State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
SB 380 requires that gasoline sold in Wisconsin contain the following percentages of ethanol:
(a) In 2009 to 2014, 10 percent.
(b) In 2015 to 2019, 15 percent.
(c) In 2020 to 2024, 20 percent.
(d) In 2025 and thereafter, 25 percent.
There are penalties for refiners who fail to comply.
A refiner may be required to forfeit not more than $10,000 for a first offense, not less than $500 nor more than $50,000 for a second offense, and not less than $1,000 nor more than $100,000 for a third and subsequent offense.
This is bad legislation for many reasons.
The state Senate, without a reliable crystal ball, is legislating into the year 2025 and beyond. Applying these mandates without knowledge of what our energy capabilities or technology will look like decades from now is irresponsible.
The bill is a mandate. Government should refrain from mandating the kind of gasoline consumers put in their automobiles. The free market should make this decision instead of state government.
The jury is still out on the benefits of ethanol. There are too many unknowns. We are unsure ethanol will cost less, we are unsure ethanol will be more fuel-efficient, and we are unsure ethanol will be good for the environment.
I recognize there is not a groundswell of support from the general public for an ethanol mandate that is a perfect example of legislation driven by special interests.
For all of these reasons, I will vote no on SB 380 if it ever comes to the floor of the state Senate.