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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grothman would take state backward

An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

No, Mr. Grothman, wind energy is not tearing the state apart, and in fact, most of the state's utilities are well-positioned to meet the state's renewable standard requirement in 2015. Increasing the use of renewable energy in Wisconsin is needed to reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels and to thus meet the challenges posed by climate change. The state needs more wind farms and solar panels and other renewable sources - for energy reasons and for the jobs these industries can produce.

But Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) wants to take the state backward, perhaps largely because he's heard from constituents upset over a proposed small wind farm in his district. He said he will introduce legislation to freeze the state's renewable energy portfolio at the 2012 level, despite the fact that most utilities are already prepared to meet the 2015 level of 10%. He said the 10% was a mistake, and that wind farm proposals tear "at the fabric of Wisconsin communities."

Grothman has a penchant for the overdramatic, but he's wrong on this. Where has he been? Has he missed the wind farms that have been going up all around the state? All he needs to do is take a trip from West Bend to Fond du Lac on US 45 to get an eyeful. They don't despoil the landscape and they haven't caused major problems for most neighbors. And they've certainly enhanced the state's energy portfolio.

Given the success of these efforts, the rising concerns over climate change and the potential jobs that are at stake, Grothman should pull back on his threat to take Wisconsin backward.

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