Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Foxconn project undermines surviving WI climate change information, policy

Turns out that our-corporately-directed Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's  infamous campaign against climate science failed to erase all the state's conclusions about climate change or actions pledged to combat it.

Because state road planners who know all about fossil fuel emissions and energy efficiencies and clean air and climate change had written a lot about it all in the state's transportation master plan, "Connections 2030," here, and I'll get to it in a moment.

So while Walker and his anti-science legislative and bureaucratic allies thought they had taken Wisconsin out of the fight against climate change by scrubbing a Department of Natural Resources website, they overlooked a separate strong official Wisconsin document approved by the Department of Transportation which includes plenty of information about about clean air and climate change. 

A master plan document that discusses climate change's human causes and suggests mitigation and solutions related to alternative energy, transit and land use planning.

All of which Team Walker has undermined consistently budgetary since taking control after the 2010 elections, and is explicitly accelerating through its multi-billion-dollar subsidies to Foxconn which are financing large-scale wetland-and-farmland paving and road-building.

With substantial air polluting impacts. 796 tons worth annually, according to the state's rubber-stamping permit procedure.
Smoke stacks from a factory. 
(A full, year-long archive of posts about Foxconn ihere.)

Along with the hits to clean air that will arrive after pouring hundreds of millions of public dollars into more roads for Foxconn to induce thousands more polluting car and truck trips there daily.

After having intentionally blocked transit services to and through the Foxconn site in Racine County.

So now lets make more of the planning deficit/climate change connections in the Foxconn project by taking a closer look at Connections 2030, the state's long-range plan that acknowledges the realities of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Connections 2030 is the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) long-range transportation plan for the state. This plan addresses all forms of transportation over a 20-year planning horizon: highways, local roads, air, water, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and transit. WisDOT officially adopted Connections 2030 in October 2009.
In the report's Chapter 14 we are told that:
The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, are the largest contributors to the human causes of climate change.
And later in the same chapter, (and repeated elsewhere) we learn that: 
The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions - particularly carbon dioxide, but also methane and nitrous oxide - trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and are the largest contributors to climate change. 
Carbon dioxide emissions resulting from transportation sources account for one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions. In Wisconsin, the transportation sector contributes about 24 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.10 
In general, alternative modes of transportation such as rail, intercity bus, transit, and biking and walking are more fuel-eff􏰀icient and typically emit fewer carbon emissions per passenger mile than single- occupancy private automobiles, trucks and airplanes. See Tables 14-10 and 14-11 for more information.
Improved vehicle fuel eff􏰀iciency and emissions, congestion mitigation, and reductions in vehicle miles traveled resulting from increased availability of modal choices, such as intercity passenger rail, intercity bus, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, may reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions from the transportation sector and help achieve future greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. 
The increase in alternative mode choices may reduce the number of single occupant vehicles.  
In addition, all of the alternative modes mentioned are more energy eff􏰀icient and emit signi􏰀icantly fewer carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile than the auto and air modes...
As a policy-based plan, Connections 2030 positions WisDOT to respond to, track and adapt to new climate change initiatives as they are introduced. 
In addition, the draft plan addresses climate change and energy independence by recommending increases in the state’s investment in alternative modes of transportation beyond the base case, as detailed in Chapter 8, Provide Mobility and Transportation Choice... 
But the reverse is being foisted on residents in Racine County, and downwind, as a political favor to the Scott Walker who ideologically ignores all the evidence:
The Trump administration on Tuesday exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from the latest federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution, delivering a political victory to Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn Technology Group factory the centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
By dramatically reducing the size of the areas required to crack down on smog, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overruled the agency’s career staff, a move that will save Foxconn from having to make expensive improvements as it builds a sprawling new electronics plant in Racine County, just north of the Illinois border in an area with some of the state’s dirtiest air.
Which is why Illinois is taking the issue to court: 
Lisa Madigan, Illinois' Democratic attorney general, announced late Friday she will challenge the EPA's decision in federal appeals court, citing decisions for Wisconsin that she said will allow Foxconn Technology Group to avoid using the most stringent air pollution equipment in Racine County.
The announcement comes after the EPA on May 1 identified regions of the United States that fail to meet new, stricter ozone standards. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a Republican, exempted much of southeastern Wisconsin, including Racine County, from the latest limits.  
Because Madigan, organizations opposing the Foxconn project and others all understand the realities Walker ignores and which Pruitt will worsen for Foxconn - - a foreign firm with a checkered labor and environmental history at its Chinese operations - - whose ground-breaking Trump will officially bless Thursday after a big partisan political fundraiser for Walker and the GOP:
The burning of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions - particularly carbon dioxide, but also methane and nitrous oxide - trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere and are the largest contributors to climate change.  

1 comment:

Man MKE said...

I am certain that the regional EPA office will assign its Wisconsin stalking horse, Cathy Stepp, to deal with this dangerous and outrageous lawsuit.