Support of a physical environment beneficial to life; action to promote wise use of ground and surface water resources and improvement of water, air, and soil quality.
Standards and Enforcement
- Federally determined effluent standards with lower levels of government and the public participating in the standard setting process.
- The right of lower levels of government to set and enforce stricter standards if they choose.
- An enforcement procedure which allows the federal level to step in if state or regional agencies fail to act.
- The right of the individual to bring legal action in the event of injury to self or environment without preemption by government enforcement procedures.
Global warming threatens the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems as well as the economic, social, public health, and even the survival of the populations of the Earth. To stop global warming requires stabilizing atmospheric CO2 before the end of the 21st century at less than double the pre-industrial concentration.
Accepting our responsibilities as global citizens to stop global warming.
Urging use by the State of Wisconsin, municipalities, individuals and corporations/businesses to use existing technologies to:
- Make power plants, buildings and factories more efficient;
- Make motor vehicles go farther on each unit of fuel; and
- Shift to cleaner technologies.
Urging Federal leadership to adopt nationwide global warming pollutant reductions of at least 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, the levels of reductions of CO2 from the 1990 level that United Nations scientists say are needed.
Providing assistance to those harshly affected by global warming, especially low-income individuals and families.
The following electric energy positions reinforce and implement the position on global warming. They expand the previous energy positions and integrate them with new positions on siting of power plants and transmission lines, restrictions on fossil fuels and natural gas, and on electric energy planning and regulation.
- Limiting the demand for electricity. Success depends on all entities (governments, corporations and shareholders, individuals) taking responsibility for their consumption and contributing to energy self-reliance.
- Reduce the use of electricity through a wide range of programs that promote conservation (behavioral change), energy efficiencies (using energy with fewer overall resources), co-generation and distributed generation.
- Use voluntary and regulatory energy demand management strategies.
- Include rate structures and pricing strategies, such as peak demand, that incorporate the true cost of energy, which is not reflected in the current market system.
- Financial incentives to advance clean energy technologies. Increase funding and grants for technology transfer, research and development of new fuel sources, and improved methods to reduce polluting effects of energy production. Government, industry and other private sources should invest in such efforts with safeguards against conflict of interest. We support making tax incentives available on a sustained basis until new technologies are established and competitive.
- Siting of power plants, transmission lines and natural gas pipelines. The process for evaluating the suitability of new proposed power plants, electric transmission lines and natural gas pipelines should include:
- Ample and effective opportunities for informed participation by all affected governments and the public in the formulation and analysis of proposed projects;
- Procedures for resolution of intergovernmental conflicts, including between states and the Regional Transmission Operator as well as with Canada in accord with international treaties;
- Examination of all short- and long-term economic costs including, but not limited to, construction, delivery, operation, maintenance, and impacts on price, supply and demand;
- Evaluation of economic, social, environmental, and aesthetic impacts in electricity generation area, the receiving area, and any area through which the transmission line or pipeline must pass;
- Routing any new transmission lines or pipelines along existing transportation and utility corridors, to the greatest extent possible;
- Ensuring all infrastructure is constructed and maintained in an environmentally sensitive and safe manner;
- Protection of sensitive on-shore and off-shore public lands and prohibition of drilling in and around the Great Lakes;
- Limited use of Wisconsin lake and river shoreline for power plant sites;
- Standards for thermal effluent limitations that protect background water temperature and overall surface water quality; policies that prohibit once-through cooling systems. Note: Further positions and guidelines affecting the siting process are under Land.
- Restrictions on fossil fuels. Aggressively reducing CO2 emissions to stop global warming requires de-carbonizing energy sources and storing carbon biologically or geologically.
- Coal. The LWVWI supports prohibition on any new coal-fired plant, or any existing plant being rebuilt, unless it is equipped to:
- Co-fire renewable fuels
- Capture usable steam for co-generation
- Integrate gasification and combined cycle technology
- Capture carbon using the best available control technology
- Sequester carbon using the best available control technology
- Natural Gas. The LWVWI supports:
- Promotion of maximum use of energy efficiencies and renewables to conserve use of natural gas
- Capture of usable steam for co-generation
- Advocating that imports of natural gas do not come from environmentally sensitive areas or from countries without adequate environmental safeguards
- Restrictions on nuclear power. The LWVUS recognizes nuclear power as a part of the nation’s energy mix, but it opposes reliance on nuclear fission. More specifically, the LWVWI, within LWVUS guidelines, supports:
- Prohibition of further licensing and construction of nuclear fission reactors until scientific questions regarding their effects upon public health and safety can be resolved;
- Stringent radioactive effluent release standards throughout the nuclear cycle (production, transport, use, on-site or interim storage, decommissioning, long-term storage, and reprocessing) for maximum protection of both the environment and public health and safety.
- Electric energy planning. The Public Service Commission (PSC), acting under the Legislature and the Governor, is the primary energy planner in the state. The LWVWI supports the following requirements for electric energy planning:
- The LWVUS Natural Resources positions for resource management decisions and comprehensive long-range planning;
- A planning time-frame of not less than 20 years, with review and update of strategy options and specific proposals on a regular basis.
- Integration of PSC plans with those of Wisconsin utilities and reflection of these in the plans of the Regional Transmission Operator;
- Policy makers taking into account the global impacts of their decisions;
- Sustained and integrated involvement of the public and affected government involvement in all aspects of formulation and analysis of energy policy;
- Requirement of the PSC and other statewide energy planners to continually provide the public with information about electric energy, the policies and priorities that govern the use of electricity, the energy industry and the significant energy issues currently under consideration.
- Regulation of Public Utilities. The provision of electric power is an essential social and economic need. It is vital to the public interest and common good. As such it has historically been highly regulated by the government. The LWVWI supports:
- Continued regulation of public utilities;
- Regulation of utilities that is fair, open, transparent, and accessible to the public in all of its proceedings. Accurate comprehensive information must be available to consumers for educational and decision making purposes;
- A strengthened PSC with adequate funding and staffing to assure good decision-making and the ability to fulfill statutory responsibilities;
- An independent regulatory process free from undue political and utility influence;
- A minimum of a two-year waiting period before a commissioner or high level staff of the PSC can be hired by a utility.
Note: Further positions and guidelines affecting Energy are under LWVUS Energy.
Support of policies and programs which protect the health of the people and preserve the natural resources of the state, including:
- A survey of air pollution problems;
- Development and implementation of a state plan for air pollution control;
- Establishment of minimum standards for air quality.
Support of policies and programs which encourage acquisition of the following for conservation and recreation:
- Undeveloped areas with the primary purpose of leaving them in their natural state;
- Selected new areas of development for intensive use as well as development of some of the presently owned natural areas, particularly near urban centers;
- Additional scenic highway easements and lake and stream shore accesses.
Support of a continued state program of research and action on soil and water pollution.
- The exercise of planning and regulatory functions by the state for land areas and activities of statewide concern and for land areas and activities that cannot be planned for and regulated on a strictly local level. Planning and regulatory involvement by the state, either directly or indirectly, is needed in the following general areas and activities:
- Fragile and historic lands subject to irreversible damage and of state or regional significance;
- Renewable resources lands subject to productivity losses of statewide significance;
- Natural hazard lands where dangers to public health and to life and property may result if planning and regulation are not exercised;
- State and regional public facilities and institutions;
- Private development that has regional or statewide physical, social or economic impact;
- Activities for which there is a demonstrated state or regional need not met by the private sector;
- Restoration of native plant and animal species in areas in which they formerly thrived;
- Restoration and preservation of areas that were once wetlands.
- Indirect involvement by the state through development of state standards and use of state review combined with strengthened regulatory and enforcement authority at lower governmental levels, when this approach can be shown to protect sufficiently the interests of Wisconsin citizens.
- Direct planning and regulatory involvement by the state to protect fragile, historic, and natural hazard lands of state or regional significance.
Support of a state organizational framework for land protection that:
- Integrates land use planning into the state's comprehensive planning process and coordinates it with plans and policies of local and regional agencies;
- Requires impact statements for public and private development of regional and statewide significance;
- Provides for appeal boards at appropriate levels to arbitrate disputed land use decisions between governmental bodies and between citizens and government;
- Requires substate regional bodies with authority to plan, advise, review, and comment on land use matters of regional concern;
- Requires local government to exercise at least a minimum of land use planning and regulation, and encourages maximum local decision making;
- Requires the adoption by the legislature of a statement of goal and objectives for land use planning;
- Provides for the coordination of state agencies whose decisions affect land use.
- Requires all local units of governments, including counties, municipalities and townships, to adopt a comprehensive land use plan, which incorporates elements of a comprehensive plan recommend by the state, and empowers counties to draw up land use plans for municipalities and townships that fail to do so. The planning process should also:
- Require local units of government to adopt zoning ordinances and other land use regulations in conformity with their land use plans;
- Require coordination among local and regional units of government and agencies in drawing up land use plans and land use ordinances and regulations;
- Require public participation in land use planning;
- Require public hearings before adoption of zoning ordinances and land use regulations.
- Provides state assistance to local governments to carry out local land use management function, including: a) state financial aid for research and planning, b) increased state technical and data-gathering assistance to include a comprehensive statewide Land Information System that is easily accessible to all citizens and, c) statutory authorization for local governments to exercise innovative land use and regulatory techniques.
Support efforts to preserve agricultural and conservancy lands of regional and statewide significance by means of land use plans developed at the county level or higher and implemented through regulatory methods—such as zoning, urban service districts, development timing and subdivision regulations—and through financial incentives such as use value taxation. When agricultural and conservancy zoning or districting is coupled with financial incentives to help carry out preservation goals, entry of lands should be mandatory with penalties for premature withdrawal.
Support preservation and redevelopment of existing urban lands through zoning and other regulatory incentives and tax breaks. Encourage brownfield restoration as a priority in urban areas. Encourage neighborhood designs that support a range of transportation and lifestyle choices including affordable housing and a range of densities.
Note: Further positions affecting land are under Pesticide.
Solid Waste Management
Support of the following positions:
- Wisconsin should prepare to deal promptly with low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) generated within the state;
- Wisconsin should develop a comprehensive plan for the long-term management of LLRW;
- A comprehensive plan should take into account both public health and the environment;
- The preferred option is to join the Midwest Interstate Compact to maximize future options while continuing to explore other options;
- The most important criterion for decision making is to assure that safeguards are provided for people and the environment. Next in importance is total hazard of the LLRW generated. Other important criteria are: costs to the taxpayer, the volume of LLRW generated, the best interest of the multi-state region, and the nation. Least, but not unimportant are costs to the consumer (of electricity or medical/research services) and the costs to the generator of LLRW; agreement state status in some form is desirable, should Wisconsin have a low-level radioactive waste facility.
Handling and Transfer
- LLRW should be categorized by total hazard;
- Regulations for handling, transporting, treatment, and disposal should match the hazard of the wastes;
- To further the reduction of waste, Wisconsin should:
- Provide incentives to generators to minimize waste generation through improved management practices (incentives include both positive and negative measures);
- Encourage research to improve reduction techniques and investigate new approaches;
- Provide incentives to generators to use the best and safest techniques to reduce the volume of LLRW that requires burial. (Incentives are not only monetary but include technical assistance and expertise.)
- Decisions to concentrate waste must consider safety of radiation workers, the environment and public safety.
Transportation & Emergency Planning
- Wisconsin should seek the authority to enforce standards and to correct violations in the packaging, handling, routing, and transportation of both radioactive materials and LLRW.
- Wisconsin should ensure that emergency response teams in each county receive training to deal with radioactive materials and LLRW.
Public Participation and Local Input
- Procedures for making decisions about facilities should take into account the concerns of nearby residents and affected local governments and provide for a resolution of differences;
- Wisconsin should develop a program to educate the public about LLRW issues;
- Wisconsin should ensure that open meetings with public notice, open records, hearings and appeal procedures be provided for local governments and nearby residents when proposals are made concerning LLRW management in their area;
- Regulations should be uniformly and consistently enforced. Citizens should have standing to sue for enforcement of LLRW regulations.
Support of a state water policy that reflects the fact that water is a single resource with the same rules of justice to apply to ground and surface water, and any system of mandatory permits to include water rich areas of the state.
Support of additional dedicated revenue sources to provide a dependable source of funding for state water quality programs.
Revenue sources should have a clear connection to the use or potential abuse of water, generate sufficient funds to make an impact on water quality issues, and be easy to collect. Funding options should include:
- General revenue sources because all Wisconsin citizens benefit from adequate water quantity and quality.
- User fees and taxes assessed to activities that affect water quality. Other revenue sources not mentioned may be considered for support if they meet these criteria.
Support for specific dedicated revenue sources include, but are not limited to:
- First priority: adjust the motorboat fuel tax formula to reflect usage at no less than 80 gallons; the formula should be updated periodically or every five years.
- Second priority: new or increased taxes, fees, or surcharges on large water users or industries and activities that contribute directly or indirectly to nonpoint source pollution, including the following:
- Beer, soft drinks, and bottled water
- Automobile and other vehicle registrations
- Non-metallic mining
- Large agricultural operations (e.g. per animal fee, cranberry, and produce farms)
- New construction
- Third priority:
- Lottery and casino revenue
- Sales tax
- Private or public well surcharge
- Mitigation trust fund
Note: Further positions affecting water are under Pesticides.
- Restricted use of pesticides until such time as the scientific question of their effects can be conclusively resolved.
- Classification of pesticides, complete and understandable labeling of pesticides, and state or federal certification of applicators using restricted pesticides.
Support for the reduction of exposure to all pesticides and the use of non-toxic alternatives. Governmental bodies should encourage a reduction in pesticide use through the promotion of management programs such as Integrated Pest Management, sustainable agriculture, and non-toxic control techniques.
- State governments should provide economic incentives to farmers and growers to implement these alternative techniques. State governments should provide funding for training in these techniques to employees of public agencies and institutions, to commercial applicators, to farmers, and to private individuals. Anyone handling pesticides as part of a job should be required to demonstrate knowledge and competency and, before receiving a license or certification, be required to take a training course and pass a state regulated examination.
Pesticides should be used selectively, not routinely, in: hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, schools, playgrounds, publicly owned buildings, golf courses, parks, roadsides, and swimming pools.
Governmental Regulation of Pesticide Use
Support for the regulation of the use of pesticides by all levels of government. Government standards should be set for all lawn care and mosquito abatement companies. Adequate funding for all appropriate levels of government should be established to finance testing for over-spray, drift, and water contaminations. Pesticide drift beyond the boundaries of the targeted area should be prohibited by law.
The use of pesticides should be totally prohibited in the following instances:
- Aerial spraying of residential neighborhoods' recharge zones for drinking water supplies;
- Vulnerable designated wetlands and other natural areas;
- Habitats for endangered species.
In the absence of federal regulations, state governments should enact organic labeling laws and organic farming certification laws. In addition, funding for increased testing by appropriate state agencies for pesticides in food is essential.
States should be able to set residue levels for food that are stricter than federal level.
Public Notification of Pesticide Use
Belief that lawn care companies, structural pest control companies, and agricultural pesticide applicators should provide the public, including agricultural workers, with extensive information about pesticides and pesticide use, including:
- Purpose of application
- Brand name of pesticide(s) used
- Date and time of year when pesticides are to be applied
- Label precautions and disposal information
- Registration status
- Amount and names of all inert ingredients
- Name, address, and telephone number of applicator
- Evidence of applicant's license or certification
- Telephone number of state agency in charge of pesticide regulation
- Telephone number of nearest Poison Control Center
- Health symptoms and first aid
Because of the potential for involuntary exposure to pesticides, individuals should be notified prior to application of pesticides. Re-entry times and exposure precautions should be conspicuously posted. Information should be posted for interior and exterior pesticide application. Posting should occur in advance of application of any pesticide.