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Documentary Premiere of “We Neighbors” and Presentation on History of Coal in Southeast Wisconsin Draws Standing-room-only Crowd
Around 130 people attended this free program on January 23 at the Riverbend Nature Center. Participants got the opportunity to ask questions of several of the neighbors featured in the documentary, as well as of industrial historian Keith Kohlmann who delivered a fascinating presentation on coal and coal trains.  

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Local Family Featured on National Podcast
“The Power Plant has come in our neighborhood and taken over. They’ve bought out how many houses around here just to quiet people. They wanted us to move out, too. But we decided we are going to stay and fight them. We are going to stay and fight.” – The Michna Family.  

The 11 siblings of the Michna family grew up on Michna Road in Caledonia where nearly all of them still live – despite having We Energies’ coal-fired power plant as a neighbor. Listen to their story in a recent episode of “The Land I Trust” podcast, which features storytellers from across the Midwestern US who share their experiences of climate change, the impacts of dirty fuels, and the fight for clean energy.

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Disappointingly, PSC Approves WEC Rate Case Settlement
On Thursday, October 31, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission indicated that it intends to approve the proposed settlement in WEC Energy Group’s rate case. This is unfortunate because the settlement does not address the unnecessary extra cost of the uneconomic South Oak Creek plant, leaving ratepayers on the hook to cover $75 million each year the plant continues to operate. Read the Sierra Club’s statement, coverage on Wisconsin Public Radio and on Madison.comand in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  

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EPA Approves DNR’s Stricter Water Permit for South Oak Creek
Based on review of extensive public comments, the DNR made two significant changes to the variance terms in We Energies’ proposed Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit, calling for 1) a slightly reduced mercury cap along with more robust measures to bring mercury levels into compliance going forward; and 2) a change in the Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) compliance deadline to 2021 from 2023. Following its 60-day review period for the permit variances, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the variances. This new WPDES permit will require WEC to invest millions more dollars to keep the South Oak Creek plant running – a plant we know is losing money. This adds new pressure on WEC for commitment to an earlier retirement of the plant.