Oct. 11 - Madison, WI: WNPJ's Annual Assembly will be held at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ from 1-4:30 with awards banquet from 5-7. We will be honoring John Peck and Mary Beth Schlagheck with life-time achievement awards. Our Assembly will be focused on overcoming racial disparities. Please join us! Also, please make a nomination for our Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocate and Peacemaker of the Year award HERE.
Concerned citizens around the state will introduce three mining-related resolutions at the Wisconsin Conservation Congress spring hearings, which take place on Monday, April 14, 7pm at locations in all 72 counties in the state. Volunteers are needed to introduce these resolutions in some counties, and everyone is encouraged to attend the hearings to support these resolutions. Click "Read more..." for info on how to volunteer.
Former WNPJ Chair Bill Christofferson's article Re-evaluate nuclear energy policy was published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal's opinion section on November 16. In the article, he focuses on the current political climate and the push to build new nuclear reactors in Wisconsin, which would require repealing a 25 year old law.
Supporters of new nuclear reactors consider them "a clean alternative," glossing over the concerns associated with storing large amounts of highly dangerous radioactive waste. However, Christofferson argues, "[r]ather than take it on faith that technology will solve the seemingly insoluble problem of waste disposal, leaving the current law in place will provide an incentive to find a solution before new reactors are built to produce more of the high-level waste without knowing how to dispose of it."
How serious is the nuclear disaster in Japan? What do we know about the long-term health impacts of nuclear accidents, from the Chernobyl meltdown? Can nuclear power ever be "safe"? What are the implications for energy policies in Wisconsin and nationally?
On the anniversary of the Three Mile Island disaster, we came together for a discussion with local experts at a Forum in Madison:
Shahla Werner, Ph.D, Director of the Sierra Club - John Muir Chapter
Robert Schuettpelz, Executive Director of Friends of Chernobyl Centers, U.S.
Jo Oyama-Miller, Board President of Madison-Obihiro Sister Cities (Obihiro, Japan)
On Monday, October 1, more than 50 protesters gathered to greet attendees to a Frac Sand conference in Brooklyn Park, MN, a Twin Cities suburb. They included 35 from Winona, right across the Mississippi from Wisconsin, which has had an active frac sand protest movement. Seven protesters were arrested for climbing on top of a charter bus designated to transport conference attendees.
Tornadoes swept through Alabama and put the southeastern United States in a state of emergency last week. Another potential threat from nuclear plants is looming over the area.
A new mining bill very similar to 2012's AB426 was introduced to the state legislature on January 16. This bill, the Penokee Hills Destruction Act, poses a significant threat to Wisconsin's environmental protections and public input for iron mining. A separate mining bill sponsored by Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) will be introduced next week.
Pam Kleiss, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin, a WNPJ member group, writes in the Wisconsin State Journal of her experience as a teacher in Japan. After imagining what life is like there in the wake of an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, she concludes:
"Current Wisconsin law contains important safeguards to Wisconsin's public health and ratepayers. We must continue to oppose repeal of these important protections. Concerned citizens must work to improve the safety of the radioactive waste storage pools and operation practices at our Wisconsin reactors.
"Let's hope that key United States policymakers and Wisconsin legislators are paying attention to Fukushima. It is a lesson we don't want to be forced to live through again."
A bill that would block public access to the land in the Penokee Hills where Gogebic Taconite wants to build an open-pit iron mine was passed by the state Senate last week and is expected to move through the Assembly soon (Call your Representative now!). Introduced in August, SB 278 has been roundly condemned by environmentalists, Native Americans, hunters, and tax fairness advocates as another giveaway to G-Tac by their bought-and-paid-for elected officials.
A group of citizens opposed to the controversial 5,000-cow factory farm (called the Richfield Dairy) gained significant strength over the July 4th weekend following efforts to share information and to draw attention to the proposed CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). Many families living within just a few miles were unaware of this proposed dairy until this grassroots effort began just a few weeks ago.
"Nearly a year after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused a major disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power reactors, it's almost business as usual for the U.S. nuclear industry, which remains bullish about its prospects to expand and build more reactors," writes Bill Christofferson, a past Board chair with WNPJ and part of the Carbon Free, Nuclear Free Wisconsin coalition.
"In Wisconsin, home to three of the nation's oldest reactors, with two more just across the Mississippi River in Minnesota, that may pose serious risks to the environment, the economy and human health," he adds.
On Monday, March 12, Dr. Arjun Makhijani will lead a special briefing at 12:30 pm in room 300SE of the state Capitol. Click here for details.