Healthy economy and environment go hand in hand in McCabe ‘protect and prosper’ agenda
May 29, 2018 - Governor candidate Mike McCabe is calling for Wisconsin to take six transformative steps to protect public health and the state’s natural resources while stimulating the economy and providing new employment for tens of thousands of workers.
Once elected, McCabe will work to:
- Restore independence to the state Department of Natural Resources with the agency’s leader chosen by the Natural Resources Board rather than being hand-picked by the governor.
- Make science central to the DNR’s work again by bringing back 18 resource management scientists whose jobs were eliminated and by reversing the decision made by the agency’s top brass to scrub any mention of climate change from the DNR website.
- Commit Wisconsin to a climate action plan with goals to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050 or sooner, a 50% reduction in overall energy use by 2030 or sooner, and zero climate-disrupting air pollution emissions by 2050 or sooner.
- Shift the state agriculture department’s focus away from promoting and subsidizing the massive-scale industrialization of agriculture and instead prioritize incentivizing small-scale sustainable farming.
- Establish a statewide moratorium on new “concentrated animal feeding operations” (CAFOs) with more than 1,000 animals raised in confinement and remove state preemption policies that block local communities from establishing their own public health standards and protections for the operation of existing CAFOs.
- Provide state assistance to local communities to remove and replace all lead water pipes in Wisconsin.
“No one anywhere in Wisconsin should turn on a water faucet and be afraid to drink what comes out,” McCabe said.
He went on to say that Wisconsin was once a national leader in protecting the land, air and water but has lowered its defenses when it comes to safeguarding the environment. The state also was a model for the nation to follow on energy policy but now lags badly in developing clean energy alternatives to fossil fuel use.
“Wisconsin should aim high and pursue the goal of being the first state in the nation to be fully powered by renewable energy,” McCabe said. “Our state is not even making a half-hearted effort to compete in this race. Running this race with the aim of winning it is not only good for the environment, it’s good for our economy.”
Wisconsin has been dead last among 12 Midwest states in the percentage of the private sector workforce employed in the clean energy sector, he said, adding that if Wisconsin just reaches the regional average for producing clean energy jobs, that means roughly 30,000 more people in the state employed in that sector.
“There is an energy revolution under way in our country. More and more families and businesses are installing renewable energy systems. But as they step on the accelerator, our own state government is hitting the brakes,” McCabe said, noting a $7 million cut in state funding for the Focus on Energy program in 2016. “We need to put our state government on the side of the revolution and use state resources to much more aggressively incentivize energy conservation and the development of renewable energy alternatives.”
Once elected, McCabe will propose a state budget that restores funding cut from Focus on Energy’s budget and substantially boosts state funding for the program’s residential and business renewable energy incentives. He’ll also explore new partnerships between the state and private initiatives promoting clean energy development.
McCabe got his start in life milking cows and working the land with his family, first in Rock County and then in Clark County. He went on to spend most of his adult life as an independent watchdog working to expose and break the grip of big money influence over government. But he remained active in advocating for sustainable farming practices and his efforts were recognized in 2015 when the Wisconsin Farmers Union gave him its Friend of the Family Farmer Award. Mike also was named Environmental Advocate of the Year in 2004 by the Clean Water Action Council.
“As family farmers our job was to feed people, not poison them. It breaks my heart to see agriculture increasingly practiced in a way that is not sustainable over the long haul for the land, air, water, animals or people,” McCabe said. “Environmental protection is not the enemy of economic development. A healthy economy and healthy planet must go hand in hand. There are three bottom lines in business, not just one. A truly productive and successful business is one that is financially profitable, one whose workers and customers are treated right, and one that is a responsible steward of natural resources.”
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