local roads, transit, and biking and walking infrastructure.
Highways continue to expand, even as demand for them is dropping. Wisconsinites drove 8.4% fewer miles in 2012 than in 2007, and surveys show young professionals increasingly want to live and work in places that offer options other than driving! Help us block repeated attempts to remove transit from the transportation budget, support for a more balanced transportation budget that meets the needs of all citizens, reject attempts to divert flexible funds that should be used for cleaner transportation options to highways. Click here to sign the petition calling for a more balanced transportation budget today!
If you want to get more involved in clean transportation work, attend one of our Transportation Town Hall meetings in October. Please join the Sierra Club and other members of the Coalition for More Responsible Transportation (CMRT) for an event on Tuesday, October 14 in Milwaukee to learn more about the proposed $1.1 billion I-94 highway expansion that will bisect neighborhoods, desecrate cemeteries, and disrupt local businesses. Whether or not you can attend, please sign our petition calling for cleaner, cheaper, safer alternatives to this costly highway boondoggle today! If you live outside of Milwaukee, join us at upcoming events in Eau Claire (10/13), Appleton (10/16), La Crosse (10/22), Wausau (10/23) and other locations for lively discussions about Wisconsin’s transportation future and funding decisions.
Take Action to Stop Destructive Mining Threatening the Penokee Hills
Gogebic Taconite's proposed open pit iron-ore mine in the Penokee Range offers short-term benefits in exchange for increasing the risks of permanent water contamination, adverse health effects, and degradation
of the Bad River Tribe's culture. The Penokee Range is home to hardwood forest and pristine rivers and streams, wetlands, and lakes. The land provides crucial habitat to wolves, bald eagles, songbirds, rare plants, and countless other animals that rely on the forested community.
This project would have massive air and water impacts on the Bad River Watershed, including threatening over 1,000 acres of wetlands, including the Bad River / Kakagon Sloughs, over 75 miles of Outstanding and Exceptional Resource Waters, and the aquifer that supplies well water to homes and businesses in the area. Over 200 inches of snow each year provides fresh clean water that supports the Bad River Watershed and Lake Superior. The Kakagon and Bad River coastal wetland complex on Lake Superior are known as "Wisconsin's Everglades". This area is critical to the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa for wild rice production. The new iron mining law fundamentally limits DNR’s authority and resources needed to scientifically evaluate the impacts of this damaging proposal. We cannot risk these vital water resources and public health just to suit arbitrary mining company deadlines.
Mining is a 'boom and bust' economy, especially true with the inconsistent steel market. The mine threatens the current tourism and wild rice economy critical to the region. The risks don't outweigh the potential short-term jobs. Click here to urge the DNR to reject this risky proposal in order to safeguard Wisconsin's fragile natural resources.
Take Action to Prevent Another Raw Trade Deal Today
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a devastating trade policy that would cost Wisconsin jobs and lower working conditions and environmental standards worldwide, is being rammed through Congress in an alarming way. Last week, fast track authority for the TPP was introduced. Fast track limits legislative review and debate, requiring Congress to vote the deal up or down without amendments. Once approved, the TPP would actually require changes in local law where it conflicts with the terms of the agreement.
Like other free trade agreements before this one, the Sierra Club is concerned that US citizens have been kept in the dark while its details have been negotiated for years in secret by and for the world’s largest corporations. In twenty years NAFTA has cost American workers 700,000 jobs. How many jobs are we going to lose with the Trans-Pacific Partnership? The Sierra Club is also troubled by the TPP’s potential to undermine state and federal environmental protections. Similar provisions in previous agreements have already led to a race to the bottom that has resulted in water contamination, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity for participating countries. Finally, we have acute concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement’s potential to fuel destructive frac sand mining and fracking by speeding up exports of US natural gas to TPP countries with no Department of Energy review or assessment of the environmental or economic implications.
Since 2010, negotiations have been taking place for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge, NAFTA-style deal involving the United States and the governments of Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Negotiations are being conducted in secret, with little opportunity for citizens to see what is being proposed and agreed to. Everything from labor standards, food safety, environmental standards and human rights will be rolled back and dismantled if the TPP passes. The public deserves the necessary time to debate and fully understand the ramifications of this massive trade deal. Click here to send a letter to your member of Congress. Tell them to get TPP off fast track today.
Urge Legislators to Support Clean Energy for Wisconsin!
|Sign the petition & help us reach our 5,000 signature goal this summer!
Wisconsin’s job creation rank continues to slip as we send over $12.5 billion out of state to import fossil fuels every year. We have a great chance to kickstart our economy by using assets that exist in our state right now to create high-tech renewable energy jobs. All that is missing is the political will to grasp the future. By investing in clean energy, Wisconsin will be far better positioned to compete in the 21st Century economy.
Wisconsin’s 10% Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) will be met by all of our utilities by 2015. New goals are needed now to ensure continued renewable energy development that will create jobs, protect our health and environment, and keep more of our money in Wisconsin. We cannot afford to fall behind as clean energy companies chase states with better policies! Sign our petition urging your state legislators to protect our environment and create jobs by expanding renewable electricity standards, improving net metering, and allowing clean energy choice today!
Clean Energy Creates Jobs! Wisconsin already employs over 1,600 in the solar industry and another 2-3,000 in the wind industry. Investing in clean energy would stimulate economic development, provide revenue for rural communities, and create much-need jobs in a variety of areas, from manufacturing to research to installation and maintenance positions.
Wisconsin can't afford to fall behind in the clean energy race! According to the American Wind Energy Association, Wisconsin had only 648 MW of wind installed by the end of 2012, as compared to 988 MW in Michigan, 1,543 MW in Indiana, 3,568 MW in Illinois, 5,133 MW in Iowa, and 2,987 MW in Minnesota. As we look around to neighboring states, we are left wondering, why isn’t Wisconsin open for clean energy business?
Clean Air Protects our Environment! Burning coal is the top contributor to climate change, and Mercury from coal-fired power plants has led to fish consumption advisories for every lake and river in Wisconsin. Clean energy provides an emission-free alternative to coal.
Clean Energy Protects our Health! Soot and smog from coal-fired power plants have been linked to asthma, heart attacks, and deaths. In contrast, no peer-reviewed studies have found any negative health effects of wind energy, or evidence of ‘wind turbine syndrome.’
Sign our petition urging your state legislators to protect our environment and create jobs by expanding renewable electricity standards, improving net metering, and allowing clean energy choice today!
Visit the JMC Legislative Tracker
Learn about the John Muir Chapter's positions on current Wisconsin legislation that affects YOU, right here in Wisconsin. Find out more by visiting Legislative Tracker, then Take Action by contacting your elected officials today!
Take Action on National Conservation Issues
Click Here to take action on federal legislation related to clean energy and global warming, protecting forests and other wild lands, protecting threatened and endangered species, and more through the Sierra Club action page.