Rep. Shankland celebrates Earth Day by introducing  legislation to invest in renewable energy and limit plastic

By Stevens Point News

MADISON – In celebration of Earth Day, Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) announced the introduction of several bills to protect our natural resources while committing to continuing to work on clean water legislation.

Assembly Bill 177 would restore local control, allowing local leaders to create plastic bag bans and regulate other kinds of containers like polystyrene. Rep. Shankland’s legislation repeals 2015 Wisconsin Act 302, which barred local governments in Wisconsin from enacting or enforcing ordinances that regulate, prohibit, restrict, or impose fees on the use of “auxiliary containers,” including plastic bags.

On Monday, she also introduced LRB 0294, legislation to create the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority (WREDA), an independent public entity modeled after other state authorities that is tasked with steering and expanding investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency in our state. The WREDA would oversee a loan program, a grant program, and an equity financing program to promote significant investment while providing technical assistance to stakeholders in renewable energy in our state.

Rep. Shankland issued the following statement to celebrate Earth Day:

 “Earth Day is a state of mind, not a day on the calendar. One of my greatest priorities in the legislature is to protect our natural resources, from clean water to renewable energy. This Earth Day, I’m reaffirming my commitment to working on and passing clean water legislation like Assembly Bill 21, my bipartisan bill to create a first of its kind state private well testing program and dramatically expand funding for homeowners to remediate their contaminated wells. I’ll keep fighting for clean water and air, ample public lands, and clean energy. We are fortunate to live in a community that values our natural resources and prioritizes the next generation and beyond. I’m excited to introduce more legislation to invest in our clean energy economy and restore local control.”

“In recent years, dozens of sustainability-conscious communities throughout the country have enacted bans on plastic bags to decrease trash and litter and conserve our fossil fuels. Unfortunately, Republican legislators removed this option for local governments in Wisconsin while Stevens Point was considering it. I introduced legislation to repeal this harmful measure last session, and I am pleased to reintroduce AB 177 now. It’s time to give decision-making back to our local governments and restore their ability to enact the ordinances that are best for their communities and for our natural resources.”

 “Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency is the critical link to securing a clean energy future,” she continued, “which is why I am proud to introduce LRB 0294, legislation creating the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Development Authority. Clean and renewable energy will create family-supporting jobs that can’t be outsourced, and we must transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy to combat climate change. I’m proud of our community for promoting and investing in renewable energy, and this legislation will support continued clean energy job growth across the state while fulfilling an urgent need to be a leader in combating climate change in Wisconsin. Happy Earth Day!”