Business group, Parisi react to Trump’s climate orders

Wisconsin’s largest business lobbying group, as well as Dane County’s executive, reacted to President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to curb Obama-era regulations designed to combat climate change.

CNN reports the executive order initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan, rescinds the moratorium on coal mining on U.S. federal lands and urges federal agencies to “identify all regulations, all rules, all policies … that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence.”

During his campaign, Trump ran on a platform of bringing back coal jobs and repealing regulations related to greenhouse gases. In the past, the president has called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese.

Scott Manley, senior vice president for government affairs at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby, said his group sees the regulatory rollback as a reason for optimism.

“We’re excited about it,” Manley said. “We think it’s the right thing to do for our energy security.”

Manley said WMC was part of litigation opposing the Clean Power Plan, because it believed the regulations made businesses’ and individuals’ power bills more expensive, making the state’s industries less competitive globally.

“We get the majority of our electricity from coal, so Wisconsin was going to be uniquely negatively impact by the proposed rules,” Manley said. “Our state utility regulators estimated that the compliance cost for our state would be measured in billions of additional dollars that families and businesses would have to pay for their electricity.”

However, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said he thinks Trump’s executive order will ultimately harm the area in the long term as Dane County deals with the effects of climate change.

“It’s unfortunate that at the highest level of government we now have people denying the basic science that climate change is not only real, it’s already happening,” Parisi said.

Parisi said UW-Madison studies show climate change bringing warmer and wetter winters to Dane County, with more large rain events. He said that has preparing to update its hazard mitigation plan to prepare for climate change-related natural disasters.

“As we prepare for emergencies, more and more now we’re going to have to prepare for those that could be brought about by climate change,” Parisi said.

Parisi said besides mitigating the effects of climate change, local governments are now having to lead the charge to reduce greenhouse gases rather than the federal, or in Wisconsin’s case, the state government.

“The message we’re getting from the federal government and, frankly, the state government is that on the local level, we’re on our own,” Parisi said. “So we’re going do what we need to do both to prepare for increased challenges we might face from climate change, but get out in front of it too.”

The county plans to host listening sessions Wednesday at the Sun Prairie public library and another Friday at the Cross Plains public library related to the Hazard Mitigation Plan updates. Both events take place at 6:30 p.m. It hosted listening sessions Monday and Tuesday in Madison and Verona, respectively.

The Associated Press reports rewriting the regulations is likely to take years to complete and will face legal challenges from environmental groups and Democratic-leaning states like California and New York.