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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

The 2009-10 legislative session review: Global Warming

Legislation


During the 2009-10 general legislative session, I served on the
state Senate Select Committee on Clean Energy that examined proposed global warming legislation. There were four public hearings and well over 22 hours of testimony on the bill.  Committee members heard various pros and cons from state agencies, businesspeople, and environmentalists.

Riveting and very damaging testimony during our final public hearing was presented by
Paula Quinn of Hartland.  Quinn is not an elected official, government bureaucrat, or member of any special interest group. Paula Quinn is a taxpaying, PTA attending mother of three.

Paula Quinn cited a study compiled by the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid and told the committee that the controversial policies being considered in Wisconsin were instituted in Spain during 1997. Spain is the model for climate control being pushed in America. More than any other country, Spain has supported renewable energy concepts.

 

The Spanish “Study of the effects on employments of public aid to renewable energy sources” released during March 2009 says the claims made about “green jobs” in Spain and throughout Europe are the same that proponents are trying to sell in the United States today. The study bluntly asserts these policies are “terribly economically counterproductive” and that the “green jobs” agenda “in fact kills jobs.”

The most damning point of the study: Spain’s experience pinpointed as a model by President Obama can be expected to result in a loss of 2.2 jobs for every job created, or nearly 9 jobs lost for every four created.

Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and author of the study reports the premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power that are charged to consumers in their bills amounted to a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000.

The total subsidy Spain spent on renewable energy sources was $36 billion. In order to repay Spain’s historic debt caused by subsidies to renewables, the study concludes electric rates would have to be increased 31 percent. Study researchers say the U.S., like Spain, would have to cope with higher energy costs or higher taxes by following Spain’s lead. The study’s evaluation should be regarded as, the author says, a note of caution.

Gary Mar, the Minister-Counselor in Washington D.C. for the province of Alberta, Canada provided written testimony to the committee during February 2010. I found it ironic that Mar could not testify in person because he was snowbound in Washington, D.C. Gary Mar’s friendly, diplomatic message was another wake-up call about the severity of the legislation, that it could negatively impact Wisconsin’s relationship with one of its major sources of foreign oil, Canada. From Gary Mar’s testimony:

In your consideration of this bill we do ask that you seriously consider how any actions you might take could either purposefully or inadvertently do harm to the benefits we both receive from the energy sector and other trade between our two jurisdictions.

The annual value of trade between Alberta and Wisconsin is $1.5 billion. More than 140,000 Wisconsin jobs are supported by Canada-Wisconsin trade.

Alberta currently supplies you with almost 14,000 barrels of oil a day, and 76.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year.

Wisconsin receives much of its refined oil products from Illinois and Minnesota and other mid-western states. It should be no surprise to you that Alberta is the main oil supplier to the United States.

And…Alberta is the safe and reliable energy supplier to the United States.

Will this result in Wisconsin becoming more dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Venezuela, because we have cut off supply from our northern neighbors- our friends and allies?”

Why would we want to shut down our energy pipeline from a great neighbor and damage our relations? The proposed legislation would have imposed great pressure on Canada that could have resulted in a large increase in the cost of our fuel.

Gary Mar’s testimony was read to the committee by Georges Rioux, Consul General of Canada. I asked Georges Rioux the cost to Wisconsin for Canada to comply with the requirements in the bills before the committee.  Georges Rioux explained that it is not a question of Canada complying with a Wisconsin law, he replied Canada has other customers and would simply sell it somewhere else.

The massive global bill contained dramatic provisions that would have serious ramifications for international relations, trade, energy, our state economy and business climate. I am pleased the legislation died.

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