Sierra Club: Files appeal to PSC after LNG approval fails to consider cheaper alternatives

Milwaukee, WI— Today, Sierra Club appealed the Wisconsin Public Service Commission’s unlawful approval of We Energy’s proposal for new Liquified Natural Gas storage (LNG) facilities in Ixonia and Bluff Creek.  The Sierra Club appeal challenges the PSC’s failure to adequately consider clean energy and efficiency alternatives such as weatherizing homes and incentivizing industrial users to cut use during peak heating days.  The evidence before the PSC demonstrated that the LNG facilities will raise bills and invest in long-lived fossil fuel infrastructure, which is inconsistent with federal and state policies calling for a reduction in gas use.  The LNG facilities would meet a peak demand for gas that is unlikely to occur and, if it did, could be met with much less expensive alternatives like efficiency and customer incentives.

“With fossil fuel prices at an all time high and the impacts of climate change becoming more dire every year, raising customer bills to reward the monopoly utility company with new fossil fuel infrastructure is downright reckless. The PSC claims they don’t need to consider the clean energy commitments of Governor Evers or President Biden. Wisconsinites deserve energy infrastructure that is clean, resilient, and reliable for decades to come at the lowest possible cost. The PSC is failing to deliver that with this decision.  We’re asking the courts to correct that illegal decision,” said Sierra Club Wisconsin Director Elizabeth Ward. “This decision will cost ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars and do nothing to address the deep energy burden disparities in Milwaukee that We Energies’ has an obligation to address. If WEC is going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, it should prioritize investments that reduce carbon emissions, address energy burden for those with high bills and drafty homes, and are least cost to ratepayers.”

We Energy parent company WEC Energy Group announced plans in November to move away from coal by 2035, as well as a swath of other proposed projects across the state, the LNG project approval by the PSC that same week signified a decisive pivot by Wisconsin utilities to double down on gas that is fracked and piped from other states. New proposals have advocacy groups concerned about continuing climate and economic costs of fossil fuels. The case will now be heard by the Dane County Circuit Court and the Judge could send it back to the PSC to consider alternatives required by law.