Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Last Friday while filling in for Mark Belling on Newstalk 1130 WISN, I spent some time going over some of the more outrageous recommendations in the final report of Governor Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force. I firmly believe the general public has no idea what’s in that report, a highly complex, 100-page document. The more people understand how these recommendations would interfere in their lives if enacted, the more upset they’ll be.
Flawed from the outset, the Task Force mission was predicated on the presumption that global warming is an existing crisis that needs immediate government intervention. For example, the report says, “human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, is a major contributor” to global warming. The Task Force fails to take into account or cite the prospect of natural factors impacting the global climate. I submit there is enough skepticism on the part of learned scientists that suggests the jury is still out on the exact degree and/or severity of global warming.
Not surprisingly, the Task Force engages in doublespeak, calling its initiatives, “recommendations.” In reality, the Task Force is suggesting action be taken to enact legislation, regulations, and requirements to become intrusive Wisconsin law. The final report actually uses the words “legislate” or “legislation” more than 20 times. The policies recommended by the Task Force constitute government intervention at its worst with the purpose of controlling many facets of your day to day lives. Some of the troubling Task Force recommendations include the following:
- Wisconsin would adopt emission standards for passenger vehicles currently in place in California.
- Wisconsin would adopt voluntary and mandatory emission reduction measures to reduce emissions from off-road sources related to construction, agricultural, lawn/garden care, recreational and industrial/commercial sectors.
- Truck idling would be limited at depots, over night rest areas and other long-term parking circumstances to a maximum five minutes.
- The state would set aside funding to regulate the reduction of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by individuals.
- The existing 65 mph highway speed limit would be strictly enforced and a study would be conducted of potential future speed limit reductions.
- Legislation would develop a low carbon fuel standard for fuel providers. The Task Force says, “Providers could meet the standard by blending ethanol (corn/cellulosic) with gasoline, blending biodiesel with diesel,” in other words, an ethanol mandate.
- The Task Force believes emissions would be reduced by the creation of three programs for public and private transit alternatives: Intercity Rail, Transit Trust Fund and a Regional Transit Authority.
- Rental properties would be required to install energy efficient lighting.
So, let's add it all up.
Policies endorsed by the Task Force would regulate your car, lawnmower, boat, tractor, and 4-wheeler, dictate how many miles you can drive, lower speed limits, encourage you to walk, regulate the trucking industry, and impose an ethanol mandate. Making matters worse, and fueling my skepticism is the fact the report fails to specify the cost of these initiatives to Wisconsin residents and their effect on our fragile state economy that grew by a paltry one percent last year. If Wisconsin were to implement the Task Force recommendations, it is a safe bet heating bills, electric bills and gas prices would all increase and our economy would continue to suffer.
The most efficient method to reduce emissions would be to increase our use of nuclear energy. However, after 16 months of study, the Task Force fails to recommend the construction of a new nuclear power plant or expanding a plant in operation.
If Governor Doyle intends to push these far-reaching ideas in the Legislature, Wisconsin residents need to be aware that the recommendations are highly intrusive, expensive, and would do little to provide any benefit to the earth’s climate.