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Wisconsin Jobs Are Gone With The Wind

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on January 20, 2011

For months, Scott Walker told the people that, as governor, he would focus on creating jobs and getting companies to invest in Wisconsin.

If those are his true intentions, he sure has a funny way of going about it.
First he killed off high speed rail, sending hundreds of millions of our tax dollars off to Florida, California and who knows where else. And with all that money went thousands of jobs and a solid chance to do some serious economic development.
As alarming as that was, and despite pushing the majority of Wisconsinites to stand against him with in days of being sworn in, Walker wasn’t done killing off jobs and investments.
Last week, Walker announced that he was going to put the screws to wind farms, making it more difficult, if not impossible for windmills to be erected in the state. However, as with any rule, there is always an exception. Walker’s exception to his anti-wind farm rule is for a campaign donor, of course:

The special exemption involves water quality requirements for a wetland in Brown County owned by businessman and automobile dealer John Bergstrom.

Bergstrom has been working on a retail project in Brown County for about a year. His attorney, Paul Kent of Madison, said the development has been approved by the Department of Natural Resources but had been opposed by an environmental group. The project would be at the intersection of Highway 41 and Lombardi Ave.

On the same day that Walker announced his intention to stop that threat of economic development and ensuring the anemic situation of the state, some of the real job creators (when they are allowed to by the government, that is) got together to decry Walker’s foolishness. They pointed out that Walker’s stance, much like his debacle with high speed rail, could drive their businesses, along with their hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs to more amiable parts of the country.
Over the weekend, the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen dug a little deeper and found that Walker’s kowtowing to the WMC will have some real effects, all of them negative:

“It would in essence shut down wind energy in the state,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “It is one of the most onerous regulations we have seen.”

Bode said that, if passed, the measure would shut down 12 wind farm projects worth about $1.8 billion. Those projects, which are in various stages of planning, could produce about 950 full-time jobs for one year, she said.

“This is a shock to those of us in the wind industry,” Bode said. “This will cause projects to go to other states.”

The article goes on to quote high ranking officers with companies that are were building these wind farms, specifying the money that they had been ready to invest and the jobs that they were to create, but now probably won’t happen if Walker carries through with his irresponsible political posturing.

This kind of tomfoolery has the all too predictable result of making him increasingly less popular among the citizens of the state. Walker’s response to this self-induced crisis appears to have one of his staff members (Darlene Wink? Tim Russell?) send out a flurry of populist and mundane tweets in an effort to shore up whatever is left of his credibility.

Walker first crippled any hope of economic development and a chance to work through the financial slump the state has been in. Now he is further damaging any chance of growth by chasing off the alternative energy companies.
It does give one pause to think: “What’s next? Stem cell research?”

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