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This Weeks Articles...


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This Pipeline Cuts Across a Reservation. Wisconsin Might Make Tribal Members Felons for Protesting It.

They could face fines of $10,000 and up to six years in jail.

For more than 60 years, one section of Enbridge’s elaborate network of pipelines carrying petroleum across Canada has taken a detour through the Bad River Reservation in northern Wisconsin.

Some of the easements that allowed Enbridge to keep its Line 5 pipeline on the tribe’s land expired in 2013, and negotiations between Enbridge and the tribe to renew the leases fell through. Yet Line 5 is still funneling Enbridge’s petroleum across the Bad River Reservation. The tribe says Enbridge is trespassing, and has sued the company to kick it off their property.

If a bill awaiting Wisconsin’s Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ signature becomes law, members of the tribe protesting Enbridge’s operations on their reservation could face fines of $10,000 and up to six years in jail...

See Also:

Pipeline bill’s backers, critics both lobby Evers as signing deadline nears


Ken Notes: This is becoming more complex. This is tribal land so a Wisconsin law dealing with what the Tribe members can do on their land could put us in the court system for years. This law would also increase pressure for the tribes to ask Enbridge to move the pipeline. This law was not well thought out and is not even in line with the federal recommendation. The governor has a difficult decision to make here, his phone is 608-266-1212.

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DNR Board Approves E. Coli Water Regulations

Board Also Approves Hearings To Help Establish PFAS Standards

The state Natural Resources Board has unanimously approved new regulations changing the way the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources measures bacterial contamination in waterways.

The DNR currently uses fecal coliform to determine contamination levels that might be harmful to public health. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended using E. coli levels to determine the risk of illness for people swimming or recreating in waters.

Marcia Willhite, the agency`s water evaluation section chief, said the switch is needed to remain eligible for federal beach grants used by local governments to monitor pollution from a variety of sources. She said those include potential discharge from treated sewage and animals. 

"It’s an ongoing challenge and that`s why local communities really do rely on these funds," she said.

The new regulations will also mean changes for some wastewater treatment plants.

"We also require that wastewater treatment plants that are discharging water into waterbodies that people recreate in to limit the bacteria in their discharge," she said.

Around 40 percent of the state`s 356 treatment plants might have to increase disinfection under the new criteria. The DNR estimates that will cost them around $2 million each year, but the agency said financial assistance will be available. ...


Ken Notes: So 142 communities need to spend 2 million per year, Yet CAFO`s get a free pass even though they spread directly onto fields and into watersheds? I strongly suggest the cities ask that there be equity in this ruling.

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Magna working on next gen electric motor

In the USA, Magna is now working with the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to develop an electric motor with a significantly higher power density and lower costs. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The aim of the project is to create an electric motor with a peak output of 125 kW that has eight times more power density than today’s electric motors for half the cost. The Canadian-Austrian automotive supplier gives the analogy that this is like pouring a gallon of milk into a pint-sized container (or just under 4 litres of milk into a half-litre container). Magna wants to reduce costs by eliminating the use of rare earth permanent magnets.


DOE awards Magna a grant to develop and ‘auto qualify’ advanced motor; 1/2 the cost, 8x power density


Ken Notes: Wouldn`t it be cool to build these in Wisconsin!!!

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Development Matters Radio and Podcast!
Tyler Huebner

My guest Saturday was Tyler Huebner Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin

11-2-19 – Development Matters – Hour 2

Tyler Huebner of RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization that promotes renewable energy in Wisconsin, joins the host Ken Harwood on the phone.


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PSTA approves purchase of 20 trolleys for $9.7 million
ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority Board of Directors voted 11-2 Oct. 23 to buy 20 new trolleys to replace the 16 that are now part of its 210-bus fleet...

...The cost to purchase 20 Hometown Trolley Streetcars is just over $8.5 million plus $1.16 million in equipment, including driver security barriers for a total of nearly $9.7 million.

The money to pay for the new trolleys will come from FTA grants...

Ken Notes: But Ken, you say, this is not a Wisconsin story.... Au contraire moose breath -- Hometown Trolley is one of Wisconsin`s best kept secrets -- where amongst the pine of the north woods they hand build these beautiful carriages in Crandon Wisconsin. Please check them out at the link above....

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All about the PFAS problem

Why the state has commissioned not just one, but two panels to examine the risks posed by the ubiquitous chemical

They’ve been a part of life for decades, used for everything from waterproofing clothing to making foam for fighting airplane and industrial fires.

But for most of that time, the class of chemicals known as PFAS escaped detection as potentially hazardous to human health. And not until the last five years or so have Wisconsin regulators begun to understand how widespread potential contamination from PFAS chemicals might be.

PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of manufactured chemicals that date back as far as the 1940s. There are anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 different compounds. And there’s still not much known about them, except for several health hazards attributed to exposure.

“Everybody’s learning here as we go,” Darsi Foss, administrator of the environmental management division at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told the Wisconsin Examiner...

See Also:

As DNR contemplates PFAS regulation, industry seeks to narrow scope


Ken Notes: We know it is there, what we don`t know is how to get rid of it. What we need to know is how can we affordable do this when we are way ahead of the federal government where funding will eventually come from. I get very nervous when I see companies mentioned in articles that have not clearly defined the scope of the problem.

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Public urged to weigh in on water quality

Clean-water measures are moving forward at state and federal levels

Safe drinking water is receiving significant attention this year, from proposed rule changes by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to creating new incentives for companies to clean up and reduce pollution. But advocates pushing for safer drinking water are still looking for more.

“It’s about time EPA takes the crisis seriously by putting forth much needed updates to this rule,” Carly Michiels, Government Relations Director for Clean Wisconsin, said in a press release. Michiels told Wisconsin Examiner the rule change was 30 years in the making, and represents a big step forward. Nevertheless, she pointed to holes in the proposal.

The EPA is not doing enough to push for replacement of lead service lines, said Michiels. “They also do not lower the action level of 15 parts per billion, which is way too high. Instead, it creates a sort of a step before that 15ppb (parts per billion), which they’re calling a trigger level.” That trigger level would be 10ppb, which Michiels says is still much too high...


Ken Notes: I agree but please speak from and informed point of view. For example 60 year old lead pipes are most likely NOT leaching lead into our drinking water. While they must be replaced a community can do this in a timely and affordable way.

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SCS Engineers

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SCS - At the forefront of sustainable environmental solutions for over 40 years

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Wisconsin Falls Behind on Solar and Wind Energy

Minnesota greatly outpaces Wisconsin in clean energy production. A new report from the Environmental Law & Policy Center, A Tale of Two States, finds that the Badger State is much more dependent on burning fossil fuels than its neighbor to the west.

Since 2015, Minnesota’s solar power capacity grew by leaps and bounds, while Wisconsin’s remained relatively flat, and since 2007, Wisconsin’s installed wind power capacity has done likewise, while Minnesota’s has almost doubled. Minnesota currently has almost seven times Wisconsin’s wind power capacity. In 2018, Wisconsin produced half its energy from coal and 5% from non-hydroelectric renewables. Minnesota, by contrast, produced 37% of its energy from coal and 23% from non-hydroelectric renewables.


Ken Notes: These is a production vs. use issue, we are finding it easier and cheaper to use renewable energy produced elsewhere than to produce it in the State. The major utilities are starting to change this but it will always be a cost issue. The good news is that the costs are headed in the right direction.

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`Much too divided`: Lobbyists, Capitol observers adjust to slower pace under split government

Nearly a year into divided government in Wisconsin, many lobbyists and Capitol observers say they’ve adjusted to the new reality: things are moving slower and less is getting done. 

After a decade of one-party control of the state Legislature and governor’s office, a new Democratic face in the East Wing — coupled with Republicans holding onto their legislative majorities — has brought a change of pace to the state and its legislative process

Split government isn’t unusual in Wisconsin. Before the 2009-10 session when former Gov. Jim Doyle had Democratic majorities in both houses, the state was mostly governed under divided control since at least the late 1980s. Still, lobbyists largely agree the current state of affairs differs from recent history...



Ken Notes: Split government should not slow things down it should cause compromise -- It is not working out that way. Both sides are waiting for yet another election cycle to change the numbers. We have become too polarized in Wisconsin not to mention Nationally.

The problem with this is that we are actually in a position to do great things. Renewable energy is now cheaper that coal, we could work with China who is leading the charge to electric vehicles for everyone, we have the opportunity to become energy independent, we can affordably clean up much of environment, we can build new affordable energy efficient housing, we can improve our dairy, and farming industries, and so much more.

All this is right in front of us and yet we find things to keep us apart -- fighting and pointing fingers...

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Boyceville farm wins Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award

Boyceville’s Jeff and Kelly Lake have been been selected as the recipients of the 2019 Wisconsin Leopold Conservation Award.

Lake Family Farms was revealed as this year’s award winner at the Nov. 7 meeting of the Board of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in Madison. The Lakes will be presented with $10,000 and a crystal award at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on Dec. 8.

“There’s a lot of good farmers out there doing a lot of good things and to be up in the ranks, that’s quite the honor,” Jeff Lake said in September when he was announced as a finalist.


Ken Notes: Good read...

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Miltrim Farms Inc. becomes first farm in North America to achieve water stewardship certification
River Alliance of Wisconsin and The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) North America announced today that Miltrim Farms, Inc.—a large dairy farm in Marathon County—is the first farm in the nation to certify their on-site water stewardship practices using the International Water Stewardship Standard (“AWS Standard”). The AWS Standard has already been adopted by major industry players, including MillerCoors, but it had not previously been applied to individual farming operations in North America until now.

River Alliance of Wisconsin’s innovative Clear Water Farms program guides agricultural production and processing facilities through the AWS Standard implementation and certification process, which concludes with a third-party audit to assess conformity. Through this effort, AWS and River Alliance of Wisconsin will develop a replicable approach for farms to reduce the amount of time and associated costs it takes to become certified on the AWS Standard.

Agricultural producers and processors, like other businesses, benefit from Clear Water Farms participation and AWS certification by gaining assurance that their operations meet all relevant regulatory standards.


Ken Notes: We can have farms and water quality but it takes a cooperative effort to get it done and done right.

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Wisconsin launches task force to study threat of climate crisis on state’s population and economy

Governor Tony Evers is launching a taskforce to brainstorm ways to cut climate pollution, despite inevitable pushback from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

The Democratic governor has vowed Wisconsin will meet the goals of the international Paris climate agreement, even as Donald Trump aims to leave the pact and has discounted climate science, rescinded pollution efforts and promoted fossil fuels.

The executive order Governor Evers signed on October 17 establishing the task force calls the climate crisis “a grave threat to the health, safety and economic wellbeing of people and communities throughout the state of Wisconsin.”

Governor Evers is one of two dozen governors in the Climate Alliance, whose members have pledged to reduce their states’ heat-trapping pollution at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. Wisconsin is also trying to use only carbon-free electricity by 2050, even though it currently gets about half its power from coal. Eliminating Wisconsin’s climate footprint would require transformative changes to its electrical, transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors...


Ken Notes: A good idea but I urge the governor to bring all manufacturing business into the tent they can help address issues like affordability and cost benefit analyses.

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Alliant to build 1 gigawatt of solar generation in Wisconsin; 10 times state`s current generation

Alliant Energy announced plans Thursday to build up to 1,000 megawatts of solar power by the end of 2023 as part of a transition to clean energy sources.

That’s nearly 10 times the state’s current solar-generation capacity and would more than double the amount expected to come online within the next couple of years in large-scale solar farms now undergoing the permitting process or under construction.

If built, it would generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of about 250,000 typical Wisconsin households.

See Also:

Wisconsin Hopes to Expand Solar Capacity 10 Times by 2023


Ken Notes: See...

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Parisi, Lunney recognized for conservation, environmental efforts

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Former Dane County Parks Commission Chair Bill Lunney received statewide recognition for their longstanding conservation efforts and environmental stewardship at last night’s annual Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association (WPRA) Awards Program. During the ceremony, Parisi was honored with WPRA’s 2019 Elected Official Award, and Lunney received WPRA’s 2019 Fellowship Award...


Ken Notes: They are doing some nice work and have purchased some great property...

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Trump promised Wisconsin`s farmers his trade wars would pay off. They`re still waiting

BLOOMER, Wis. — Marc Boettcher’s day started before dawn, when he fired up the hammer mill that ground up corn for a mixture he fed to the steers in his barn.

There was an empty room where he used to milk dairy cows until he sold them a couple of years back, but on a cold morning this summer, much of the barn was full of cattle — curious, anxious, and endearingly weird — who jostled one another to get a look at him. One left him a gift of manure in the drinking trough. Another managed to climb into the manger and stayed there, blinking, like that was the perfect spot...


Ken Notes: We have countries like China begging for protein and yet we can not get milk prices high enough to sustain small farms. This is wrong. Make the trade wars about buying our dairy an recyclables in exchange for a market for your electronics and other consumer goods...

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Sauk County conservationist featured on “Wisconsin Life”

Sauk County conservationist Serge Koenig is featured in an all-new episode of “Wisconsin Life,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 31 on Wisconsin Public Television, WPT. Koenig has all the training and scientific knowledge to tackle the challenges of improving Sauk County’s water and soil, but knows that without getting citizens to buy in, it won’t make any difference. He has been able to make the case to many agricultural producers to adapt better environmental practices like rotational grazing.


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Dairyland Power Cooperative

Our commitment to preserving the quality of our environment is not just a program at Dairyland. It reflects a deeply held view that good environmental practices reflect sound operations and contribute to the overall economic and social health of the communities we serve.


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How Going Green Can Save Your Hospital Millions

Oh, and help protect the environment in the process

When Stephanie M. Barman, RN, saw how much waste a single procedure in the OR generated, she knew something needed to be done.

“One procedure created an entire case cart of trash,” said Ms. Barman, a nurse coordinator for high-risk OB/GYN surgeries at UnityPoint Health–Meriter in Madison, Wis.

Producing large quantities of waste is hardly unusual for hospitals. One analysis published in 2010 estimated that hospitals in the United States create just under 34 pounds of waste per staffed bed per day, which translates to approximately 11.5 billion pounds of trash each year. The OR generates a substantial portion of that waste, with estimates as high as one-third of a hospital’s total...

Ken Notes:Share this with your local hospital administrators! What a great read and great idea.

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DNR report: Wisconsin air quality improving

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin environmental officials say the state’s air quality is improving.

According to the state Department of Natural Resources’ 2019 Air Quality Trends Report, concentrations of most pollutants are continuing to decrease across the state.

Overall fine particle concentrations have dropped 35% statewide since 2002. Emissions of ozone-forming pollutants such as nitrogen oxides have decreased 50% and sulfur dioxide emissions have dropped 68% over that span since the early 2000s.

About 94% of Wisconsin’s population lives in areas that now meet all federal air quality standards...


Ken Notes: This is good and will continue to improve. We do need to allow new companies with cleaner standards and practices to return to the industrial areas that are along the lake even though these areas continue to have challenges. If we can create industrial renewal we can prevent these companies from sprawling into new areas.

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Quicfrez site cleanup report is in: Cost is more than $1 million

FOND DU LAC - Efforts to clean up a contaminated property — known as the former Quicfrez site, along the east branch of the Fond du Lac River — will cost more than $1 million.

A remedial action report developed by OMNNI Associates out of Appleton, under contract with the Department of Natural Resources, recommends removal of contaminated materials — soil, groundwater, sediment, gravel, boulders, sheet piling — to approximately 8 feet below ground surface on the 6-acre parcel.

High concentrations of diesel fuel, other petroleum-based products and heavy metals like lead, arsenic and chromium contaminated the property on which refrigerator manufacturing and storage took place for decades, beginning in 1916. The DNR said the chemicals seeped 40 to 50 feet underground and into the groundwater....


Ken Notes: Cleanup is difficult and expensive but in most cases needs to be done. Again an opportunity for bipartisan legislative support to seek cost effective solutions with measurable outcomes. I would go one step further, tie some of the profits for the companies doing the work to a successful out come.

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More than 2 dozen groups urge lawmakers to act on PFAS contamination

On a day dedicated to appreciating clean water, more than two dozen environmental and social justice organizations called on Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate a group of hazardous chemicals that have been found in drinking water across the state, including Madison’s.

The coalition is pushing for adoption of a bill known as the CLEAR Act, which would require the Department of Natural Resources to establish and enforce standards for at least six fluorinated compounds in water, air and land, known collectively as PFAS.


Ken Notes: I agree but I remain worried that we can get ahead of the curve on this issues and find problems without solutions or funding...

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For the first time in decades, EPA is overhauling how communities must test for lead in water

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued a long-awaited proposal aimed at improving how communities around the nation test for lead in drinking water and forcing quicker action when problems arise.

The overhaul comes nearly three decades after the federal government last updated its lead and copper rule — a regulation that has been criticized as complicated, poorly enforced and not tough enough when it comes to protecting Americans from a toxic metal that scientists say is unsafe at any level.

The EPA’s revamped rule, which has been in the works since 2010, is meant to provide what the agency called a “proactive and holistic approach” to more reliably identify elevated lead levels across 68,000 public water systems and to force utilities to tackle problems faster...


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PFAS: Why the hysteria?

Consider this: as recently as a year ago, the term “PFAS” was relatively unknown to many lawyers, engineers and other environmental professionals. So, what is PFAS? PFAS is the acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a family of more than 5,000 man-made chemicals. Based on their persistence in the environment, PFAS are often referred to as forever chemicals. Few recent environmental issues have caught the attention of industry, regulators, environmental professionals and the media like PFAS. In fact, some have even questioned whether the frenzy to address PFAS impacts is outpacing the toxicological understanding of these substances.

Why the hysteria?

The following are seven reasons, as well as many points of reference, that help explain the current PFAS landscape in the U.S.:

1. PFAS are still new...

2. PFAS contamination is alarming...

3. PFAS are already in our blood...

4. PFAS are functioning as designed...

5. The federal government is not leading...

6. PFAS litigation has produced breathtaking settlements...

7. No easy solution for PFAS contamination...

What the future holds...


Ken Notes: Must read, share and bookmark this one! Outlines the problem succinctly. Remember we may be identifying the problem before we have cost effective solutions...

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When asked as a kid, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I intuited there were only two possible answers: Get rich or help people. It was assumed you couldn`t do both. Fast-forward four decades to last fall when my daughter started college. As she weighed her career options in earnest, I heard myself asking her, "How important to you is making money?"

The rise in socially conscious companies?—?particularly benefit corporations and Certified B Corporations, or B Corps?—?has me hoping we`ve evolved. 

Benefit corporations, legal in Wisconsin since 2018, are essentially for-profit businesses with do-good missions baked into their bylaws. B Corps, which predate the legislation, are different. They undergo a rigorous, third-party certification process?—?think organic or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known as LEED?—?that`s open to all types of businesses. And while certified B Corps require a bigger time investment and annual fee, the return on investment may be worth the altruistic branding alone...


Ken Notes: Good read!

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McMahon Group
McMAHON provides full-service engineering and architectural services to public and private-sector clients. We are driven by a service-oriented philosophy to achieve client satisfaction on every project.

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Bill to Criminalize Environmental Protests in Wisconsin Heads to the Assembly Floor

The Wisconsin State Assembly will convene for the first time this fall today to consider a bill backed by the oil industry and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that would impose harsh criminal penalties on protesters who trespass on or damage any property owned by energy and water companies.

Dubbed the "The Worker Safety and Energy Security Act," AB 426 passed unanimously out of committee on October 2. The Senate version of the bill, SB 386, is still pending in committee.

The bill would expand a law passed in 2015 that made it a felony to trespass on or damage property owned, operated, or leased by an electrical or gas company  to cover water, oil, petroleum, and renewable fuel companies` properties, as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) first reported....


Ken Notes: I have read the actual bill and really have some issues but language protecting free speech is included. The test will be in the interpretation by the courts. Of course the governor could just veto it...

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Anti-Protest Bill Heads to Wisconsin Gov. Evers

The Wisconsin State Senate passed a bill aimed at criminalizing environmental protests by a voice vote yesterday, and it now heads to Gov. Tony Evers`s (D) desk to sign or veto.

Dubbed "The Worker Safety and Energy Security Act" (AB 426) to garner labor support, the bill would expand a 2015 law to make trespassing on or damaging any energy or water company property a felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

AB 426 was inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)`s "Critical Infrastructure Protection Act"and was carefully pushed through the legislature with the help of lobbyists from the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade association for the oil and gas industry...


Ken Notes: Read the actual bill, then let the governor know how you feel. I think the state legislature should have aligned with the federal recommendation, they chose to go farther...

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Foxconn Smart Cities – Smart Futures competition continues
MILWAUKEE — Earlier this year, Foxconn launched the Year Two Smart Cities–Smart Futures competition, in which individuals and teams representing higher education in Wisconsin compete for financial awards, technical support and in-kind contributions.

Foxconn says ideas submitted for the competition will help improve and enhance living and working environments, manufacturing facilities and processes, promote attractive streetscapes, transportation network and living spaces, and encourage sustainability.

This past week, Foxconn announced it has narrowed the list of finalists down to 25, although the company did not publicly release the identity of the finalists...


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As Utilities Cut Carbon Emissions, Some Transitioning Faster To Renewables

Technology, Regulatory Uncertainty and Investments Play A Role

Major utilities serving Wisconsin are moving forward with plans to increase solar and wind projects as they’ve set goals to drastically reduce carbon emissions over the next several decades. But some are making the transition to renewable energy faster than others.

Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy was the first major utility to announce its commitment to transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050. Madison-based Alliant Energy and Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group, which owns We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, have both pledged to cut carbon emissions 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.

The transition to renewable energy is being driven by declining costs, customer and investor demand and anticipated policy changes on carbon emissions.


Ken Notes: Must read! We need to help facilitate this change by working together with power companies to decommission their coal operations and bring more renewables online...

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Residents Weigh In On Proposed Transmission Line In Northern Wisconsin

Community Favors Building Along Existing Route Across Bayfield Peninsula

Community members on the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin are urging the state Public Service Commission to approve a proposed transmission line that follows the existing utility corridor. The remarks were part of a public hearing in Washburn on Tuesday evening over plans for a 34.5 kilovolt transmission line.

Northern State Power Co., a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, submitted an application earlier this year to build the transmission line and two new substations. Utility company officials said the project is needed to strengthen power and reliability of service to communities in the area.


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Supporters of pipeline trespassing bill say it protects lawful protest, despite concerns by environmental groups

Lawmakers behind bipartisan legislation designed to protect critical infrastructure and utility workers say the bill also guards the right to protest, despite concerns raised by more than 20 environmental groups.

The bill would expand existing protections already granted in state law to electric utility companies to also include gas or oil companies and their pipelines, water utilities and other energy generation, storage and transportation systems...

See also:

Pipeline protest bill opponents hope for veto


Ken Notes: The bill has language protecting the right to protest but also has language that would restrict where and how one can protest. Why don`t we just align our bill with the federal recommendations?

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`There`s No More Later Left`: Wisconsin Launches Climate Change Task Force

Gov. Tony Evers` administration has been promoting action on climate change since his inauguration day in January. In Milwaukee Thursday, Evers took a step toward tangible action.

He announced the creation of a task force charged with coming up with recommendations to combat climate change...


Ken Notes: This is a great idea, I just want to remind every one that to really move the ball down the field we need to have the business and energy sectors firmly on the team. When we are not working together companies are looking for other places to work...

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Wisconsin affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council

WGBA has combined forces with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and together we will pilot a new model for USGBC chapters and local market engagement...


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Wisconsin Environmental Groups Voice Concerns Over Federal Review Of Cardinal-Hickory Creek Line

US Fish And Wildlife Service, Rural Utilities Service Take Public Comment On Impact Of Proposed New Power Line

Federal officials are recommending approval for a plan to allow a new high-power transmission line to cross the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. But some environmental groups in the state worry the plans don’t do enough to protect natural resources.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its draft compatibility determination last week. The plan would allow the creation of a new right-of-way through the refuge for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project, a proposed transmission line between Madison and Dubuque, Iowa.

The new right-of-way would follow an existing gravel road and railroad through the refuge and cross the Mississippi River near Cassville, Wisconsin. The utility companies would also restore habitat in an existing utility right-of-way...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service also published a draft of their final environmental impact statement for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project. Both agencies are taking public comment on the drafts until Tuesday, Nov. 26....


Ken Notes: Since they are using road and rail routes, I suggest a hiking or bike trail along the route as well. This could be used to bridge the gap between environmental and energy interests. This is beautiful country. I hope we can attract tourists to the region...

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New Great Lakes cleanup plan proposed
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will guide federal government actions and grants for the next five years.

The 30-page action plan outlines five focus areas: toxic substances, invasive species, non-point pollution, habitat improvement, and foundations for future restoration projects.

“The Trump Administration is taking action to improve water quality while boosting local economies across the country,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “More than $2.4 billion from the GLRI has funded over 4,000 restoration projects. The GLRI Action Plan III and the grant funding we are announcing today will continue to accelerate this great work to the benefit of millions of Americans living in and visiting the region.”...   ...more

Ken Notes: This also will require a great deal of funding and that may be in shot supply.

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Wisconsin DNR survey detects PFAS contamination in creeks, rivers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin environmental officials say chemicals known as PFAS have contaminated creeks in Dane and Monroe counties as well as portions of the Mississippi, Wisconsin and Menominee rivers.

The Department of Natural Resources sampled the five water bodies this summer because they’re near known or suspected PFAS contamination sites such as military bases.

The department said Monday that the first round of test results show elevated levels of contamination in Starkweather Creek in Dane County and Silver and Suukjak Sep Creek in Monroe County. The department found lower levels of contamination in the Mississippi between Minneapolis and La Crosse, the Wisconsin River between Rhinelander and Nekoosa and the Menominee near Marinette.

PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made chemicals used in a variety of non-stick products such as fire-fighting foam...


Ken Notes: While we have clearly identified the ability to find PFAS I have not see a lot on cost effective solutions to deal with them. I am worried that the "solution" may be worse that the problem...

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Proposed Lafayette County resolution threatens to prosecute media outlets that do not print news releases verbatim

A land conservation committee in a southwest Wisconsin county is set to vote on a resolution Tuesday that threatens to prosecute media outlets that do not publish in full a news release about water contamination.

The provision is one of several in the Lafayette County resolution that also makes reference to leaks, false information and slander after a series of tests found high percentages of wells in southwest Wisconsin contained fecal matter from humans or livestock....


Ken Notes: This will not fly, but those media outlets do sell space by the inch.

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In Chicago and across the Midwest, Trump’s EPA inspecting polluters less, cutting staff

The number of people working in the federal environmental agency’s Chicago region has hit an all-time low. So has the number of inspections — down 60% since the president took office...


Ken Notes: Interesting story, but I will bet that there is another side to it. Our environment should not be a political football it should be an issue we work on together.

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UW scientists map areas of historic lead, zinc contamination
The first year Kurt Menke planted soybeans in a 22-acre field at the edge of town, he noticed something odd: His crop came up healthy but then part of it in one particular area later died.

Menke’s mother brought the failure to the attention of Chris Baxter, a soil scientist at UW-Platteville. Baxter’s subsequent testing suggested zinc was present in the soil at an astonishingly high concentration. Instead of the 10 to 300 parts per million that would be considered normal, Menke’s soi had closer to 15,000 parts per million. That meant zinc made up 1.5 percent of the soil...


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Miron Construction

Miron Construction News Search

Miron specializes in providing innovative pre-construction, construction management, design-build, general construction and industrial services.

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Tony Evers puts Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary proposal back on table

MANITOWOC - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced his support and petition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to renew the Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary proposal Friday during a press conference at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. 

"The Great Lakes were part of my life growing up in this part of the state," Evers said. "All across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes play a critical role not only in history but in the environmental health and economic vibrancy of our state for future generations."...


Ken Notes: Could be great for tourism...

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Reengineering Infrastructure For A Wetter Wisconsin

A Conversation With Daniel Wright About Anticipating Future Floods In A More Extreme Climate

Flooding throughout the Midwest, including Wisconsin, is dangerous, costly and becoming a more frequent occurrence. Over the last few years, bridges and roads have washed away during flash floods in the northern part of the state, and in places like Madison, floodwaters took weeks to recede after heavy rainstorms in 2018. But how can engineers tackle the problem in order to prevent this kind of infrastructure damage in the future?...


Ken Notes: Interesting. I wnder if we could put pumped storage electric generation on the table at the same time. This is a system that use water to generate electricity when solar and wind can not meat demand. When solar and wind outpace demand water is pumped back into the storage facility...

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UW to sign environmental Resilience Commitment

Climate Action Plan to mitigate issues caused by climate change.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced that the University of Wisconsin would be signing the Resilience Commitment administered by Massachusetts-based nonprofit, Second Nature, at the Climate Fast Forward Conference last Friday.

UW Director of Sustainability Missy Nergard, said Second Nature has three commitments: a climate commitment, a carbon commitment and the resilience commitment. Nergard said the resilience commitment focuses on creating long term solutions to the problems caused by climate change...


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Wisconsin DNR yet to hire two new science positions funded in state budget

The state Department of Natural Resources is still awaiting approval to fill two new science positions, jobs that were part of Gov. Tony Evers` repeated calls to "bring science back" to the agency.

But a DNR spokeswoman said she anticipates the positions will begin recruitment within a month — though the earliest the new hires could start is January 2020, or six months after the jobs were approved in the state budget. 

Evers signed the biennial spending plan, which included the posts, into law in early July. The governor originally requested five positions in all, as well as the creation of a new Natural Resources Science Bureau, which would be housed in DNR...


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DNR responds to ‘foam event’ on Starkweather Creek
The Department of Natural Resources on Thursday responded to what they described as “a foam event” on Starkweather Creek.

A DNR staff person had observed foam along the creek on Wednesday near the docks at the Olbrich boat launch.

The DNR has hired contractors to contain the foam and sample it for any PFAS contamination. Results will be posted to the DNR’s PFAS webpage when available.

Foam frequently collects on the surface of rivers and lakes due to the buildup of organic compounds from decaying plant or algal material, where wind and waves push them to the shore. This foam may or may not contain PFAS...


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Alliant Announces Plan for 1 GW of Solar in Wisconsin

Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy has announced a plan to add 1 GW of solar power generation to its portfolio by 2023. The company on Oct. 31 in its “Powering What’s Next Plan” said it would begin construction of its first “Community Solar” site in Fond du Lac County next year.

David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy-Wisconsin, in a statement said: “By building new solar energy resources, we are contributing to a brighter future for our customers and the communities we serve. We look forward to working with our employees and labor partners in the construction, operation and maintenance of our new clean energy investments.”

The utility said, “changing economics, customer sustainability goals and better renewable technology are driving the acceleration” of its solar power buildout....


Ken Notes: Old news great new quotes...

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Senior Tiffany Clark digs Badgers volleyball but also passionate about the environment

Climate change deniers and environmental scofflaws be forewarned, Tiffany Clark is coming after you. And she plans to do so with the same ferocity she brings to hunting down digs for the University of Wisconsin volleyball team.

Clark’s immediate priority is to help the No. 7 Badgers (17-5, 13-1 Big Ten) realize their lofty aspirations this season, beginning with Thursday night’s showdown with No. 5 Minnesota (19-3, 13-1) in a battle for first place in the conference.


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Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council

WI Sustainable Business Council Search


The WI Sustainable Business Council is a network of Wisconsin businesses and organizations that are interested in, or actively responding to, the challenge of sustainability.

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How To Smell A CAFO

The Science Of Odor And Its Role In Wisconsin`s Rules For Large Livestock Farms

Russ Hanson is determined to live a better retirement than his in-laws did. For him that means steering clear of the odors that can accompany large livestock farms.

Hanson has lived most of his adult life in rural southeast Minnesota, but he recently retired to the family farmland of his childhood, straddling Burnett and Polk counties in northwest Wisconsin. The region has changed in the decades since Hanson`s youth, though; in 2019, his neighbors are more likely to be fellow retirees or part-timers attracted to the counties` lakes than working farmers.


Ken Notes: 26,000 hogs, what could go wrong????

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What Is Wisconsin`s `Right-To-Farm` Law And Who Does It Protect?

The Origins Of And Debate Surrounding A Law That Shields Farms From Nuisance Claims In Court

Daily life for many Wisconsinites is permeated with the sights, sounds and smells of agriculture. But as a growing number of livestock farms in Wisconsin expand to massive sizes, sometimes housing thousands of animals in relatively close quarters, the sensations these farms arouse among their neighbors can lead to intense personal conflicts.

Rarely, however, do these impassioned disputes result in legal action. That`s in part thanks to a state statute that explicitly protects agricultural operators from all but the most serious nuisance lawsuits brought by neighbors. This statute is known as Wisconsin`s "right-to-farm" law. Proponents say the law provides necessary protection to all farmers against frivolous lawsuits. Critics, meanwhile, say the law`s scope is overly expansive and can discourage legitimate nuisance claims....


Ken Notes: Interesting read... My observation is that at one or two THOUSAND cows or piga it is no longer a farm but becomes a factory.

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Members named to Taskforce on Climate and Economic Equity

Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde and City of Milwaukee Alderman Nik Kovac have announced the members of the Milwaukee City-County Joint Taskforce on Climate and Economic Equity and scheduled the group’s first meeting for Monday.

Taskforce members include August Ball of Cream City Conservation, Pam Fendt of Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Julie Kersick of Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Ted Kraig of Wisconsin Climate Table, Ayanna Lee of Milwaukee Youth Council, George Martin of NAACP Milwaukee Chapter, Barbara Richards of Sierra Club Wisconsin, Pamela Ritger of Clean Wisconsin, Erick Shambarger of the City of Milwaukee Environmental Collaboration Office, Rafael Smith of Citizen Action of Wisconsin and environmental lawyer Janet Meissner Pritchard. Kovac and Moore Omokunde will co-chair the taskforce.

The meeting on Monday will take place in room 301-B of the Milwaukee City Hall at 2 p.m. The meeting is open to the public...


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Ken`s Electric Automotive Stories

Move Over Tesla, Ford Unveils New All-Electric Mustang SUV


Ken Notes: you had me at Mustang... Hyundai Not available in Wisconsin!!

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Battle over proposed Wisconsin gas plant shows shift in climate fight

On a cold, rainy day in early October, five young activists calling themselves “Friends of the Climate” held a news conference outside Minnesota Power`s Duluth headquarters to voice their opposition to the Nemadji Trail Energy Center, a $700 million natural gas plant proposed to be built in neighboring Superior, Wis.

"It is my future, my generation’s future at stake here," shouted 16-year old Izzy Laderman, a student at Duluth East High School. "It makes no sense to me why they want to add another plant, except that the people in charge are so stuck in the toxic tradition of fossil fuels.”


Ken Notes: We can not have a 100% renewable system yet because we do not have the storage capacity to address peak and production issues. I suggest an "earn a gas plant" model where a company can build a gas co-gen facility if they also remove coal production and use solar and wind. Also using bio gas may be win win...

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Tesla News: Model 3 Becomes First Electric Car Approved For New York City Taxis
...Electric cars — Teslas in particular — are becoming increasingly accepted as taxi cabs in American cities. The latest news comes after Madison, Wisconsin, added 20 Tesla Model 3 cars to its all-electric fleet of taxis, in conjunction with a company known as Zerology. Madison launched an all-hybrid fleet of cabs roughly 10 years ago...   ...more

Ken Notes: cool!!!

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Some of our links... Many more at WDNGreen.com
Links we like supporting Wisconsin`s Environment and Business. More will follow each week...

USGBC Wisconsin
Focus on

The Water Council

WI Sustainable Business Council

Sustain Dane

Midwest Energy

Focus on Energy

Renew Wisconsin

Clean Wisconsin


Search News
Natural Heritage
Land Trust

University of Wisconsin Sustainable Management

USGBC Wisconsin

Ken Notes: Share this and if you want to be included:
Call us - 608.334.2174 or Editor [at] WDNGreen.com....

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EPA Proposes To Relax Requirements On 2015 Coal Ash Rule

Changes Would Allow Additional Time For Utilities To Meet Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to relax rules on power plants related to coal ash storage and wastewater discharge. The waste from burning coal contains heavy metals that could impact public health and the environment.

The proposed revisions roll back Obama-era requirements from 2015. Ash ponds that were seeping contaminants into groundwater would have had to close by April 2019. Now, utilities have until Aug. 31, 2020, to retrofit or close unlined ash ponds. In addition, some facilities would be able to obtain extensions ranging from three months to eight years for those shutting down coal-fired boilers...


Ken Notes: I strongly support the extensions for plants that have shut down. We need to work with bug energy as the shift to renewable power...

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Bipartisan bill seeks legalization of medical marijuana

Co-introduced by two Democrats, one Republican, this is first bipartisan bill since 2001

A bipartisan medical cannabis bill was introduced to the Wisconsin legislature on Sept. 20 by Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison and Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point.

According to Testin, the bill would introduce a regulated process on both the patients’ end and production end. The bill requires a recommendation from the doctor as well as a registry system for said patients. On the production end, a licensing system would be put into place for growers, producers and sellers...


Ken Notes: Leadership says this is DOA, but think of all the money that will leave the state after January 1st when anyone can cross the border and buy marijuana for ANY reason in Illinois. And Michigan will have there ducks in a row by March or April...

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Wind energy developers eyeing southern Eau Claire County
An energy development company has taken the first steps toward potentially building a wind farm valued at more than $200 million in southern Eau Claire County.

The company, RWE Renewables Americas, is exploring the possibility of pursuing the massive project with 40 to 70 wind turbines on about 20,000 acres of farmland in the towns of Clear Creek and Pleasant Valley, said Eric Crawford, wind development manager for the company.

Representatives of RWE Renewables, a subsidiary of Essen, Germany-based RWE AG, already have met with county officials and residents of the proposed site to discuss preliminary details of the proposal and potential compensation.

On top of lease payments to landowners who agree to allow the company to place the 500-foot-tall turbines on their property, RWE projects it would make payments totaling about $26 million to Eau Claire County and the two towns over the 30-year life of the project, Crawford said. Plans call for 60 percent of that money to go to the county and 40 percent to the towns....


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Wisconsin and National Links for GREEN Resources
We try to include links to help you consider your GREEN economic development options in Wisconsin. Businesses feel free to send us your information here.   ...more

Ken Notes: Feel free to include this link and logo on your website. Our Tools and Resources are always a click away. Also a new easy to use address:


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ABOUT - Wisconsin Development GREEN News
Ten thousand of environmentally minded business professionals, 500+ News outlets and reporters, and even a treehugger or two now read WDNGreen each week. Thank you!
Please share WDNGreen with a friend...   WDNGreen Network of Links... or Search WDNGreen...

Ken Harwood
Advocating for Wisconsin
Editor [at]  KenHarwood.com


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Ideas for Consideration - Please forward, share and discuss!

An agenda for the new administration...

An overriding principal - Restore Wisconsin to the bipartisan national environmental leadership it once enjoyed...

  • Building and Design

    • Work with developers, architects, communities, and business to ensure the highest and most cost effective Green building practices are used in new development.
    • Expedite projects who guarantee the best environmental practices and make sure the systems are in place to ensure this. Trust but Verify.
    • Avoid costly mandates and restrictions that will move businesses to other states or regions.
  • Mining

    • Explore the restoration of the sulfide mining moratorium or...
    • Work with counties to create and enforce new mining regulations, restrictions and enforcement.
    • Delay approval of any new mines until counties have their regulation policies in place.
    • Restore DNR environmental staff and expertise to levels that can review any requests in a timely manner.
    • Require a site reclamation fund be established from the onset of any approved project with a plan in place for complete site reclamation.
    • Allow municipalities to enact special utilities in lieu of or in addition to regular taxes for issues like impact on roads, utilities, infrastructure, and public safety.
  • Renewable Energy and Fuels

    • Work with the utilities, business and communities to encourage the use of renewables, reduced carbon output, and better reporting and measurement.
    • Establish a PSC willing to work with business and power companies while progressing to a lower carbon renewable future.
    • Do not impose legislative mandates on renewables but rather incentivize use of new technologies while maintaining an open dialogue among all parties involved.
  • Our Watersheds and the Great Lakes

    • Become a strong partner in Great Lakes–St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact.
    • If water is removed from the watershed, require that it be returned cleaner that it was taken. Again make sure DNR has the resources to monitor and ensure this policy.
  • Land Use and Transmission / Pipe Lines

    • Require the need and or profit for new systems to Wisconsin citizens. If a system like tar sand or electricity is for other states or regions, require that the land uses benefits all citizens in our state in lower utility costs, additions public facilities and reduced air and water pollution.
    • Require that any new system create an environmental offset equal to or greater than the land they take. This can be done in two ways: One additional Parks, Public Lands, Trails, Access to Waterways, Etc. OR Two reduced carbon emissions through the elimination or older less efficient production facilities or the conversion to renewable or exponentially lower emission fuels.
  • CAFO`s and Agricultural Issues

    • Address and regulate CAFO`s like the "cities" that they are.
    • Develop regulations and controls to address the scale of effluent that these facilities produce.
    • Consider using CAFO`s as a model for new waste treatment like digestion and pasteurization.
    • Preserve the small farm in Wisconsin by encouraging sound environmental practices in a cost effective way.
    • Work with all farms, businesses, and communities to improve watersheds, runoff and source point pollution focusing on results rather that penalties or mandates.
  • Transit and Mass Transit

    • Improve our transit and shipping corridors like rail and interstate access to encourage Wisconsin to become an efficient  distribution hub for the Midwest.
    • Encourage communities to adopt new and more efficient mass transit systems.
    • Encourage the use of more efficient buses, trucks and vehicles in the state.
  • ECO Tourism

    • Explore ECO Tourism as an option to preserve our vast agricultural heritage and natural waterways and woodlands.
    • Allow ECO TIF financing to pair tourism development with land and watershed preservation.

Ken Notes: Just a few ideas, please feel free to pick and choose then share with those on both sides of the isle that will be making decisions.

We now have an opportunity to grab the pendulum in the middle and make a real long term difference in how we manage our resources and what kind of Wisconsin we leave to our grandchildren!

These are personal viewpoints shaped by your feedback. They are not the positions of my sponsors or partners.

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Coverage of local and national eco news for commercial development, home, transportation, food and community. We search for environmentally friendly news that makes economic sense for Wisconsin. ONLINE HERE. Please share with a friend. To receive WDNews GREEN on Monday of each week as an email you must subscribe - secure link to subscribe is here.

Want to comment, or have an idea: Ideas[at]WisconsinDevelopment.com

We may now need to build a coalition that is willing to lobby from a "greener" yet pro business perspective. Lots of HUGE issues: Sand Mining, CNG, LEED Alternatives, Focus On Energy, LED Lighting R&D, Cleaner Power Generation, Recycling, Power Lines, Electric Cars, Wind, Solar, Bio Fuels, Digestors, Green AG, Business Incentives...And of course the Greenest and Happiest of Holidays to you!

Please consider sponsoring WDNGreen!

WDNews GREEN will be emailed on Mondays, included in WDNews on Thursdays, and online all the time at: WDNGreen.com Each week we will find 10 to 20 articles from Wisconsin and across the Nation dealing with environmental issues. Our goal is to promote environmental excellence from a sound business perspective.

Our resource guide at the bottom of this publication will continue to grow, and you may add links, suggest articles, include your press releases, or comment by eMailing Me. As always thanks for reading, and if you would like to sponsor or get involved call 608.334.2174...   ...more

Ken Notes: Please forward this to friends and colleagues who have an interest in our economy and environment. You may eMail Me Here.

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Development Matters with Ken Harwood
Each week Ken will review economic development, job creation, environmental trends, and social issues in the Wisconsin. He will try to discuss issues from a sound business perspective and he will encourage his guests to do the same. He will offer alternative solutions from experts, pundits, and politicians, and then examine the economic realities behind them.

Ken notes, "The idea is simple, if we can discuss problems and solutions without pointing fingers or calling each other names we may get Wisconsin back on track, because it has damn sure derailed over the years".

Ken brings decades of political experience and journalism to the table and will call on a long list of friends, colleagues, and associates to address ideas, solutions and funding on hundreds of issues facing Wisconsin today.

Listen Live Saturday fron 10AM until Noon
On 92.7 FM Madison or 1510 AM Milwaukee

or online at Talk927FM.com


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