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Study: Green New Deal would destroy America’s Dairyland

Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 27,  2020

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — It’s been pretty clear that the New Green Deal would be a disaster for businesses and for consumers. Now a new study confirms just how disastrous the environmental/wealth redistribution plan would be for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin families would be shackled with $40,000 in new costs, and the Dairy State’s struggling agricultural sector would be crippled, according to the multi-state analysis authored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Power the Future. Will Flanders, research director for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, contributed to the study.

The Green New Deal — as championed by liberals such as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and many of the Democratic presidential candidates —  calls for shifting energy consumption entirely to electric current from today’s primary sources, principally fossil fuels.  Doing so, the report finds, would cause $200 million in losses to Wisconsin farmers, while clobbering the state’s iconic dairy industry with $2.5 billion in additional costs.

Estimates track the dramatic carbon-free shift alone would cost trillions of dollars. The report notes Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that the greening of the U.S. power sector would come with a $4.7 trillion price tag,  including around $1.5 trillion to add 1,600 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity and $2.5 trillion of investments in 900 gigawatts of storage. Another $700 billion is estimated for new high transmission power lines to move that electricity from sun-drenched deserts and windswept plains to the urban areas where it would be used.

CEI President Kent Lassman said the Green New Deal is not a serious proposal.

“At best, being most generous, it is simply negligent in getting its arms around the transition costs to the American life,” he said during a press conference at a Milwaukee-area manufacturing center. “At worst, it is political malpractice.”

The broader research looks at the Green New Deal’s impacts on 11 states. It measures additional electricity demand, costs associated with shipping and logistics, new vehicles, building retrofits, decreased crop yields, and the carbon tax on farmers.  

In Wisconsin, households in the first year of implementation would face $75,000 in additional costs on the Green New Deal’s expensive ride to zero CO2 emissions within a decade. The increased costs would top $40,000 every year thereafter.

Alaska would face the highest costs of implementation, at north of $84,000 in the first year, and nearly $52,000 after six years of the green plan in operation. That’s more than $10,000 higher per year than the other 10 states measured in the study.

Flanders said the Green New Deal may play well in Washington, D.C., put it doesn’t cut it in get-real places like the Midwest, which rely on affordable, reliable energy. The Climate Change alarmist plan would “drive middle class families into poverty by imposing staggering annual costs,” he said.

For Green Deal-backing Democrats who have talked so much about the plight of the U.S. farmer, the sweeping CO2 reductions would be a liberal-inflicted blow on the ag industry. Wisconsin’s dairy farmers have slogged through a four-year milk price recession, protracted trade wars, anti-animal agriculture activists, and a punitive regulatory climate, said Cindy Leitner, president of the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance.

The study finds the Green New Deal would force dairy farmers to pay an additional $500 to $2,000 per cow per year in compliance costs.

“How does that translate? That means an average farmer in Wisconsin of 150 cows will pay between $75,000 and $300,000 per year in addition to what they are doing now,” Leitner said. “And if we think that we have seen a high exit of farms in Wisconsin in the past several years, this policy will close the door on any dairy surviving. It will be gone. This is very serious. This should not even be considered as a policy.”

The study only tracks the costs of the Green New Deal’s constraints on energy generation. It does not delve into the plan’s myriad “social justice” programs, like federally-guaranteed jobs “with family-sustaining” wages, paid vacations and “retirement security” for every American.

“Most provisions of the GND are so broad and open-ended that the list of potential programs necessary to implement the program is only limited by the capacity of legislators to imagine new government programs. Therefore, it is impossible to calculate the maximum cost of the GND,” the report notes.

Empower Wisconsin’s Josh Waldoch contributed

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