Wisconsin Development News Green - WDNGreen.com

This Weeks Articles...


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Harvard economist: Protecting Boundary Waters will be better for economy than mining

The professor looked at 72 scenarios. In 69 of them it was better not to mine the Superior National Forest.

Opening up Superior National Forest to more mining would harm northern Minnesota`s economy in the long term, according to an economics professor at Harvard University.

Professor James H. Stock and PhD student Jacob Bradt studied the positives and negatives of the U.S. Forest Service`s proposal to withdraw 234,000 acres of federal land in northern Minnesota from consideration for future mining projects.

During a recent visit to Duluth, President Donald Trump said he intends to rescind this protection, opening up the forest to more copper-nickel mining exploration, though said "we will do it carefully."...


Ken Notes: I wonder if anyone has looked at the North 40 mine in this light...

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Wisconsin Communities Search For Road Salt Alternatives

Environmental, Cost Concerns Have Governments Looking At Ways To Limit Salt

Southeastern Wisconsin has seen a mild winter. But it’s only January, and Wisconsin communities are preparing by looking at alternatives to road salt.

While salt has been an effective way to melt ice on roads and sidewalks, as little as one teaspoon permanently pollutes five gallons of water, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

Over the past decade, the communities that make up Milwaukee County used about 18.3 billion teaspoons — or around 320,000 tons of salt. County highway and freeway usage in Milwaukee County contributed to another 380,000 tons of salt being used over the last decade.

That salt goes into ground water, rivers and Lake Michigan, according to the DNR.


Ken Notes: I remember this being an issue when I was a Mayor in 1998, seems we should find something soon...

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Menominee Tribe Loses Appeal On Back Forty Mine Lawsuit

Panel Says Matter Is Left To Michigan And State Court

A federal appeals court panel told a Wisconsin tribe this week it can’t review a decision by two federal agencies that reinforced Michigan’s permitting authority over a proposed mine on the Michigan-Wisconsin border. 

The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers in 2018 after the agencies failed to address the tribe’s concerns that federal review of a wetlands permit for the mine was warranted. 

The tribe alleged the agencies were "arbitrary and capricious" when they declined to exercise authority over the permit for the Back Forty mine. The agencies had delegated that authority to the state of Michigan in 1984.

Toronto-based Aquila Resources sought permits as part of plans to mine gold, zinc and other metals near the Menominee River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The tribe has said the proposed mine threatens the river, burial mounds and other cultural sites that are significant to its members...


Ken Notes: May I once again point out that when we take issues like this to court the winners always are the lawyers. I am not happy about this mine and I hope we can find ways to stop it and there seems to be options to do this. I hope a coalition of those in opposition can be formed to create ideas to challenge this on economic grounds. If tourism in the area were evaluated we may be able to demonstrate a mine is not the best use. Just a thought. They are only suggesting a payroll of under 40K for 240 workers. Considering the millions in profit from the mine very little in economic benefits are headed our way. I`ll bet they spend nearly this much lobbying in Michigan and Wisconsin....

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UW-Green Bay to host ‘The Future of Manure Digesters in Wisconsin,’ Feb. 25
On Feb. 25, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in the Phoenix Rooms in the University Union, there will be a public discussion on the future of manure digesters in Wisconsin. This event is open to the public and lunch is included provided the registration form is completed prior to the event. This will be the second event of a three part series “What is Wisconsin’s Energy Strategy?” looking at renewable energy production in Wisconsin. Questions addressed at this conference will examine what challenges and opportunities are facing increased digester development in Wisconsin and how developers and regulators can plan for the future by optimizing economic, environmental and energy benefits of this technology. UW-Green Bay Dean of Science and Technology John Katers will moderate the event.

This event is sponsored by UW-Green Bay’s Environmental Management and Business Institute (EMBI) and the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership. Event co-sponsors include: UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability & the Global Environment, Wisconsin Energy Institute and the Wisconsin Biogas Council...


Ken Notes: I would love to attend, but I need a sponsor to defray costs. I would schedule a couple of radio show guests and tape them after the event...

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Ken`s Radio show talks to
Milwaukee County Exec Candidates

I had a chance to interview all four candidates for Milwaukee County Exec, Chris Larson, David Crowley, Theodore Lipscomb, and Purnima Nath. Each answered a question on clean water among others.

2-15-20 – Development Matters – Hour 1

Chris Larson, David Crowley, Theodore Lipscomb, and Purnima Nath are all running for the position of Milwaukee County Executive. Listen as host Ken Harwood asks each candidate questions that center on economic development in Milwaukee County and helps to clarify the differences in the candidates on these issues.

2-15-20 – Development Matters – Hour 2

Chris Larson, David Crowley, Theodore Lipscomb, and Purnima Nath are all running for the position of Milwaukee County Executive. Listen as host Ken Harwood asks each candidate questions that center on economic development in Milwaukee County and helps to clarify the differences in the candidates on these issues.

Ken Notes: Special thanks to my engineer Keith Gaustad for seamlessly dealing with some technical difficulties in the first segment...

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Wisconsin Ranks First In Environmental Protection Funding Cuts From 2008 To 2018
Wisconsin is the home of its own conservation hall of fame, the home of the founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, and the home of John Muir...

...Wisconsin used to a leader in the field.  But now, it’s a leader in something else.

Between 2008 and 2018, 30 states cut funding for environmental protection agencies, according to a report by the Environmental Integrity Project.  Wisconsin was number one, having cut 36 percent of its budget during that time...


Ken Notes: This is not good, BUT our effort were seen by some as harmful to business development -- and some were. We need to rebuild what we have undone but we need business, the utilities, and others at the table. Wisconsin should again return to a place of environmental prominence with leaders of business standing side by side with leaders from the environmental communities. I talk to both sides every day and I promise there are many ready and willing to get this done. Let`s build a Wisconsin for our grandchildren...

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14 states sue EPA over chemical safety regulations rollback

Attorneys general from 14 states filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its rollback of Obama-era chemical plant safety regulations. 

“The Trump EPA is gutting critical safeguards against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at these facilities, putting New Yorkers in harm’s way," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.  

A rule change finalized by the Trump administration last year eased safety regulations for chemical plants, making it so that they no longer deal with what officials called "unnecessary regulatory burdens."...


Ken Notes: I did mention the lawyer thing right...

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A Conservative Reflects On 25 Years In State Government

Walker Appointee Mike Huebsch Talks About Energy Policy, Act 10

Mike Huebsch, a leader of conservative politics in Wisconsin — who went from Republican lawmaker to political appointee retired from state government this week after 25 years. 

Huebsch of West Salem may not have been a household name since he never held statewide office, but he’s helped shape utility policy in the last five years and was a key player in Act 10, the state law that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public employees and led to massive protests at the state Capitol in 2010. 

Huebsch retires after five years as a Wisconsin Public Service Commissioner appointed by former Gov. Scott Walker. He was also the first administration secretary for Walker, an Assembly speaker and a former state lawmaker from the La Crosse area, first elected in 1994....


Ken Notes: Very interesting read. I believe we need to remove politics from the PSC but I am not sure how to accomplish this, there are actually very few who try and stand in the middle and advocate for compromise.

I was chastised for suggesting we work both sides on the Cardinal-Hickory Creek energy transmission line and now it appears it will get built with little on the environmental side to show for it (except the cost of a protracted legal battle). Now Enbridge is on the table and once again both sides are lined up to do battle, we tend not to learn from our mistakes.

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Kraus-Anderson Construction Company

When Kraus-Anderson began the development process for its new corporate headquarters building in downtown Minneapolis, company leadership determined the guiding principle used throughout the project would be “cost-effective sustainability.” This principle has influenced all decision-making with regard to space planning for customers and employees; building components, systems, and technology; and construction means and methods.  As a result, the building is on track to achieve LEED certification for sustainability....


Ken Notes:KA is leading by example...

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PSC approves 149-megawatt solar farm in Jefferson County

Wisconsin regulators unanimously approved construction Thursday of a 149-megawatt solar farm in Jefferson County to produce energy for Dairyland Power Cooperative.

Ranger Power plans to build and operate the Badger State solar farm on about 1,200 acres in the towns of Oakland and Jefferson, about 25 miles southeast of Madison. La Crosse-based Dairyland has a contract to purchase the power.

Local and state elected officials weighed in to support the project, as did Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which touted the private investment of more than $100 million and the revenue it will bring to local landowners and governments...


Ken Notes: This is good news, now I hope that the utilities can find ways to use rooftop and other developed infrastructure solar onto the grid as well. I would also love to see a utility develop or partner with a developer on natural gas from digestion(Biogas). I know MG&E & Dairyland are working on this and I hope other are as well.

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5 Common Design Questions for Balancing Sustainability and Cost

Architects of today face a common task that defies intuition – how to balance building performance and strict carbon targets against cost. Sustainability in design is certainly a worthy and necessary goal, but the amount of options can be overwhelming and the costs prohibitive, especially in the eyes of owners. How can designers best convince their clients to integrate sustainability into a project? Keeping costs low and backing up decisions with fact-based analysis are solid first steps.

Asking good questions of consultants and software in the early stages of design can generate interesting design prompts that yield beautiful, well-considered architecture that is respectful of the planet. To keep on track, architects need to focus on high impact questions and drive decision making in the data-rich environment of today’s modern practice. Continue reading for a discussion of some of the big picture questions that come up on every project and examples of how best to address them in terms of both efficiency and cost...


Ken Notes:One area to discuss here is "build to lease". Companies leasing are looking for location, signage, and cost. If carbon neutral is too expensive a developer can price themselves out of the market...

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Governor issues proclamation in honor of the Nelson Institute’s 50th anniversary
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute, Governor Tony Evers has issued a proclamation recognizing February 6, 2020 as the birthday, and official 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute.

To commemorate this occasion, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and the Wisconsin Department of Resources Secretary Preston Cole visited the Nelson Institute to present the proclamation and participate in a question and answer session with Nelson Institute students.

During this session, Lieutenant Governor Barnes expressed his gratitude to the Nelson Institute faculty, staff, and students, highlighting the ways in which the Nelson Institute has worked to provide scientifically sound research on environmental challenges for more than five decades..

Ken Notes: Congrats...

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GOP bill would give farm groups more control over Wisconsin livestock siting standards
Republican lawmakers are making a last-minute push to change the rules for siting the state`s largest livestock farms, giving state government more control over the process and granting agriculture groups considerably more power over changing the standards in the future.

Current standards were written into law in 2006 and have remained unchanged ever since. While the new bill wouldn`t initially make major adjustments to current standards, future changes would have to be approved or rejected by a panel of nine stakeholders, five of whom would be chosen from farm groups...

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Ken Notes: You do not need to read between the lines to realize this is designed to allow more CAFO`s and less regulation. We need to create a set of farm standards that take into account the impact of large industrial farms and allow family farms to compete. This is also an economic issue as small farms are not represented by many of the farm groups who are now funded by larger farms. I will once again suggest that digestor systems are now available that will produce a marketable gas product and can be used to heat the effluent to remove the pathogens that are now entering our wells, streams, and waterways...

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EPA rule change removes federal protections from large swath of waters and wetlands

In a move designed to help business interests, the Trump administration on Thursday announced a new rule to reduce federal protections under the Clean Water Act.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule sets a "new, clear definition for waters of the United States” that "protects the nation’s navigable waters from pollution and will result in economic growth across the country," said Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency...


Ken Notes: An example of the pendulum effect I have often written about. In the past there we several areas protected as wetlands that were not wetlands (my favorite example is virtually every storm water retention facility) and this was used by a select few to block projects a community actually wanted. In fact I can think of several projects that agreed to make substantial contributions to sensitive wetlands and were still denied building permits. Now rather than compromise much of this land has been removed from its protected status without any oversight or room for negotiation.

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Plain Talk: Don`t let Trump weaken wetland protections

The thousands of drivers who jam the Madison area`s South Beltline every day are undoubtedly oblivious of why it is that the six-lane highway traverses a nearly mile-long bridge as it passes over Mud Lake Marsh and the Yahara River just south of the city of Monona.

Therein lies a story of how a then relatively new federal law helped save what today is a valued wetland — a law that Donald Trump`s administration, hellbent on eviscerating environmental safeguards, now wants to weaken...


Ken Notes: Great example in Dave`s article but just down the road highway 51 improvements were delayed for years even though the State proposed replacing culverts with a bridge, why because environmental groups argued the bridge was not long enough. I would bet that some would argue that in Dave`s example far too much of the wetlands were destroyed where it was filled it to get to the bridge. We can not legislate these issues away we need a DNR and an EPA that acts in the best interest of the people they represents. Politics on both sides is destroying the very issues Dave advocates for and changing sides will not fix it.

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How One Milwaukee Org Is Boosting Diversity in Environmental Work
Despite the fact that environmental racism means that people of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues—from air pollution to living near highways and interstates—environmental organizations remain overwhelmingly white, comprising 88 percent of staff and 95 percent of boards of environmental organizations. In Milwaukee, Cream City Conservation is changing that by running workshops and trainings with environmental groups and organizations who want to boost equity within their organizations and, by extension, the work that they do in order to reach as many people as possible in their work....


Ken Notes: Interesting, I work with the Toward One Wisconsin 2020 Conference on April 28-29, 2020 in Green Bay where we will bring together individuals and organizations from multiple sectors across Wisconsin to address the most persistent barriers to inclusion, what is working, and what is promising on the horizon.

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SCS Engineers

SCS Engineers Search

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

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14 states sue EPA over chemical safety regulations rollback

Attorneys general from 14 states filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its rollback of Obama-era chemical plant safety regulations. 

“The Trump EPA is gutting critical safeguards against explosions, fires, poisonous gas releases, and other accidents at these facilities, putting New Yorkers in harm’s way," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.  

A rule change finalized by the Trump administration last year eased safety regulations for chemical plants, making it so that they no longer deal with what officials called "unnecessary regulatory burdens."...



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After the purge

Can Wisconsin’s DNR get its science mojo back?

Walk into any supper club in northern Wisconsin and somewhere there is a walleyed pike. It might be on your plate as a fish fry staple, or it could be someone’s fish of a lifetime, a lunker mounted to swim in perpetuity above the bar.

The walleye has always been an emblem of the North Woods. No lakeside cottage is complete without vintage photos of happy anglers hoisting sagging stringers of one of Wisconsin’s most sought-after game fish. Today, the species remains high on the list of the nearly 1 million recreational anglers who ply Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers, and who spend billions annually on licenses, tackle, bait, guides, and food and lodging in their pursuit of Wisconsin game fish. Good fishing helps draw hundreds of thousands of out-of-state visitors and supports an estimated 21,500 jobs, many of them in northern Wisconsin, which boasts one of the world’s greatest concentrations of freshwater lakes. The fish also remains a traditional staple of the Ojibwe, who spear fish on 175 lakes in what is known as Wisconsin’s ceded territory, roughly the northern third of the state.

Today, walleye are in trouble. A cool water fish..

Ken Notes: Interesting read. I hope that DNR can return to the position it was once in with one exception, the DNR should be willing to work with businesses abd communities to find solutions that solve problems and are economically viable. This is a balance that the current political climate can not seem to find. If fact I am not sure they are even looking.

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Enbridge begins permitting for Line 5 in northern Wisconsin
Company says it`s filing applications with regulators to reroute oil pipeline.

Canadian energy firm Enbridge Inc. announced Friday that it’s beginning the permitting process to reroute its Line 5 pipeline in northern Wisconsin. The line carries up to 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids per day from Superior to Sarnia, Ontario.

Enbridge has been exploring alternative routes for Line 5 since the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa filed a lawsuit against the company aimed at shutting down and removing the pipeline from the tribe`s reservation...


Minnesota Utility Regulators Approve Updated Line 3 Environmental Review, Certificate Of Need


Ken Notes: I will follow this... Remember you can post this to Facebook or LinkedIn and add your thoughts using the Share This tag below, remember if you say nothing - nothing is on the table. Several useful links in the Line % reroute article...

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Are Bus Rapid Transit Environmental Benefits Worth the Risks?

Most City of Madison officials have billed the city`s upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as an important method to increase city-wide sustainability. However, variables such as ridership, implementation, and cohesiveness with other city systems have the potential to create negative environmental externalities if the project is not executed properly.

“As long as this project is done responsibly and in line with current environmental protections, I think we can be confident [that Bus Rapid Transit] will be an added benefit to the Madison area,” said Jonathan Drewsen, communications director for Clean Wisconsin, the state’s oldest and largest environmental advocacy organization...


Ken Notes: I have been a fan of BRT for a long time and suggested consideration when East Washington and the University Drive corridors were upgraded (I even had a seat at the table as a Member of the Madison Area Transportation Planning Board). Now we must retrofit BRT into existing roads this will be difficult, very difficult. I still like the system, but we need to be careful in the implementation. It also needs to be business and tourist friendly, Montreal would be a great place to visit with a great mix of options...

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Kaul objects to regs that could leave lead in Wisconsin drinking water

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul on Thursday weighed in on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new position on lead line replacements.

The EPA’s proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) would give water utilities up to 33 years to replace lead lines that are problematic. Kaul joined with nine other attorneys general, including AGs from Illinois, Minnesota and Pennsylvania in filing an objection to proposed amendments to the rule.

The original 1991 rule is facing its first major revision. Some proposed changes would strengthen the rule — such as requiring lead service line inventories and making them available to the public — while other changes would significantly weaken requirements...

See Also:

Green Bay Water Utility issues reminder on lead pipes

EPA Page on lead


Ken Notes: There is science and cost to consider here. Lead pipe is bad, but over the years the sediment deposits protect the water from lead contamination. When Flint changed it`s water source the deposits flaked off and the result was a disaster. We need to replace the pipe and some like Madison have, other can not afford to do this in one fell swoop, this the law creating a time line for replacement. We need to very closely monitor this and ensure we prioritize replacement where any lead is detected. Green Bay has some very good advise...

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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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Model shows how to make on-farm sustainable energy projects profitable

Researchers have developed a model that could boost investment in farm-based sustainable energy projects by allowing investors to more accurately predict whether a project will turn a profit. The model improves on earlier efforts by using advanced computational techniques to address uncertainty.

"Converting animal waste into electricity can be profitable for farmers while also producing environmental benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions," says Mahmoud Sharara, lead author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering at North Carolina State University. "However, farmers cannot always finance these projects, and projects aren`t always a profitable enterprise for a single farm.

"One way to address this is to develop cooperative anaerobic digestion systems that make use of waste from multiple farms," Sharara says. "Two of the big questions surrounding this sort of project are: Where do you build the cooperative system? And how can you tell whether it will be profitable?"

...The research team demonstrated the model with case studies of anaerobic digester systems for dairy farms in two regions of Wisconsin....

The paper, "Planning methodology for anaerobic digestion systems on animal production facilities under uncertainty," was published in the journal Waste Management. The paper was co-authored by Maxwell Owusu-Twum, a visiting scholar at NC State; and Troy Runge and Rebecca Larson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The work was done with support from Dane County, Wisconsin..


Ken Notes: Please read and share this. Wouldn`t it be great if the power companies got behind these efforts!!! Just got off the phone with Troy and he will be a guest on a radio show soon. Let me know if you would like to join the conversation...

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Wisconsin lawmakers introduce sweeping PFAS pollution bill
Two northeastern Wisconsin lawmakers introduced sweeping legislation Thursday designed to curb water and air pollution from man-made chemicals known as PFAS.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, and Sen. Dave Hansen, a Green Bay Democrat, have been working on the package for months in a rare display of bipartisanship on a major issue in Madison’s toxic political world.

Each lawmaker’s district includes both the Marinette and Peshtigo areas, which have been hard hit with PFAS pollution believed to have originated from firefighting foam. Tyco Fire Products, a unit of Johnson Controls, discovered in 2013 that soil and well contamination on its Marinette fire training property contained PFAS. Four years later, the company acknowledged that the chemicals had spread beyond the facility...

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Wisconsin lawmakers announce sweeping plan to regulate PFAS contamination in water


Ken Notes: We are moving in the correct direction but remember that treating for the removal of PFAS is still in early (read expensive) stages. We must work together with the communities, DNR, Legislature, and other to create a long term comprehensive solution for this issue...

The "Don`t kill the messenger" article above outlines the complexity of the issues...

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Wisconsin high court approves Kohler golf course annexation
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The city of Sheboygan properly annexed land for a Kohler Co. golf course in 2017, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Company officials want to build the course on 250 acres (101 hectares) of undeveloped land along the Lake Michigan shoreline next to Kohler-Andrae State Park in the Town of Wilson in Sheboygan County. The company has owned the land for nearly 80 years.

The company asked the town for a conditional use permit for the course in 2014. The request stirred up opposition among town residents concerned about the environmental impact. With three of the town board’s five members opposed to the project, the company asked the city of Sheboygan to annex the property and adjacent land. The city’s Common Council passed an ordinance in 2017 annexing the property...

...Despite the ruling, the project remains tied up in the lower courts. The Friends of the Black River Forest are challenging the state Department of Natural Resources’ decision to issue the company wetland construction permits and to transfer 6.5 acres (2.6 hectares) of public land within Kohler-Andre State Park to the company for the project...


Ken Notes: I still like this project because Kohler is very protective of our coast, has given much to the State and region, and is very cautious regarding the development of their projects. This 250 acres could easily develop into dozens of McMansions with little or no respect for the shorline or region. We always need to consider plan B when fighting against plan A. Maybe we could get a public access trail along the lake that would be win win...

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PFAS bills face opposition from industry groups, short timeline before session adjournment
Pushback from industry groups could present a challenge for comprehensive bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing hazardous chemicals in groundwater and air pollution — especially as the Legislature rapidly approaches adjournment.

Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who co-authored the bills, said the legislation was a bipartisan effort, but expressed concern that some industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council and Wisconsin Paper Council, have opposed the proposals. In addition, the legislation could be challenged by two new GOP-written bills that aim to create PFAS management zones.

“My fear is that both bills get killed and nothing happens, that’s my sincere concern,” Nygren said during Friday’s Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy public hearing. “Let’s not let politics of the past, let’s not let other issues, to kind of come to bear here.”...


Ken Notes: We need to get a bill through that the business community can work with, or we will get no bill at all.

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More Than $29M Planned To Clean Up Milwaukee Estuary

Estuary One Of Most Polluted Sites On The Great Lakes

Over the next eight years, more than $29 million will be spent to clean up the Milwaukee Estuary, one of the most polluted sites on the Great Lakes.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency are working with local officials to remove contaminated sediment from the estuary, which has been polluted for more than 30 years as a result of Milwaukee`s manufacturing history. The agencies announced the funding for the cleanup effort Tuesday.

The estuary is one of five sites in Wisconsin that were listed as areas of concern (AOC), which the United States and Canada consider the most contaminated sites on the Great Lakes.



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Wisconsin utility plans to retire 345 MW of coal early as controversial natural gas plans remain in flux

Dive Brief:

  • Dairyland Power Cooperative is planning to retire a 345 MW coal plant in 2021, following Wisconsin regulatory approval of its 625 MW natural gas plant, co-owned with Minnesota Power.

  • Utility officials said the Wisconsin Public Service Commission`s (PSC) Jan. 16 approval of the gas-fired Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC), expected to come online in 2025, gave Dairyland the "confidence" to retire the coal plant early. Originally, the plan was to run the facility for another five to 10 years.

  • The gas plant, which will serve customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, received approval from Minnesota regulators in October of 2018, but in December the Minnesota Court of Appeals? ordered further analysis, directing the state`s Public Utilities Commission to do an environmental impact of the plant.

As the costs of maintaining old coal plants outweigh those of building new facilities, more utilities are choosing to retire their coal-fired units in favor of cheaper natural gas and renewables.

"In addition to impacts on employees, many factors were considered when making this decision," including regional market prices for energy, overall power production costs and the facility`s age, Dairyland spokesperson Deb Mirasola told Utility Dive in an email.


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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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DNR begins PFAS rule-making process

Agency`s work will focus on addressing risk of contamination to groundwater, drinking water and surface water

As concern continues to grow about PFAS contamination, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced plans Wednesday to institute rulemaking procedures to govern the family of ubiquitous chemical substances found in thousands of consumer, household and industrial products.

The action, authorized Wednesday by the independent National Resources Board (NRB) that oversees  the DNR, comes one day after state lawmakers rejected attempts to enact legislation that would require the agency to undertake a program of tougher regulations on PFAS. But the DNR rulemaking would not replace that proposed legislation, the director of an environmental group says. PFAS substances have been blamed for a growing number of chemical contamination incidents from Marinette to Madison, elsewhere in Wisconsin and across the country.

See Also:

Ken Notes: I remain concerned that we will find a problem without a solution. Specifically how do we treat for small amounts of PFAS found in municipal systems. I strongly support removing the chemicals at the source by I fear the day we are told we can no longer dirk water from our tap...

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Wisconsin farmers’ sustainability efforts

 (WFRV) – For generations, farmers have been caring for the land, the water, and their environmental resources.

Alice in Dairyland stopped by to show us how farmers in our state are leading Wisconsin’s sustainability efforts...


Ken Notes: I sort of miss WFRV tv...

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Organization hosts forum opposing F-35 Jets
MADISON, Wis. — A local organization held an educational forum on the F-35 fighter jets potentially making their way to Dane County Regional Airport.

The event was hosted on Sunday by Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin, an organization opposed to the basing of F-35 jets at Truax Field.

The decision to possibly bring the jets to Madison will be made 30 days after a final federally mandated Environmental Impact Study set to be released later this month.

The forum featured a panel of area activists and experts who discussed the environmental and health implications of bringing the jets to Madison....


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New legislation to restrict use of PFAS, funding for research, testing

Bills restrict use of firefighting foams containing PFAS

State legislators proposed bills to limit the amount of polyfluoroalkyl substances in the environment.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, cosponsored Senate Bill 310 to create a framework for regulating PFAS, a broad category of chemicals associated with negative health impacts ranging from reduced fertility to cancer. The bill will add to legislation passed earlier this month that severely restricts the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS in non-emergency situations. It was passed by voice votes January 21, and is being reviewed by Gov. Tony Evers. ..


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Bald eagle population makes major recovery

MADISON, Wis. — Bald eagle populations across the state have made a major recovery over the past 45 years thanks in part to environmental regulations.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the national ban on the pesticide DDT, public support of nest monitoring and protection efforts and additional protections provided by state and federal endangered species laws have given the animal’s population the needed room to grow. In 1997 bald eagles were taken off of the Wisconsin endangered species list, and they were taken off the federal list a decade later.

There are 13 active bald eagle nests in Dane County and over 1,500 nests throughout the entire state. Milwaukee County is the only county in the state without any documented active bald eagle nests.

To find information about eagle watching events throughout the state, visit the DNR’s website.


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Students speak about conservation, move to regional contest
Nine students from NorthStar Community Charter School, part of Northwood School, participated in the annual Conservation Speaking Contest on January 24 that was hosted by the Washburn County Land and Water Conservation Department. Speeches promoted the conservation of natural resources and the protection and enhancement of environmental quality.

Judges ranked two divisions of students for first through third place. The winners and speech titles are as follows...

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PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported

New Detections of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in New York, D.C., Other Major Cities

New laboratory tests commissioned by EWG have for the first time found the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas. The results confirm that the number of Americans exposed to PFAS from contaminated tap water has been dramatically underestimated by previous studies, both from the Environmental Protection Agency and EWG’s own research.

...There is no simple and inexpensive technology for removing PFAS from drinking water effectively. Selecting drinking water treatment options to remove PFAS typically requires a case-by-case evaluation to identify the best option and to design and install a treatment facility....


Ken Notes: I did mention this months ago. Please shave this...

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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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Savvy policies can grow Wisconsin’s renewable energy jobs

Aaron Auch thought he’d be an electrician, but shifted gears to work inside wind power turbines: “I still talk to people who can’t believe I’ve climbed up inside those things.”...

...Clean energy projects — and the jobs and economic growth they create — flourish in places with policies that help these businesses grow. It’s time for Wisconsin to return as a renewable energy leader...


Ken Notes: I agree and Wisconsin should become a leader in renewable energy, but we differ on the role of existing utilities. I believe they play and important role in this process and did in fact develop the grid and maintain it. So at the very least the deserve a seat at the table as renewables are discussed. If we force them to accept third party renewables without a balanced agreement we are not becoming leaders we are becoming dictators.

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TWU team works to cut event`s impact on environment

Magnetic name tags stuck to shirts where paper ones would have been. Metal utensils wrapped in cloth napkins — no plastic utensils. Questions taken via text message to a central number rather than written on dozens of index cards. Cardboard boxes for food waste rather than trash cans for all trash.

During a daylong event at Texas Woman’s University where students and faculty discussed the impact of plastic on the environment, five TWU students worked to see if they could keep the 2020 Sci-Southwest Regional Symposium a zero-waste event.

As the first event of the day, TWU’s Zero Impact Team told an audience of about 50 people the story of how they planned the event with a zero-waste mindset. They met with students and faculty from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall to help them map out their journey...


Ken Notes: I have a solution for plastic and other non-biodegradable waste. We should impose a $100 dollar a ton tax or or $200 per ton import tax on all non-biodegradable items and packaging. This money could then be channeled directly to recyclers and manufacturers who reuse the materials or to our landfills who dispose of it.

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“Forever plastics” may soon leave Milwaukee County
Milwaukee County supervisors are continuing to tackle the use of plastic products, with Supervisors Marina Dimitrijevic and Marcelia Nicholson being the latest to introduce a new resolution. The measure, sponsored by the duo, would phase out single-use plastics from county facilities, in the hope of reducing pollution and improving water quality.

The resolution targets “forever plastics,” so-called because of their non-biodegradable nature. All kinds of products, particularly bags, litter the ground before getting flushed through the sewers out to Lake Michigan or the Milwaukee River. From there, they remain in the ecosystem, floating in the water or washed up on a wooded shoreline, presenting hazards to wildlife. There’s also the issue of micro-plastics shed from clothing and fabric, which have been detected by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness...


Ken Notes: As long as the economics make these products cheaper, it will be difficult to remove them.

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State approves 1,200-acre solar farm in Jefferson County
MADISON — Wisconsin regulators have unanimously approved construction of a 149-megawatt solar farm in Jefferson County to produce energy for Dairyland Power Cooperative.

Ranger Power plans to build and operate the Badger State solar farm on about 1,200 acres of land in the towns of Oakland and Jefferson, about 25 miles southeast of Madison. La Crosse-based Dairyland has a contract to purchase the power.

Local and state elected officials weighed in to support the project, as did Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, which touted the private investment of more than $100 million and the revenue it will bring to local landowners and governments.

“Utility-scale solar now competes head-to-head with other options, and Wisconsin is well-positioned to benefit,” said Lane Ruhland, director of environment and energy policy for the state’s main business lobbying group...

Ken Notes: I am OK with these projects, but should we be in a position the negotiate offset in the form of conservancy land, trails, recreational use lands, or small farm preservation lands. Just a thought...

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Wisconsin farmers impacted by climate crisis

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Wisconsin’s environment is changing and it has some people concerned.

The League of Women Voters of La Crosse and the UW-La Crosse Environmental Studies Department hosted a public forum on Sunday.

The program was held in Dane County and broadcasted live at UWL....


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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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U.S. Gain Purchases Another Digester at Wisconsin Dairy

APPLETON, Wis., Jan. 23 /CSRwire/ - U.S. Gain, a leader in development, procurement and distribution of renewable natural gas for the transportation and energy markets, announces the purchase of another anaerobic digester – this one located at Deer Run Dairy, LLC in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

U.S. Gain is currently coordinating the installation of biogas clean-up equipment at Deer Run Dairy, LLC to strip the impurities from the biogas. Next, U.S. Gain will lead project certification efforts through established relationships with both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). Once certified, the gas will be injected into the natural gas pipeline and distributed throughout their GAIN Clean Fuel® network, private natural gas fueling stations and other non-transportation outlets...


Ken Notes: We need to compile a list of all digesters in the state. I`ll create it if someone wants to sponsor it.

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Why winter is the best time of year to spot bald eagles in Wisconsin
When it’s below freezing, bald eagles must find areas with open water.

Last year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources counted 1,684 active bald eagle nests across the state. That’s up from just 108 in the 1970s. In 2019, the birds nested in every Wisconsin county except Milwaukee. In winter, however, they congregate near areas of open water where they can catch fish...

Ken Notes: Watching one out my window right now...

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Regulators revisit environmental review for Line 3 pipeline
Minnesota regulators opened a hearing Friday on an updated environmental review for Enbridge Energy’s plan to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across the state, but most testimony focused on broader questions of whether the project even be built.
Environmental and tribal activists urged the Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its earlier approvals and kill the project, saying climate change has reached a crisis stage. But the project’s supporters, including union construction workers, testified it’s time to let Enbridge complete the $2.6 billion project.

Dr. Laalitha Surapaneni, a physician at the University of Minnesota, was first in line for the hearing. She said in an interview that she had waited outside in the cold since 3:30 a.m. with no guarantee that she’d get to talk because she considers climate change to be a health emergency. When she got drawn at random to testify, she asserted that the updated review is “inadequate” because it doesn’t properly address human health risks from a spill or the threat of climate change to human health...   ...more

Ken Notes: I do have concerns about the health and safety of the current line. I also know some that suggest, "let it fail". This is not a good idea, are we really willing to put the environment at risk over an agenda item that we lost in 1960. Maybe it would be better for Enbridge to abandon the project and then environmentalists could demand they spend 3 billion to fix it.

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Why Gen Z Cares the Most about Nature

The most "plugged in" generation ranks climate as its number one issue

I’ve learned a lot about Gen Z in the past 12 years. Back in 2008, I was a new mom in Mount Shasta, California. Richard Louv’s recently published book Last Child in the Woods created a shockwave in the environmental community. Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder,” which reflected the fact children were spending 50% fewer hours outdoors than previous generations. As the nation’s largest conservation organization, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) was taking a hard look at technology’s impacts on children. They asked me to help. I drafted a report “Connecting Today’s Kids with Nature: A Policy Action Plan.”

In 2008, data indicated that kids spent 6.5 hours a day connected to technology. The peer-reviewed science also concluded that unstructured outdoor play reduces anxiety, increases concentration, and supports overall fitness. NWF believed that federal agencies, states, and local communities needed to step up. Policies could help secure safe places for kids to play, promote environmental education, and ensure that kids played outside. Parents also needed to put down their cellphones and go outside with their kids. Back then, I had two young children. As an environmental lawyer and avid hiker, I was keenly interested in my Gen Zers and their relationship to nature...


Ken Notes: Alas this generation will have no chance of lobbying or negotiating for what they want because they have only seen the dysfunctional side of politics.

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All aboard! Wisconsin and Minnesota on track for improved passenger rail

Projects could bring "higher speed" rail to Wisconsin

A variety of railroad projects are coming together to greatly improve passenger service in Wisconsin, including “higher speed” rail.

They include: doubling daily service between St. Paul and Chicago; increasing the number of round-trip Milwaukee to Chicago trains from seven to 10; express service between Minneapolis and Duluth-Superior; and, already underway, more than $5 million in improvements to the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station at General Mitchell International Airport, with completion expected in 2023...


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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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Startup that brought Tesla electric cars to Green Cab buys the company
Just more than 100 days after converting Madison-based Green Cab’s fleet to electric vehicles, a nascent Madison startup has bought the 10-year-old taxi service.

Green Cab was acquired by Mobile Transformation, the parent company of Zerology, and will continue to operate and grow, founder and CEO Shree Kalluri told the Wisconsin State Journal Wednesday...


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Ken`s Electric Automotive Stories

 Elon Musk Has Changed Investors’ Views on the Electric Car


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Wisconsin Black Historical Society to honor woman for environmental activism

Wisconsin Black Historical Society will host the event on Feb. 17.


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How environmental and wetlands protection could lead to economic boons near Foxconn
MOUNT PLEASANT — Dave Giordano is tired of hearing about how environmental advocates want to block business growth.

Not only does that label get in the way of his work as executive director of the nonprofit Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, Giordano also believes it’s untrue.

“Years ago, we viewed this as an either-or situation … you can have economic growth or environmental protection,” said Giordano, who has led Root-Pike WIN for four years. That’s not the way it should be, he thinks. “We’re not an anti-development nonprofit. We look at smart development.”

Giordano points to the 120 properties in Mount Pleasant that are no longer in the Pike River’s “flood plain” (i.e. are no longer considered susceptible to flooding) thanks to a $20 million, 70-acre restoration project undertaken by the Village of Mount Pleasant in the mid-2000s.

Ken Notes: Good read...

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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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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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