Hamilton Blog Archive Page
The EPA has finalized the court-ordered Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants. Commonly called the Utility MACT (maximum achievable control technology) rules, they are the first ever standards limiting mercury, acid gases, and other toxic pollution from power plants. The standards were originally ordered to be completed by November 16, 2011, but the court-ordered deadline was extended by a month to accommodate the extended comment period and the volume of comments the EPA received on the proposed rule.
The EPA-projected total national annual cost of this rule is $9.6 billion. The EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce pollution from power plants, the American public will see up to $9 in health benefits. The total health and economic benefits of this standard are estimated to be as much as $90 billion annually.
Since Hamilton’s last analysis of the recall effort three major events have occurred: 1) the coalition seeking to recall Governor Walker announced updated signature totals; 2) both sides of the recall campaigns made financial reports; and 3) the Government Accountability Board discussed how the signature verification process will be handled.
Signature Total Update
Gov. Walker’s Budget Repair Bill (Act 10): Very few will soon forget the public employee union changes contained in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill (Act 10) and the fallout that ensued.
Wisconsin’s new voter ID law is facing some legal and logistical challenges. Three lawsuits have been filed seeking to overturn or modify the law, one in federal court in Milwaukee and two in Dane County Circuit Court. The lawsuits may determine if a photo ID, such as a driver’s license or other government-issued identification, is necessary if voters want to participate in the February 21st primary election.
The Assembly Jobs, Economy and Small Business Committee met yesterday for the first hearing on the proposed mining bill, AB 426.
This bill is in response to Gogebic Taconite's proposal to build Wisconsin’s largest ever iron mine. Earlier this year, the company said it needed more certainty in the state's regulatory process before it proceeds with the $1.5 billion mine in portions of Iron and Ashland counties. Without the changes, testified Gogebic President Bill Williams, it is doubtful outside investors would lend money for the 1,000-foot-deep mine.