The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments during April in a case attempting to give private parties the ability to set emission caps on utilities for their alleged contribution to climate change. In the case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, a group of state attorneys general sued five utilities claiming that their emissions are a “public nuisance” under the common law. The federal district court dismissed the claims ruling that the parties did not have standing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the lower court and found that there exists a federal common law cause of action for contributing to climate change. Whether the Second Circuit’s decision is upheld, however, remains to be seen. Based on the questions posed by the Supreme Court Justices during oral arguments, they did not appear to be agreeing with the plaintiffs’ argument that there is an implied common law nuisance claim. Specifically, the Justices did not seem ready to approve of the courts setting global warming policies, which is instead something to be handled by the legislative branch. A decision should be issued by July.


The state Senate has just adjourned without passing the so-called “Clean Energy Jobs Act,” killing the bill for the year.

This was the top priority for WUI this legislative session because the bill would have unnecessarily increased energy costs and driven jobs from Wisconsin.

Over 500 grassroots WUI members contacted their legislators this week alone.  We also put so many calls in to our legislators that members complained the state toll-free hotline was overwhelmed.

WUI members prove once again that regular people can band together and make a difference!

Congratulation WUI Members!

PSC Error Hides Global Warming Bill Rate Increases

When the Public Service Commission put out a study showing that forcing utilities to spend an unnecessary $15 billion would save money, we were skeptical (see our previous posts).

Now, the PSC analysis has been analyzed and a major error has been found.

In a memo to Senate Clean Energy Jobs Committee Co-Chairman Jeff Plale, Steve Baas at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce explains the problem.

“…I believe the Commission has made a serious methodological error that distorts the actual cost impact of the bill and would like to bring it to your attention.”

Baas goes on to explain:

“But taking this Table 4 in isolation ignores the fact that prices are driven up in a reduced sales scenario so long as fixed costs are recovered in part by volumetric rates.”

What does this mean?  The PSC failed to consider that, even if folks use less energy through the conservation goals in the bill, $15 billion in construction will still have to be paid for.  Under the bill, lower use means higher rates to pay the higher costs of the bill.

Bottom Line:

As you can see, the results, using PSC’s own study numbers, indicate that the CEJA Sub proposal would increase electric rates between 6.4% and 12.5% above the status quo, depending on the assumption made for CO2 regulation costs. 

Even more likely are the increases Minnesota and Iowa are facing because they adopted a similar law:

In addition, we are concerned that even these estimates, derived from PSC’s own data points to 6.4% to 12.5% rate hike, still underestimates what we can expect based on real impacts in other states. For example, Minnesota and Iowa both adopted 25% by 2025 renewable mandates and now electric customers are facing rate increases of 14% and 20% respectively, with future hikes inevitable.

This is what WUI has been concerned about throughout this process.  It is easy for the state to mandate more spending and equally easy for them to “forget” that the bill must be paid.

Job Alarm Sounded: Does Your Family Count on Any of These Industries?

Editor’s Note:  Sorry for the long post.  But, though some folks in Madison love it, there is a LOT of opposition to this bill.  Want to add yours?  Click here.


Wisconsin Agricultural Groups

Cooperative Network

Dairy Business Association

Midwest Food Processors Association

Wisconsin Agribusiness Council

Wisconsin Agri-Service Association

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

Wisconsin Crop Production Association

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Wisconsin Pork Association

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Association

Growmark Inc.

Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association

Wisconsin State Cranberries Growers Association

Wisconsin Business Associations

Aggregate Producers of Wisconsin

Alliance of Wisconsin Retailers, LLC

Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin, Inc

Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin

Independent Business Association of Wisconsin

Midwest Equipment Dealers Association

National Federation of Independent Businesses – Wisconsin Chapter

Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association

Wisconsin Automotive Aftermarket Association

Wisconsin Automotive Parts Association

Wisconsin Builders Association

Wisconsin Cast Metals Association

Wisconsin Economic Development Association

Wisconsin Engine Manufacturers & Distributors Alliance

Wisconsin Housing Alliance

Wisconsin Independent Businesses

Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association

Wisconsin Paper Council

Wisconsin Petroleum Council

Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association

Wisconsin Realtors Association

Wisconsin Restaurant Association

Wisconsin Retail Council

Wisconsin Utility Investors, Inc.

Local Chambers of Commerce

Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce

Fond du Lac Association of Commerce

Forward Janesville, Inc.

Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce

Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce

La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce

Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Menomonee Falls Chamber of Commerce

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce

Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce

Racine Area Manufacturers & Commerce

Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce

Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce

West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce

Over 50 organizations with membership representing most of the jobs in Wisconsin have joined together in opposition to the so-called “Clean Energy Jobs Act” (AB 649/SB 450). AB 649 is scheduled for a vote in the state Assembly tomorrow. The bill has earned the opposition of employers from Wisconsin main streets to town roads because it would raise utility rates and eliminate jobs throughout Wisconsin.

 “What do the all these groups have in common?” said Todd Stuart of the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group. “We have all looked closely at this bill and see the same results – it will increase energy costs and lead to fewer Wisconsin jobs.”

 Many of the organizations had hoped that the revised bill would contain new cost containment measures. “We were surprised that the amendment up for vote did little to address our concerns over costs,” said Bill Oemichen with the Cooperative Network and member of the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming. “We had little choice but to oppose the bill considering its implications for rural Wisconsin.”

 The impact of the bill on Wisconsin competitiveness has been confusing to many because of competing studies from independent groups and the state bureaucracy. The state government says that sweeping new government powers and unprecedented utility expenditures will reduce energy bills and create private sector jobs. Independent organizations and private employers say mandating billions of dollars in unnecessary expenditures will increase costs for the consumers who pay for them.

 Both the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) calculations and private studies agree consumers will have to pay for over $15 billion in new energy costs over the next 15 years. The PSC argues that spending an extra $15 billion will save money.

 “Only government could argue that unnecessary spending would save money,” said Bill G. Smith of the National Federation of Independent Business. “My members live in the real world where unnecessary spending means unnecessary cost.”

 Nick George from the Midwest Food Processors Association agreed with Smith’s assessment. “We had to set the dueling studies aside and apply a little common sense. Our common sense analysis was: Consumers pay for utility construction. More construction equals more cost for consumers.”

 The bill gives the PSC broad authority to impose a tax on energy bills to pay for programs aimed at reducing energy use. The PSC must impose a tax sufficient to reduce energy consumption by 2% every year. Their “research” indicates that $700 million in energy taxes are needed to reduce consumption by 2%. If raising the tax doesn’t work, the PSC must raise the tax even more.

 “Whether you’re running a milking machine or a metal casting furnace, higher costs in Wisconsin make us less competitive with other states or countries,” said Brian Mitchell of the Wisconsin Cast Metals Association. “Whatever industry you represent knows you can’t keep jobs if you can’t compete.”

Assembly Leaders Ramming $15 Billion Global Warming Bill Through

If you were spending $15 Billion, how careful would you be?

Tuesday, Democrat Leaders in the state Assembly came up with a brand new version of a 140 page global warming bill forcing a $700 million energy tax and over $15 billion in unnecessary energy costs on Wisconsin consumers and businesses.  They called a meeting to pass the bill with barely 24-hours notice.

When one of their own members complained that she hadn’t had time to consider the massive bill, they removed her from the committee.  How’s that for democracy?  

 That was Friday morning.

 Now they have snuck the bill onto the Assembly schedule for Tuesday.  That’s right.  They will force 99-members to vote on a bill their own committee member didn’t understand.

 What do we know about this bill?

–      It will cost 43,000 more Wisconsin residents their jobs.

–      Utilities warn it will force utility rates to rise from now until 2025.  

 –      Utility rates will rise faster than the incomes of many Senior Citizens. 

Those sound like some pretty good reasons to re-think this job killing bill.

 Please contact your legislator right now by clicking here.  We have had enough of politicians forcing unpopular, expensive, unnecessary laws on us!

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