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Megan Severson,
Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center

12,000 Citizens call for passage of Clean Energy Jobs Act

For Immediate Release

Madison – Today at the Capitol, a coalition of organizations announced that 12,000 Wisconsinites have signed a postcard to their legislators in support of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The announcement comes three weeks after four hundred citizens visited the Capitol at the annual conservation lobby day, indicating a groundswell of support for the bill.

“We’ve knocked on thousands of doors in communities across Wisconsin and one thing is clear: the public wants clean energy and they want it now,” said Dan Kohler, Wisconsin Environment Director. “People in Wisconsin are deeply concerned about our dependence on oil and dirty coal and they know we can do better by harnessing homegrown, clean energy sources such as wind and solar power, and by using energy more efficiently.”

The 12,000 postcards and letters in support of the bill come from citizens in hundreds of communities across Wisconsin. Following the event, a group of citizens planned to deliver the postcards to the offices of 88 of 99 state representatives and all 33 state senators. The citizens then planned to testify in favor of the bill at the final scheduled public hearing of the Assembly Clean Energy Jobs committee.

Deb Karpfinger, a small business owner from Wauwatosa, was among the citizens that traveled to the Capitol to support the bill. “Clean energy and air quality are issues close to me as my daughter has severe asthma,” said Karpfinger. “I am speaking in Madison because I feel strongly that we all need to step up to the plate for our environment - globally, nationally, and especially right here in Wisconsin.”

In their statements supporting the Clean Energy Jobs Act, citizens cited five key provisions they believe are critical including increasing Wisconsin’s commitment to renewable energy to 25% by 2025, increasing investments in energy efficiency programs, making cars and fuels cleaner and reducing pollution from dirty power plants.

“I can’t help think about the future of our planet,” said Heidi Speight, a Madison resident who’s expecting her first child in April. “I believe we have an obligation to use cleaner energy so we can pass on a healthier environment to future generations.”

Event participants said they believe that developing clean energy technologies in Wisconsin can help the state innovate and compete economically as other states and countries pursue new clean energy jobs. In addition, they stressed that conservation and efficiency programs can help save consumers money by being smarter about how we use energy.

They also expressed skepticism about opponent’s claims that using more clean energy would cause dire economic harm to the state. “I remember the exact same arguments being used when acid rain legislation was proposed years ago,” said Will Stahl, a semi-retired teacher from Neenah. “Opponents of these kinds of initiatives always try to exaggerate the potential costs. Personally, I believe we need to innovate to achieve more energy independence.”

"The public hearings and today's event show that thousands of average citizens, farmers and many small businesses support the Clean Energy Jobs Act, while big oil and coal lobbyists, whose profits are tied to foriegn oil and fossil fuels, oppose it," said Keith Reopelle, Senior Policy Director for Clean Wisconsin. "This bill won't pass unless legilsators listen to the citizens of Wisconsin and stand up to big oil and coal lobbyists."

Public polling in Wisconsin has consistently shown strong support for state action to develop clean energy technologies. “Today’s event reinforces that support for legislative action to promote clean energy is strong,” said Kohler.

The event participants said they look forward to working with the Governor’s office and the Legislature to pass a strong clean energy jobs bill.

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Citizens Utility Board ** Clean Wisconsin ** Environmental Law & Policy Center ** League of Women Voters ** Midwest Environmental Advocates ** Sierra Club, John Muir Chapter ** Wisconsin Community Action Program (WisCAP) ** Wisconsin Council of Churches ** Wisconsin Environment ** Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters