During a recent appearance on right-wing talk radio with Charlie Sykes, Republican Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch talked about the “competitive advantage” states focusing on clean energy have over states like Wisconsin, which still relies heavily on fossil fuels for our energy production.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) second-in-command made a surprising concession on Friday: states that emphasize green energy have a “competitive advantage” over states, like Wisconsin, that don’t.
During an interview with radio host Charlie Sykes, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) railed against a new regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency intended to curb the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from power plants. Kleefisch said the rule would hurt her state because Wisconsin has been slow to move away from carbon-intensive energies like coal, from which the state still derives “about 60 percent” of its electricity.
As a result of its heel-dragging, Wisconsin lags behind its neighbors in terms of clean energy, something Kleefisch said will hurt her state’s competitiveness.
“When I’m talking to my colleagues in the National Lieutenant Governors Association and they have already gotten online to different standards than what is traditional in our state, all of a sudden they have a competitive advantage,” Kleefisch conceded.
What’s really awkward about Rebecca Kleefisch’s remarks is that Wisconsin’s competitive disadvantage is due wholly to the anti-clean energy policies of Gov. Walker and his rubber-stamp Republican legislature. After all, Gov. Walker’s current budget proposal would eliminate funding for a UW-Madison renewable energy research center while at the same time providing $250,000 in funding for a a study on the potential health impacts of wind turbines (which is as ludicrous as it sounds). What’s more, back in 2011 Gov. Walker (at the behest of the Wisconsin Realtors Association) introduced legislation to restrict where wind turbines could built.
If anyone’s to blame for Wisconsin being at a competitive disadvantage to states who have focused on renewable energy sources, it’s Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican rubber-stamp Legislature, not President Barack Obama and/or the EPA.