Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Global warming bill could shut off a major source of Wisconsin’s energy


Proposed global warming legislation being considered in the state Legislature could affect Wisconsin’s relationship with one of its major sources of foreign oil, Canada. A Canadian government official delivered a friendly, diplomatic message to the Senate Select Committee on Clean Energy that I serve that serious thought be given to legislation that could do harm to the benefits Wisconsin receives from Canadian energy.

Gary Mar, the Minister-Counselor in Washington D.C. for the province of Alberta, Canada provided written testimony to the Select Committee at a public hearing today. Mar could not attend because he was snowbound in Washington D.C.

Gary Mar’s incredibly important testimony should be a wake-up call to the entire state about current climate control legislation, Senate Bill 450.  Mar writes in his testimony to committee members:

“My purpose is to ensure you are aware of the contribution that Alberta makes to your energy supply and your economy.

Section 285.795 of the bill opens the door for the State of Wisconsin to adopt a Low Carbon Fuel Standard -or LCFS- as recommended by the Midwest Governors’ Association.

Alberta recently co-hosted a visit of the Midwest Governors’ Association LCFS advisory group. We discussed with the group the discriminatory nature of the California LCFS, and how similar legislation could further harm international relations, trade and energy security.

In your consideration of this bill we do ask that you seriously consider how any actions you might take could either purposefully or inadvertently do harm to the benefits we both receive from the energy sector and other trade between our two jurisdictions.

The annual value of trade between Alberta and Wisconsin is $1.5 billion. More than 140,000 Wisconsin jobs are supported by Canada-Wisconsin trade.

Alberta currently supplies you with almost 14,000 barrels of oil a day, and 76.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year.

Wisconsin receives much of its refined oil products from Illinois and Minnesota and other mid-western states. It should be no surprise to you that Alberta is the main oil supplier to the United States.

And…Alberta is the safe and reliable energy supplier to the United States.

While it is America’s goal to reduce oil imports, we think it is beneficial to ensure a continued and growing supply from Canada and Alberta.”

Gary Mar concludes with a critical question about the proposed legislation:

“Will this result in Wisconsin becoming more dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Venezuela, because we have cut off supply from our northern neighbors- our friends and allies?”

Indeed, why would we want to shut down our energy pipeline from a great neighbor and damage our relations? The proposed legislation imposes great pressure on Canada that could result in a large increase in the cost of our fuel.

Gary Mar’s testimony was read to the committee by Georges Rioux,
Consul General of Canada. I asked Rioux how much the cost of Wisconsin gasoline would increase if Wisconsin lost its Canadian fuel supply. Rioux did not answer directly. His response was that if Canada was unable to supply fuel to Wisconsin, it would and could simply sell it somewhere else.

David Podratz of Murphy Oil USA in Superior, Wisconsin also mentioned Canada in his testimony saying the legislation has unintended consequences.

Podratz testified that Canadian oil makes some of the best asphalt in the world:

“Heavy Canadian crude oil is used to manufacture paving asphalt. Over a third of the crude oil processed at Superior is done so specifically for asphalt production. The Superior Refinery produces a significant amount of the Midwest region’s asphalt. If fuel derived from heavy oil (being processed to produce asphalt) is unable to meet the undefined and unknown LCFS, then Superior would not be able to produce asphalt, jeopardizing the continued operation of the refinery, which would lead to supply problems in the Midwest.

Canada is a friendly neighbor. Canadian oil is plentiful and secure. The infrastructure to bring Canadian oil to market is already in place in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Forcing the region to use other sources of oil (e.g. Mideast, Venezuela, Russia) is not good policy.”

Today’s testimony about the severe ramifications of global warming legislation on international relations, trade, energy and our state economy is the biggest red flag thus far. Canada’s friendly but firm warning needs to be taken very seriously.

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