Dem Leaders Promote Climate Action
Gov. Evers, Lt. Gov. Barnes advocate for budget provisions, federal spending.
Earth Day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to care for the environment. And this year, policies that address climate change continue to be among the most pressing priorities for Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.
The effects of climate change in Wisconsin vary depending on the season. Currently, Wisconsin remains at a high risk of wildfires due to a combination of unseasonably warm weather, dry vegetation, and low humidity.
According to a WMTV report, more than 90% of Wisconsin is abnormally dry, which can indicate a coming drought. Wisconsin also faces erosion of shores along the Great Lakes, severe winter weather, warming of Lake Michigan, and other environmental issues which are worsened by changing climate patterns. On March 25, Gov. Evers posted a Twitter video that touched on the place infrastructure investments have in the state’s overall climate vision.
“President Biden and Congress made a crucial first step,” said Evers. “The American Rescue Plan is a relief that puts Wisconsin a step closer to the goalpost we set for achieving prosperity in the coming months. Now, we have to take the next step: Bold investments in infrastructure and jobs, especially clean energy jobs. We can make real progress in building infrastructure for our future, while creating millions of clean energy jobs to get people back to work. And as we build that clean energy economy, we’ll be preparing states like ours to tackle climate change head on.”
Evers encouraged federal policy makers to, “follow our lead and make bigger investments and bolder commitments to the clean energy economy. This is our moment to bounce back and build better, together. And it’s our best shot at creating a cleaner, more prosperous state.”
During a live session on climate and environmental policy proposals in his Badger Bounceback budget plan on Wednesday night, Evers again stressed the gravity of the situation. “We have to acknowledge our challenges if we’re going to have a chance at fixing them,” said Evers. “And in order for our state and our economy to bounce back, it’s time for us to embrace a future where we don’t have to choose between protecting our environment, good paying jobs and a strong economy. We can do all of those things.”
Among other priorities, the budget addresses the protection of critical habitats, infrastructure to prevent flooding, “clean energy workforce development” and programs for Wisconsinites to make their homes, schools and businesses more energy efficient. It also makes investments in job training for sustainable, renewable technology jobs.
Evers is proposing creating an Office for Environmental Justice. He said such an office would allow state agencies to work with low income and tribal communities, as well as environmental justice advocates to design policies tailored to those communities. Provisions in the budget also pave a path for a “first of its kind” flood insurance program, as well $5 million for a loan program to help homes threatened by Great Lake shoreline erosion. “Much of this budget builds on the work of the task force on climate change, led by our Lt. Gov. Barnes,” said Evers.
Barnes hopes that Wisconsin’s economy post-pandemic will lead to a more equitable state. “Especially here in Wisconsin we know that confronting this climate crisis and creating green jobs and economic opportunity for all of us has been something that has been top of mind, for me personally as lieutenant governor,” Barnes said during a climate talk on April 2.
“Personally, as the chair of the governor’s task force on climate change, I’ve had a chance to see how the climate crisis impacts every community across the state,” Barnes said during the April 2 session. “This could be whether it’s illness caused by lead poisoning, loss of life and livelihood due to extreme weather events, or even the economic toll on our economy and our farming communities. And we know that lower income communities, marginalized communities, communities of color, rural communities, face even harsher impacts here in Wisconsin.”
“The climate crisis is already affecting Wisconsin,” said Larson, “We can’t wait any longer to take bold climate action. Climate change threatens to destabilize several aspects of our lives here in Wisconsin. Our farmers are facing colossal challenges to their crops with droughts and flooding conditions. … Dairy farms, which account for roughly half of Wisconsin farm revenue, are at risk by extreme heat exacerbated by the climate crisis.”
Larson added, “We’re overdue to making investments in our infrastructure for our kids’ future.” He also noted that three significant flooding events in Wisconsin over the last decade have resulted in “at least $12 billion in damage, and three deaths.” He stressed that, “if we don’t act now, 200,000 people will be impacted if there is inland flooding in Wisconsin. We cannot stress enough how urgent the need is to act boldly to tackle this crisis; this is affecting all of us. We owe it to ourselves, our neighbors, our kids and the next generation, and of course the most vulnerable communities, to build back better our country. We can create a more equitable future for all, starting today.”
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
- Americans for Prosperity Launches Robust Grassroots Thank You Campaign for Legislators’ Leadership Amid Major Budget Battle - AFP Wisconsin - Jul 26th, 2021
- ‘Governor Wins’ on State Budget? - Laurel White - Jul 13th, 2021
- Evers Offers GOP a Second Chance to Fund Schools - Ruth Conniff - Jul 11th, 2021
- Evers Tinkers With Tax Cut - Erik Gunn - Jul 10th, 2021
- Bipartisan Efforts Honor AmeriCorps Members’ Service by Exempting the Segal Education Award from State Income Tax - Serve Wisconsin - Jul 9th, 2021
- AARP WI frustrated but optimistic that budget proposals helping those 50-plus will be addressed by separate legislation this fall - AARP Wisconsin - Jul 9th, 2021
- Sen. Larson Statement on Gov. Evers’ Partial Budget Veto - State Sen. Chris Larson - Jul 8th, 2021
- Republicans on JFC Reject Governor Evers’ Healthy Women, Healthy Babies Proposal in State Budget in Advance of Vote in Assembly - Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin - Jun 29th, 2021
- The State of Politics: Tax Cut Has Democrats Playing Defense - Steven Walters - Jun 28th, 2021
- School Officials, Families Blast GOP Budget - Madeline Fox - Jun 22nd, 2021
Read more about 2021-2023 Wisconsin Budget here