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Focus on the Driftless: Energy issues and statewide ramifications

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

WNPJ's May 6 Assembly & Steering committee met at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in southwestern Wisconsin. We encourage you to explore the presentations! (Read more reports from WNPJ member groups here)

A few highlights:

  • Samantha Laskowski's will tell you how homeowners and others wishing to install renewable energy systems can benefit right away from the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • Spark Burmaster warns of a new nuclear power plant at the Genoa site and what it means for the area and the entire state.

  • Rob Danielson provides a cost/benefit analysis of funds spent on energy efficiency vs. energy expansion.

  • Forest Jahnke explains the geology of the Driftless region and how it is impacted by agricultural projects.

and more!

Introduction to the Driftless Region & Energy Concerns

WNPJ Board member Dena Eakles provides an overview & some history of the rural Driftless area of Wisconsin, including the introduction and current state of energy cooperatives. Dena introduces Samantha Laskowski of the Vernon County Energy District.

Samantha Laskowski, Vernon County Energy District

Samantha Laskowski gave this presentation on May 7, 2023. Her talk focuses on the huge incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for homeowners to convert to renewable energy. She explains how tax credits, rebates and discounts can add up to large energy savings while addressing the climate crisis and creating energy equity.

Download a copy of the slides:

Download PDF • 1.12MB

Spark Burmaster, Environmental Options: the Genoa Nuclear Power Plant

Longtime activist Spark Burmaster talks about the possibility of a new "micro" nuclear power plant at the site where the Genoa Coal & Nuclear Plant was decommissioned over a decade ago. He explores the risks and costs, and explains the harms of promoting “carbon-free nuclear energy” as a solution to our energy needs.

Download a PDF of the slides:

Genoa Wis New Nuclear Site_5-6-23
Download PDF • 1.29MB

Forest Jahnke, Crawford Stewardship Project

Forest Jahnke shares the Crawford Stewardship Project's work to promote sustainable land and water use and environmental justice in the Driftless region, and protect local control of resources. He explains the geology of the region and how it is impacted by projects including industrial level factory farms, frac sand mining and power lines.

Rob Danielson, SOUL of Wisconsin

Rob Danielson of Save Our Unique Lands (S.O.U.L.) of Wisconsin focuses on energy expansion in Wisconsin: individual/community/distributed solutions vs. corporate solutions. He explains how boosting energy efficiency negates the need for the massive proposed corporate energy expansion that will use critical land, and how Wisconsin’s current statutes need to change to make corporations accountable.

Download a map of the Wisconsin Utility Districts and text of the state statutes:

WI_UtilityDistricts_Statute_StevensPt_SW WI Districts_WNPJ_20230506~merge
Download PDF • 14.95MB

Nuclear Power Brief Cost/Benefit Analysis

In this short video, Rob Danielson compares the cost & benefit of building a nuclear power plant at Genoa to the same amount of money spent to extend the Focus on Energy program. For $4 billion you could triple fund the Focus on Energy Program for 41 years and remove 7 times as much carbon dioxide.

Marcia Halligan, Kickapoo Peace Circle

Marcia Halligan shares about the Kickapoo Peace Circle, and her book Hidden in the 13th Moon: She offers “Blessings and thanks to all the creatures, features and aspects if the natural world and those who cherish them.

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