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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Legislature should celebrate Earth Day by passing Clean Energy Jobs Act

From an editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The state Legislature could give Wisconsin's celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday a real boost by approving the latest version of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The bill is aimed at reducing the state's reliance on fossil fuels and encouraging the growth of green technology and green jobs. A recent analysis by the state Public Service Commission says the measure will result in lower costs for energy consumers in coming years.

Given the threat posed by the reality of climate change and the opportunity to start creating jobs in a new industry, it's clearly a bill that deserves passage. The same threat and opportunity also should spur Congress to finally move forward on meaningful climate change legislation.

In addition to the good it would do, such legislation at the state and federal levels also would be a fitting tribute to the late Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, which has spurred so much important environmental legislation over the past four decades.

The bad news in Wisconsin, however, is that it appears the bill won't be approved in the legislative session that ends Thursday. According to an article by Journal Sentinel reporters Patrick Marley and Jason Stein, the bill is on life-support in the Assembly because lawmakers feel they don't have the votes to pass it there.

And Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Wausau) has already signaled he won't let the bill pass in the Senate because of concerns it will raise utility rates, although we suspect that Decker's real opposition is based on political disagreements with Gov. Jim Doyle, who was hoping to make this bill part of his legacy.

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