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The Mississippi River is One of America’s Greatest Treasures PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:33

mississippi-travelGayle Harper traveled the entire length of the Great River Road after reading that it takes 90 days for a raindrop that falls at the Mississippi River headwaters to travel to the Gulf of Mexico. She spent time with people along the river and celebrates the peoples, the land and America’s greatest river in her new book, Roadtrip with a Raindrop.

Read more...
 
Be Mindful of Mercury this Fishing Season PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Clean Wisconsin   
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 10:23

fishing-on-lakeMercury contamination remains a serious issue for Wisconsin’s anglers, public health.


MADISON - On Saturday, May 7, anglers will take to Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers for the official start of the fishing season. While this weekend’s fishing opener is a favorite pastime of many Wisconsinites and a way to honor our state’s natural heritage, it also serves as a reminder that anglers need to be mindful of their catch and what they put on their tables.

“Unfortunately, mercury contamination is a serious issue for Wisconsin’s lakes and the anglers who enjoy fishing on them,” says Keith Reopelle, senior policy director for Clean Wisconsin. “Because every inland body of water in Wisconsin is under a fish consumption advisory due to high levels of mercury contamination, it’s critical that anglers check the state’s safe-eating guidelines before frying up their catch.”

Burning coal is the single largest source of mercury, which accumulates in waterways, building up in fish and the birds and animals that eat them. Mercury concentrations increase with every step in the food chain; larger predatory fish have the highest levels of mercury. A powerful neurotoxin, mercury has been linked to nervous system, liver and kidney problems. Fetuses and young children are especially at risk of harm to their developing nervous systems if exposed to mercury, affecting cognitive abilities.  

“The health risks of mercury are undeniable, yet more than 1,500 pounds of mercury is emitted into Wisconsin’s air each year,” says Reopelle. “Fortunately, there are a number of policies in place and laws under consideration that would reduce mercury emissions and better protect the health of Wisconsin families and visitors.”

In 2008, Clean Wisconsin adopted a rule legislation that mandated coal-fired power plants cut mercury emissions 90% by 2015. And just last month Clean Wisconsin, along with Sierra Club, reached a settlement with the DNR and Wisconsin Public Service to ensure mercury reductions are achieved at the Weston 4 power plant in Rothschild.

In addition, the Clean Power Plan, a set of rules limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants, could keep more than 400 pounds of mercury out of Wisconsin’s air and water by 2030 if implemented. EPA estimates that for every $1 spent on reducing mercury emissions, public health reaps $9 in benefits.

“Reducing mercury pollution isn’t just an environmental issue. There are tangible public health and economic benefits to reducing mercury emissions,” says Reopelle. “It is time for Wisconsin and the nation to move forward on enacting these laws and policies to further protect our families and communities from the ill effects of mercury pollution.”    Learn more about mercury pollution with our Enviropedia, a free resource on environmental issues.

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On behalf of its more than 30,000 members, supporters and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects and preserves Wisconsin's air, water and natural heritage.
608-251-7020,
www.cleanwisconsin.org.

 
New Law Increases Recycling Funding for 2016 PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by AROW, Meleesa Johnson   
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 09:36

RecyclingAROW Applauds Sen. Rob Cowles as Champion


STEVENS POINT, WI - Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW) is delighted to announce that a new law will increase recycling funding by $3 million, partially correcting a $4 million loss realized as a part of the 2016 state budget. This funding provides essential financial support for local recycling programs across the state and is supported by landfill tipping fees.

rob-cowlesThe new law, signed yesterday by Governor Walker, originated in August 2015 with Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay). Concerned that the funding cut may negatively impact recycling, an essential part of local waste reduction programs and a driver of economic development, the senator conducted an evaluation of the recycling fund. The evaluation showed a considerable sum of money remained in the fund after all 2016 state budgetary obligations were met, prompting Sen. Cowles to author the bill that yesterday became Wisconsin Act 392.

In September 2015, the senator reached out to AROW, asking for support in advancing the cause of recycling funding for budget-strapped local recycling programs. Given that AROW has, for over a decade, held a policy that landfill fees collected as recycling fees should be wholly used for recycling and waste reduction, the AROW board approved support for Sen. Cowles and the recycling bill. “It has been a great pleasure working with Sen. Cowles and his staff on this project. I am even more pleased to say that AROW played a role in bringing millions back to recycling!” said AROW President Meleesa Johnson.

AROW wishes to acknowledge and applaud Sen. Cowles’s dedication to recycling and waste reduction. He is a true Recycling Champion! In fact, Sen. Cowles was honored for his work at the recent Wisconsin Integrated Resource Management Conference by not only AROW, but also its industry partners, the Solid Waste Association of North American-Badger Chapter and the Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association.

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For more information about AROW and RMW (a program of AROW):
www.arow-online.org www.recyclemorewisconsin.org

Parties interested in becoming AROW members or RMW sponsors, please contact Angie Lemar-Program Director at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

About the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW)

Founded in 1990, AROW is a 501(c)(3) association representing Wisconsin’s recycling, waste reduction and sustainability professionals with members from local government, businesses and non-profit groups. The organization provides leadership through education, advocacy, and collaboration and promotes effective, efficient and sustainable material recovery initiatives. For details on AROW, its positions and programs visit www.arow-online.org.

 
Yet Another Walker Outsourcing Scandal PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig   
Sunday, 01 May 2016 08:58

grainger-workersWISCONSIN - Thursday it was revealed that yet another multinational corporation receiving public dollars for job creation actually sent more jobs overseas than it created in Wisconsin. This is only the latest example of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Governor Walker’s semi-privatized jobs agency, paying companies to create jobs which in turn outsource more jobs.

According to a report by Greg Neumann of WKOW TV in Madison, W.W. Grainger company outsourced jobs from Janesville to Panama. The corporation created no jobs in Wisconsin, despite receiving WEDC tax credits.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin has repeatedly called on WEDC to close loopholes which allow companies receiving state economic development dollars to outsource Wisconsin jobs. In the State Senate and State Assembly this legislative session Democrats introduced bills to limit economic development support to companies engaged in outsourcing. The bills were defeated on party line votes.

Earlier this month, Citizen Action of Wisconsin called on WEDC to release outsourcing records. In late 2014 WEDC’s board adopted a policy of requiring reports within 30 days by corporations receiving state job creation dollars of any net job reductions or the outsourcing of jobs out of Wisconsin. These reports have not been publicly released, nor has Citizen Action been able to obtain them by contacting WEDC staff. It is also Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s understanding that such reports are not being shared with WEDC’s board of directors.

WKOW TV’s report yesterday was based on outsourcing data compiled by the federal government, not WEDC. According to WKOW, WEDC is seeking repayment of tax credits given to W.W. Grainger because the corporation created no jobs, not because it outsourced jobs to Panama.

Outsourcing was a dominant issue in the Wisconsin presidential primary, and in the U.S. Senate race.

“Wisconsin voters are on to the fact that political and corporate establishment are committing economic treason against Wisconsin workers,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “The public is also increasingly realizing that if the economy can be rigged against workers, it can also be re-rigged in our favor through policies that expand economic opportunity.”

 
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