Sierra Club Wisconsin: La Crosse commits to 100 percent clean, renewable energy

Contact:
Kathy Allen, [email protected]
Cathy Van Maren, [email protected]

The fifth city in Wisconsin adopts a goal to move away from fossil fuels

LA CROSSE, WI — Today, Mayor Tim Kabat joined local leaders in announcing the City of La Crosse’s goal to transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. On July 11, the La Crosse City Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a goal of 100% clean, renewable energy across the city by 2050. 

La Crosse joins Eau Claire, Madison, Middleton, and Monona as the fifth Wisconsin city to adopt this goal. The city will also aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The City of Milwaukee also passed a resolution last week to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and to mitigate racial and economic equity through the jobs that would be created.

The resolution was drafted by members of the Coulee Region Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 team, the Sustainable La Crosse Commission, and a representative from the city planning department. As part of the resolution, “the City envisions a climate and energy planning process that will reflect community values and promote stakeholder participation to develop low-carbon means to reach these goals. Stakeholders include residents, low-income and minority populations, large and small businesses, local utilities, the educational community, institutions, the building and construction sector, transportation providers, waste companies and many others.”

A recent report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) found that $14.4 billion in expenditures leaves the state annually to pay for energy, primarily from fossil fuels. In 2018, 49% of Wisconsin’s electricity state-wide came from coal-fired power plants, with an additional 26% from fracked gas. Transitioning to in-state renewable energy would allow much of this money to stay closer to home and would create over 150,000 jobs. Local demand for clean energy continues to grow even as Wisconsin utilities look to new fracked gas plants, like Dairyland’s proposed Nemadji Trail Energy Center. As more communities join in demanding 100% clean energy, the Sierra Club is pushing utilities to leave dirty fossil fuels behind all together.

In response, Kathy Allen, Sierra Club Ready for 100 lead volunteer in La Crosse, issued the following statement:

“We very much appreciate that the City of La Crosse had already set a goal to obtain 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, but given the dire warnings we’ve received from scientists about looming environmental crises over the past year, we couldn’t stop there. Transitioning to 100% renewable energy will not only address environmental concerns such as climate change, it will improve human health by cutting air and water pollution from fossil fuels like coal and gas. We’re proud that La Crosse will be contributing to a healthier planet, healthier people, and a healthy economy.”

Dorothy Lenard, a member of the joint city-county Sustainable La Crosse Commission, stated: 

“The Commission is very pleased that the La Crosse City Council has passed legislation to be free of carbon emissions and obtain energy from 100% renewable energy sources by the year 2050. The Commission has been working on increasing the sustainability of the greater La Crosse community for approximately 10 years and this legislation updates their goals and aligns them with similar efforts across the country. The support shown by the La Crosse City Council is greatly appreciated and challenges the Commission to further their efforts to realize the outcomes as outlined in the legislation.”

City Council Member Larry Sleznikow stated:

“The City of La Crosse took an important step to ultimately zero its carbon footprint and limit climate change with the adoption of the Carbon neutrality and 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 resolution. This is exciting news for our community and its residents. Climate change affects everything — our weather, economy, infrastructure, health, environment, biodiversity, security, agriculture, etc. La Crosse’s Mayor, city government, and staff plan to work together to meet the targets outlined in the resolution to achieve our carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy goals by 2050.”

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