Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Doyle Touts Energy Initiatives, Impending Great Lakes Compact Legislation

In his State of the Street address Wednesday night (full text here), Gov. Jim Doyle had this to say about the Great Lakes Compact, the pending and controversial water management agreement dormant in the state legislature since its preliminary approval by the Great Lakes Governors in December, 2005:

"Protecting the Great Lakes

"To build a bright future for Wisconsin we must continue to reach across the aisle, put partisanship aside, and focus on the incredible assets we have in this state.

"From the majestic shores of Lake Michigan to the brutal and beautiful waters of Lake Superior, the Great Lakes are Wisconsin’s most precious natural resource.

"But the Great Lakes face many new challenges. Regions of the country that have overbuilt look at our freshwater with an envious eye.

"As Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors I along with my fellow Governors have taken aggressive action, signing the Great Lakes Compact to preserve and protect our fresh water for generations.

"In the coming weeks, leaders in the Legislature will introduce a bipartisan plan to approve the Great Lakes Compact.

"I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for helping to move the compact forward.

"Let’s continue to work together to ratify and implement this historic agreement and ensure that our Great Lakes remain protected forever."

He gave no details. The bill may be introduced in a few days.

Doyle also announced renewable energy initiatives that take advantage of the state's agricultural and manufacturing industries, attract investment, and which could help Wisconsin contribute solutions to global warming.

Here is what the prepared text had to say about these matters and several related proposals:

Creating Renewable Energy

"We have set Wisconsin on the right course to seize new economic opportunities and lead our nation’s response to one of the most critical challenges of our time.

"Our addiction to foreign oil is compromising our national security, paralyzing our economy, and melting the polar ice caps. The global threat of climate change is undeniable. Temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have reached their warmest point in over two thousand years.

"A barrel of oil has topped $100… and just look at the price of gasoline at the pump – nearly double what it was just five years ago. The oil companies don’t care. They’re making the biggest profits in history. Our country is sending over a billion dollars a week in oil payments to the Middle East.

"Just imagine if we were investing that kind of money right here in Wisconsin.

Energy Accomplishments

"I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we should depend more on the Midwest and less on the Mideast, and today we are. Since I became Governor, we’ve worked together to increase production of Wisconsin-made ethanol from zero gallons to half a billion gallons per year.

"Last fall, I brought governors from across the Midwest together in Milwaukee to chart a new energy direction for our region and our world.

"At the University of Wisconsin-Madison we are launching the Great Lakes BioEnergy Research Center bringing together researchers from five other universities across the country. Our nation’s dependence on foreign oil must end, but drilling our way out of this crisis is not the answer.

"We must invent and innovate our way to a cleaner, safer energy future. …and tonight, from generating wind power in Fond du Lac to harnessing the power of biomass in Rice Lake, Wisconsin is ready to lead the way.

Energy Independence Fund

Tonight we’ll launch an aggressive new strategy to reduce the pollution that causes global warming and grow Wisconsin’s economy – the Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund – a major new investment to make Wisconsin a world leader in renewable energy and homegrown power.

"Over the next 10 years Wisconsin will invest $150 million to help our businesses, our farmers, our foresters, and our manufacturers produce and promote renewable energy.

"Our strong manufacturing base and rich agricultural industries, along with the wealth of resources in our vast northern forests and world-leading research universities, position Wisconsin to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.

"From manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels to retro-fitting fuel pumps and exploring the latest clean technologies, we will seize green opportunities and create good jobs for our citizens.

"But we won’t stop there.

Renewable Fuel Initiative

"Tonight we’ll launch a new campaign to increase the availability of renewable fuel by 1 billion gallons.

"First we’ll provide new tax credits for biodiesel fuel producers and add 400 new renewable fuel pumps to our roads.

"Second let’s pass a renewable fuel standard sponsored by Senator Kreitlow and Representative Suder to require oil companies to provide renewable fuel for our consumers.

Energy Efficiency

"Energy costs continue to rise and Wisconsin families deserve relief. Over the next 18 months, we will make another historic investment – $95 million – to help save families and businesses over half a billion dollars over the next decade."

No comments: