Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker makes stop in Ashland

By KBJR News 1

July 15, 2014 Updated Jul 15, 2014 at 8:08 PM CDT

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com)--- It was a first time trip for Governor Walker to Xcel Energy's Bay Front Generating Station.

"Really what it means in terms of helping this region; certainly with a lot of contracts with folks in the logging industry here and just what it means to have something like this here," said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Since 1979, the plant has transitioned into burning wood for biomass. Governor Walker praised the plant operators, saying manufacturing and logging are a big part of the state and local economy. Plant Manager David Fulweber says the station has a ripple effect throughout Northwestern Wisconsin.

"Wood purchases last year were over 8 million dollars, so that's money we're investing into the community. You know, if we're, we look at, you know, all of our employees live in the local area, so we want to do our part to support the local community as well," said David Fulweber, Plant Manager at Xcel Energy's Bayfront Generating Station.

Xcel's Bayfront Station employs 35 full-time people, and buys wood within an 80-90 mile radius. Bayfront has burned nearly 4 million tons of waste wood, railroad ties and alternative fuels its it's push to use 100 percent renewable energy. Plant managers said they were proud to have Governor Walker visit.

"We like to show the plant and teach people what we do here and what we're trying to achieve and what Xcel Energy's goals are," said Fulweber.

Governor Walker also visited a superfund site in Ashland. The site, under a former gas plant, is in the midst of phase one of cleanup-including soil and groundwater de-contamination.

"I appreciate the fact that they're committed to doing it right. The last thing you want to do is go through something this big and have it done halfway," said Walker.

Ashland has plans for a lakefront development at the superfund site once cleanup is done.

Governor Walker was headed to Red Cliff for a meeting with all eleven Wisconsin tribal leaders after leaving Ashland.