After years of setbacks on the environment, in the Biden administration’s early days, it is critical that we take swift action to clean up our environment and address the climate crisis. There are several important environmental policies that can be set in motion on day one that will protect our natural landscapes and give Americans cleaner air, cleaner water and a more livable climate. This report lists the First Thigns to Fix.
America’s waterways are a national asset. They are the places we swim on hot summer days, kayak with friends and family, spend a relaxing day fishing, and so much more. Yet billions of gallons of stormwater runoff and sewage overflows continue to pollute our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. As a result, all too often our beaches are unsafe for swimming, communities are flooded with sewage, and toxic algal outbreaks threaten wildlife and public health. Absent strong action from our leaders, these pollution problems will worsen in coming years, as overdevelopment and more intense storms put greater burdens on our fraying water infrastructure systems.
Clean energy is sweeping across America and is poised for more dramatic growth in the coming years.Wind and solar energy were just beginning to take off ten years ago; today, they are everyday parts of America’s energy landscape.
Recycling rates in major cities throughout Wisconsin reveal one of the more wasteful states in the nation. Based on the most recent available data, only Madison and Waukesha have managed to eclipse the national average of 34.7 percent (see table below). Due to a lack of reporting in certain jurisdictions, the state’s overall recycling rate is unclear. However, given low rates in major cities, evidence from other states suggests that Wisconsin’s statewide rate is even lower than the national average.
Most of America’s school and transit buses run on diesel, a highly-polluting fuel, but there is a better option. All-electric buses are here, and they’re cleaner, healthier and save money for transit agencies, school districts and bus contractors to run in the long-term.
Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.