Support the Drinking Water Disinfection Bill
Clean water is something many of us take for granted, a basic right we enjoy straight from the faucets in our homes.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case for nearly 85,000 people living in more than 60 communities around Wisconsin. Two years ago, state legislators pulled the plug on a bill that would have made water in these communities safer through disinfection, but their shortsighted decision has allowed germs to fester in a big way. In fact, researchers from Marshfield Clinic have found viruses in a quarter of all samples from nondisinfected water supplies, the culprit for one in every five stomach illnesses.
Luckily, these viruses days are numbered with LRB 1509/LRB 3505, a bill that requires continuous disinfection of municipal groundwater systems. This would effectively level the playing field to deliver so every community throughout the state that relies on public water supplies gets the clean water it deserves.
Everyone deserves clean water. Co-sponsorship signatures are needed by Friday, 11/22: Email your legislators today and tell them add their support to this commonsense bill.
Ensure Lake Michigan Water is Truly Waukesha's Last Resort
Nothing compares to Lake Michigan, and it’s no wonder why just five years ago, eight states and two Canadian provinces bound together to create the historic Great Lakes Compact. The message was simple: The lakes are a treasure, not a commodity. Now, Waukesha is putting that idea to the test.
Despite its location outside the Great Lakes basin, Waukesha has submitted a revised application to buy Lake Michigan water, requesting to take 10.1 million gallons from it daily – nearly 3.7 billion gallons a year! This is serious, and Lake Michigan water should be a last resort.
Thankfully, the Compact sets a very high bar for these requests, but we’re concerned Waukesha’s application doesn’t meet some of the Compact’s most important requirements. While everyone deserves clean, safe water, Waukesha must first take commonsense steps to reduce its water use and maximize the safe water resources it has available. The city has long had a plan for water conservation but has failed to commit sufficient effort or resources to it.
Waukesha must be a leading example to protect this national treasure.
Ask the DNR to make water conservation a top priority as it evaluates Waukesha’s application.
Anything less would just be wasteful.
Support Clean Water in the Brown County Budget
Whether it’s fishing your favorite local trout stream or sailing on Lake Michigan, our waters play a huge role in our lives. Water pollutants like excessive phosphorus harm not only our waters, but the communities that depend on them.
That’s why we’re excited about Brown County’s proposed 2014 budget. Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach has proposed to add two staff positions to the county Land and Water Conservation Department. Additional staff in the department will help drive community-wide efforts to improve water quality in Brown County and beyond.
In the face of rollbacks to state environmental protections, County Executive Streckenbach’s commitment to protecting local resources is commendable, and we’re thrilled to work with the county to implement strategies to reduce algae-causing phosphorus pollution.
Reducing phosphorus pollution is a community-wide effort, so it’s important to get support from local leaders. Be a voice for cleaner water in Brown County. Contact your county supervisor today.
Oppose SB 349 to Protect our Air, Water & Health
In early October, a frac sand mining executive declared Wisconsin the “global epicenter” of this booming industry and said, “we’re just getting started.”
But at what cost?
Along comes SB 349, a sweeping bill that seeks to bolster the frac sand mining industry by cutting off local governments’ ability to enact commonsense environmental protections. What’s worse, this irresponsible thinking is being fast-tracked – and the implications go far beyond just frac sand.
The bill removes local governments’ ability to regulate local air and water pollution regardless of the source. Those powers would be handed over to the state. If passed, many commonsense local laws like those regulating the spread of invasive species, the regulation of outdoor wood boilers and water conservation measures could be pre-empted, to name just a few. The bill could also impact local government authority over the Gogebic Taconite mine in northern Wisconsin.
We need to move fast. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24 by the same committee that fast-tracked the iron mining bill earlier this year.
ACT NOW: Tell your legislators to oppose SB 349 TODAY.
EPA: Don't Water Down Carbon Pollution Limits for New Sources
One-third of the U.S.’s greenhouse gases come from power plants … let’s seize this opportunity for cleaner air!
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA has drafted rules limiting carbon emissions for new power plants. This is very good news and a positive step for the health of future generations.
The draft rules would limit a new coal plant to no more than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, a sharp but positive cut from the current 1,768-pound average. Gas-fired plants would be limited to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour.
It’s about the air we breathe. It’s about our way of life. It’s about our future.
With the rules still in draft form, we need your voice. Tell EPA you support these higher standards for new power plants.
Support GLRI Funding
As Congress works to finalize the nation's 2014 budget, funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) remains in limbo.
In the four years GLRI has been funded, we have been able to restore some of the Great Lakes’ most vulnerable areas, clean up industrial pollution, restore degraded habitat and to protect coastal wetlands. We have reduced polluted runoff, cleaned beaches and improved water quality in these great national resources that supply drinking water to over 30 million Americans.
While much has been accomplished, there is much more to do.
Right now, three Representatives are circulating a letter to urging Congressional leaders to provide $300 million for GLRI in 2014, a continuation of last year's funding level and the amount President Obama proposed in his 2014 budget. At present, only two Wisconsin Representatives, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan, have signed on.
The sign-on period closes tomorrow, Thursday, 9/26, and we need Reps. Duffy, Kind, Petri, Ribble, Ryan and Sensenbrenner to get their names on the letter. Email them now and ask them to support GLRI funding.
Prefer to call? Call the House Representatives switchboard at 202-225-3121 and asked to be patched through to your Representative’s office. (And feel free to email us to let us know you made the call!)
It Only Takes One: Support the Mercury Thermostat Recycling Bill
One gram of mercury is all it takes to contaminate a 20-acre lake. And the fish in that 20-acre lake. The fish you and I catch in that 20-acre lake and feed to our families.
And that one gram? That’s less than the amount of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in one of those old, round thermostats that homeowners and builders are increasingly replacing with programmable options. And because Wisconsin doesn’t have convenient options for recycling these mercury-containing devices, they often end up in landfills where the mercury leaches out and into our water.
And the closest lake.
Thankfully, a draft bill is now circulating that would provide convenient recycling options and incentives for properly recycling old mercury-containing thermostats. Ask your legislators to cosponsor AB 424, the Mercury Thermostat Recycling bill today.
It is estimated that between 5,000 to 9,000 children born in Wisconsin every year are at risk of health issues because of mercury consumption. And every inland lake in the state is under a fish consumption warning because of mercury. Gram by gram, lake by lake, thermostat by thermostat, we can change these facts.
Invaders! Support SB 134 to control invasive sea lamprey
They’re like something out of a horror movie, and the scene is lakes Michigan and Superior.
The sea lamprey (see the nasty thing at right) is an eel-like parasite that attacks fish with its vampirish teeth, sucking the blood and bodily fluids out of the fish. An invasive species, their numbers are on the rise, and they’re threatening Lake Michigan and Superior’s commercial and recreational fisheries and tourism industry.
To counter the havoc these beastly creatures could wreak on our Great Lakes, Sen. Rob Cowles has introduced SB 134, a bill that would allot funding to the DNR for better sea lamprey management. This includes building and repairing barriers to keep them out of inland waters and surveying streams off the lakes to determine how far inland they’ve moved.
The state Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to take up SB 134 and approve its funding when it meets Wednesday.
Email your legislators today and ask them to greenlight this bill to reign in these creepy critters.
This Land is Our Land: Oppose SB 278
This is one exception to the rule that we shouldn’t make.
This minute, the Senate is trying to rush through Senate Bill 278, which would cut off public access to lands around Gogebic Taconite’s proposed mine site in Northern Wisconsin. These lands are part of our Managed Forest Law program, which benefits private landowners by providing them with financial incentives for making their lands available to Wisconsinites for outdoor recreation, including hunting, hiking and trapping, among other things.
While SB 278 would specifically close off public access around the GTac site, its passage would set a terrible precedent: Creating an exception for GTac opens the door for other industries or property owners to arbitrarily do the same, while the public continues to subsidize the program and loses access to important public lands.
This bill is moving quickly, but this is an exception we shouldn't make: Tell your legislator to oppose SB 278 NOW.
Fully Fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
With this last weekend of summer nearing its end, many of you may be enjoying time on our Great Lakes.
Unfortunately, some members of Congress don’t care if they stay “great” for summers to come.
Earlier this summer, committees in the House went back and forth on funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), at one time proposing to cut funding for this successful and critically important program by a whopping 85%. GLRI supports on-the-ground work all around the Great Lakes to combat threats like invasive species such as Asian carp, disgusting and destructive algae blooms, bacteria that lead to beach closings, dangerous toxic substances in the water and more. It also protects and restores habitat for fish and wildlife and public access to the lakes.
Cutting GLRI funding only makes these problems more expensive in the future. While the President’s budget called for $300 million for GLRI funding, the latest amendment only restored funding level to $285 million. This is far less than what is needed to truly address the issues facing the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water for o 30 million people, over 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages to American citizens.
Tell your Member of Congress to keep our Great Lakes great: Vote to fund GLRI at $300 million, at least, for 2014.
Oppose SB 302 and Weakened Groundwater Protections
This isn't 2004.
Rivers drying up, lakefront property turning to mud, unsafe drinking water. These are realities for many Wisconsin residents because large wells are allowed to pump groundwater with few restrictions. And property owners are left with few options to stop the effects of over-pumping.
It's been almost 10 years since Wisconsin passed the first groundwater protection law as an initial step to protect our waters for all Wisconsinites. While that law was progressive in 2004, the problems with over-pumping have only gotten worse, the law is proving to be inadequate, and applications for these large wells have increased by 40% in the last two years alone.
And now, instead of moving forward, a legislator is proposing to move us back with Senate Bill 302. This bill would roll back Wisconsinite's ability to protect their wells and their beloved waterways from excessive groundwater pumping.
This bill is expected to move quickly, and industry lobbyists are working hard to get legislative support
Say no to rolling back groundwater protections: Tell your legislators to oppose Senate Bill 302.
Obama: Thanks for Your Strong Plan on Climate Change
A Wisconsin farm field during last year's drought.
We were very excited to hear about President Obama’s plan for addressing climate change, which includes long-overdue carbon pollution standards for existing coal plants.
Wisconsin is ready to meet these carbon pollution standards. With our topnotch colleges and strong manufacturing base, we can design and build the clean energy technologies that will transition us away from our reliance on fossil fuels from other states and countries, which costs us more than $12 billion each year.
We’re already seeing the high costs and devastating impacts of drought, flooding and storms, and we don’t have much time to lose – too much is at stake in Wisconsin.
Send a message now to tell President Obama you support his plan.
Vote for Clean Water!
Across the state, kids and adults alike are waiting to take their first jump into … algae-choked lakes?
For decades, Clean Wisconsin has been dedicated to controlling phosphorus, one of the main reasons our lakes become unswimmable as summer progresses. In fact, we helped create the phosphorus rules and the Adaptive Management Option (AMO), an innovative, cost-effective and collaborative solution for our green, gross lakes.
But for AMO to succeed, we need to cut some red tape and tomorrow the Senate has the chance to do that. Right now, communities and businesses can only get individual permits when they need to discharge wastewater in a lake, river or stream; this is a huge obstacle to AMO’s cooperative approach.
Senate Bill 190 changes that to allow watershed-based permits so all stakeholders can work with one another, not against. Without these permits, clean-up efforts in the Fox-Wolf watershed in Northeast Wisconsin, the Tainter-Menomin watershed in Northwest Wisconsin and the Yahara watershed in south-central Wisconsin could be hindered.
Ask your legislators to support this great bill today!
Make Clean Energy A Priority in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is overly dependent on fossil fuels; in fact, we send over $12 billion out of state each year to import these dirty fuels. On the other hand, we can choose to invest in clean energy, create jobs in the hundreds of clean energy businesses in Wisconsin, and keep more money flowing in our economy.
Billions of dollars were invested in clean energy in 2012 alone, but Wisconsin is poised to miss out on this economic development unless our leaders pass polices that support clean energy.
We have a clear choice: invent and manufacture the clean energy technologies of tomorrow in Wisconsin, or surender this opportunity to other states and countries.
Please urge your legislators to prioritize clean energy economic development in Wisconsin.
EPA: Keep Toxic Coal Ash Out of Lake Michigan
How would you feel if you found out that a company was dumping toxic substances into the water your family relies on for drinking every day?
Unfortunately, it’s not a hypothetical. The Environmental Protection Agency is considering an agreement that would allow the Badger Car Ferry to dump over 1,000 tons of toxic coal ash, including arsenic, mercury and other dangerous substances, into Lake Michigan over the next two years.
Tell the EPA to keep toxic coal ash out of Lake Michigan today!
By emailing the EPA today, you can help protect the Lake Michigan, which provides drinking water for millions of people. The public comment period only open until April 26, so don’t miss your chance to act!
Don't Close the Door to Clean, Renewable Energy
Just a week after voting to open Wisconsin's Northwoods to dangerous mining by out-of-state companies, Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) is proposing a bill that would slam the door on clean, renewable wind energy.
Wisconsin is quickly falling behind our neighbors in the development of wind energy. Now, Sen. Lasee is pushing a bill would make it nearly impossible for wind companies to build wind farms and reduce our reliance on dirty out-of-state fossil fuels. If enacted, this proposal would immediately jeopardize several pending wind projects in Wisconsin.
A hearing on the bill is already scheduled for next week, so this bill is moving fast. By contacting your legislator today, we have a chance to stop the momentum of this bill.
Please contact your legislators today and tell them to oppose Sen. Lasees attack on wind energy!
Help Make Highland Wind a Reality
The Highland Wind Project proposed for St. Croix County would bring over 100 jobs and enough clean renewable energy to power 29,000 homes in Northwest Wisconsin, should it get approved.
Unfortunately, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) denied the Highland Wind Project’s permit on February 14, imposing burdensome new sound modeling standards and asking the developer to reapply for a permit.
Please email Gov. Walker and Rep. Honadel today to ask them to support this important project.
Public support from these key leaders could represent a turning point in the fight to make the Highland Wind project a reality
(For individuals outside Rep. Honadel's district, you will only be contacting Gov. Walker.)
Pres. Obama: Direct the EPA to act now on climate change!
The President’s leadership on climate change is unbelievably important with a conservative Congress unlikely to act on this important issue. To avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, however, science shows that we must act immediately to reduce carbon pollution.
Setting standards for carbon pollution from existing power plants is the fastest way to achieve reductions in carbon pollution. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency issued draft rules to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, but have yet to issue rules limiting carbon pollution from existing ones.
Thank Pres. Obama for his leadership on climate change and ask him to act quickly to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.
Tell Legislators to Oppose Nukes as Renewable Energy
We all know that nuclear energy is not renewable energy, yet lawmakers in the Capitol are pushing a bill that would allow nuclear energy to count toward Wisconsin’s Renewable Electricity Standard.
Current law requires utilities to get 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power by 2015. The bill released Tuesday (LRB-0527/3) would allow nuclear energy to count toward this standard.
With dozens of new legislators in the Capitol, now is an important time to demonstrate Wisconsin’s strong support for renewable energy. Contacting your legislator today to tell them you support renewable energy can help set the tone for the rest of this legislative session.
Help show Wisconsin’s strong support for renewable energy by telling your legislators to keep nuclear energy out of Wisconsin’s Renewable Electricity Standard!
Vote Against the Mining Bill
Over the next two weeks, the Assembly and Senate mining committees will vote on the environmentally destructive mining bill.
As written, AB 1/SB 1 (the mining bill) cuts the public out of the process and ties the hands of the DNR in protecting our air and water. It grossly rolls back current protections for wetlands, groundwater and lakes, rivers and streams. In short, it swings the door wide open for environmentally destructive mining in our Northwoods and beyond.
Tell your legislator today: Don't roll back environmental protections for mining.
This is the final push. As the pressure mounts and legislators prepare to make their final votes on this bill it’s critically important legislators hear from people like you and me.
EPA: Make the Badger Car Ferry Clean Up Its Act!
The owners of the coal-fired SS Badger car ferry have long held a top spot on the Naughty List.
For decades, the Badger has been dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan – over 500 tons a year – as it ferries cars between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich. And for the last few years, it’s tried a long list of ploys to get special permission to keep dumping this toxic byproduct into Lake Michigan, rather than getting serious about solutions.
In coming weeks, EPA will be writing a new permit for the Badger. Sign this petition to tell the EPA not to allow the Badger’s owners to keep treating Lake Michigan like a toxic dump.
Containing 24 known carcinogens, this coal byproduct becomes even more toxic when mixed with water. By dumping it into Lake Michigan, the Badger carferry threatens more than 10 million people who rely on this lake for drinking water.
The company has had plenty of time to clean up its act and move itself to the Nice List, but executives have chosen to skirt the system instead. Tell the EPA to hold the Badger car ferry to the Clean Water Act and prohibit them from dumping dangerous coal ash into Lake Michigan.
EPA: Set Carbon Pollution Standards
For the first time in history, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to limit the carbon dioxide pollution emitted from power plants, and now is the perfect time to send a message to the EPA in support of strong carbon pollution standards to be promulgated in a timely manner.
This is a crucial first step to curb carbon pollution that threatens each of us. Please tell the EPA that the public supports carbon standards to protect our health and trigger investments and innovation in clean energy.
Restore Full Funding for Focus on Energy
Did you know that last year alone, Wisconsin residents saved $264 million in energy costs by using the Focus on Energy program to help make upgrades to their homes and businesses? And, since 2001, Focus on Energy has saved Wisconsin businesses more than $212 million in annual energy costs.
You can see why we are working extra hard to protect the funds for this important program!
We think it’s time to turn up the heat on Governor Walker about important funding for Focus on Energy.
Would you take 30 seconds to send this email to Governor Walker?
Tell Congress to Stop the Asian Carp
Please tell Congress we need immediate action to stop the Asian Carp from destroying our Great Lakes! Right now, thousands of Asian Carp are swimming north, infesting many rivers and lakes – even ones flowing into neighboring Great Lakes. Because Asian Carp consume up to 40% of their body weight each day, they have the potential to radically alter the Great Lakes by destroying the food chain that sustains our native fish. Plus, they've been known to jump high enough to land in fishing boats!
Bottom line: If they become established, our $7 billion fishing industry would be at risk, as would our ability to enjoy Wisconsin's beautiful waterways. Asian Carp have not yet entered our Great Lakes, which means we still have time to stop them by permanently separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi River waterways. A recent report demonstrates that restoring the separation between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems can be done cost-effectively and provide a permanent solution to invasive species entering the Great Lakes through the Chicago Waterway System.
Please contact your members of Congress to tell them to stop the Asian Carp!