Green jobs are at stake

Shahla Werner, chapter director of the Sierra Club’s John Muir Chapter in Madison, is concerned about the effects the budget repair bill will have on the environment and the future of many jobs in the state.

“The proposed budget repair bill will have a very negative impact on the environment, but we also need to look at how it will affect things like transit and how the loss of collective bargaining rights will impact organizations in the Wisconsin forest products industry and others.” said Werner.

In addition to advocating for the use of renewable energies, recycling and environmental protection, the Sierra Club also argues that quality jobs are created by green practices, as well, Werner said.

“We not only advocate for the use of renewable energies, but that they create good in-state jobs, that the solar panels be manufactured here, the wind energy produced here and so on,” she said.

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters issued a statement after the budget repair bill was released that indicated portions of the bill would: eliminate state recycling requirements and funding; eliminate grant programs for renewable energy projects and efficiency programs; slash funding to the Department of Natural Resources; eliminate the farmland preservation program; allow for greater polluted runoff; and eliminate support for local transit authorities.

“It is clear from Gov. Walker’s budget proposal that he has lost sight of the fact that Wisconsin’s natural resources drive our economy,” said Kerry Schumann, executive director of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. “While some cuts were inevitable, we expected the governor to attempt to preserve – and even promote – those programs that support Wisconsin’s economy. Eliminating incentives to develop clean energy options and paving over productive farmland are going to put Wisconsin even further behind our neighbors when it comes to job creation.”

“We do need to balance the budget,” Werner said. “But we need to do it in a way that makes sense and in a way that keeps Wisconsin in the race with neighboring states when it comes to renewable energy, particularly wind energy, and job creation. It becomes more about investing in not only what is good for the environment, but what is going to be good for the economic security of the state, our energy independence and the future of Wisconsin.”

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