Environment/Energy

One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Dangers in Wisconsin

"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.

On mining, public input and science trump "consensus"

"Gogebic Taconite may have temporarily abandoned its proposed open pit iron mine at the pristine headwaters of the Bad River, but company spokesman Bob Seitz says the firm still wants Wisconsin’s mining law changed. Efforts are under way to develop a new 'consensus' on legislation that failed to pass the Senate in the last session," write Al Gedicks of WNPJ member group Wisconsin Resources Protection Council and Eric Hansen.

"When Wisconsinites last saw this 'consensus' approach to mining legislation, it resulted in regulations allowing groundwater contamination beneath and around mine sites," they warn.  "Kennecott then obtained a permit for its Flambeau open pit copper and gold mine at Ladysmith in the early 1990s. Kennecott’s own monitoring wells now show the groundwater there is highly polluted with sulfates and various metals."  Read the whole article on the Capital Times website...

Nuclear too costly, say state Senator, energy expert

As the Clean Energy Jobs Act heads towards votes in the state Assembly Tuesday and possible Senate votes Thursday, more people are raising questions about the many trade-offs in the bill.

State Senator Kathleen Vinehout writes in the La Crosse Tribune about her concerns with the bill, including its pro-nuclear provisions:

"I share concerns with others that we must precede with care down the path of nuclear power. Residents of many states have seen large rate increases after such plants were built and construction cost over-runs were passed on to rate payers."

"And we still do not have a plan for the permanent disposal of radioactive spent fuel rods."

Nuclear 'tweaks' in energy bill could be a deal-breaker

When is a "tweak" in a legislative bill a deal breaker?

Maybe, just maybe, when the change is to an already controversial section on nuclear power that's part of the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Bill for Wisconsin.

Pro-nuclear changes being pushed by utilities could derail the whole thing.

WNPJ board member Bill Christofferson explains on WNPJ blog.

Norma Berkowitz Honored by UNA-USA Dane County

Norma Berkowitz, Madison,  received the Global Citzen award on Oct. 24th from Kathie Beckett, outgoing president of the UNA-USA Dane County chapter . Norma's work with the group FOCCUS was recognized at the annual banquet on this, the 65th anniversary of the founding of the UN. FOCCUS is a WI-based group - with roots in the UW-Madison School of Social work.

Next WI governor says yes to nuclear power

Sad news! Both candidates for governor – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (Democrat) and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (Republican) – said they would support lifting the ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants in the state. (This makes clear the need to educate officials about the hazards and high cost of nuclear reactors!) In good news, State Rep.

New coalition supports mining safeguards

An open letter from more than 75 organizations, including WNPJ, urges state legislators to maintain Wisconsin's mining safeguards.  The newly proposed mining bill is nearly identical to last session's extreme measure, which would have endanged key wetlands and watersheds.

"This is the beginning of a new network of organizations both in Wisconsin and around the region concerned that Gogebic Taconite has worked to change mining laws based on false claims about the safety of taconite mining compared to metallic sulfide mining,” said Al Gedicks, Executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, a WNPJ member group.

Gedicks added that it makes no sense to repeal Wisconsin's strong "prove it first," or mining moratorium law, since "there is still no example of a mine ever successfully operating in metallic sulfide minerals."

Multi-state meeting discusses CFNF strategy, tactics

Forty activists representing several Midwestern states met at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, WI on June 20 to exchange information, share experiences, and brainstorm on ideas for promoting a Carbon Free Nuclear Free energy policy that doesn’t rely on either fossil fuel or nukes. 

 Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and even New Mexico were represented at the two-hour session in the fair’s networking tent, organized by Wisconsin’s CFNF coalition.

Mining Legislation

Mining bills:

 

Cullen proposal - 12/6/2012 (yellow highlights indicate troubling law changes)

 

Analysis of AB 426 - Wisconsin Way Mining Reform Act - 2/22/2012

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