Executive Director Kerry Schumann visits White House for the Communities in Action: Building a Better Wisconsin event

Feb 16, 2023

WASHINGTON D.C. – Wisconsin Conservation Voters Executive Director Kerry Schumann was invited by the Biden-Harris Administration to join Wisconsin leaders at the Communities in Action: Building a Better Wisconsin event at the White House today to celebrate progress made by the Biden-Harris Administration and explore the ways Wisconsin can utilize federal investments to build a better Wisconsin.

“I was honored to be there, and mindful that I was attending the meeting on behalf of all those committed to making Wisconsin a cleaner, brighter place,” Schumann said. “And representing the conservation voter movement’s voice.”

President Biden firmly established himself as a clean energy, justice, and jobs president when he signed the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year. Thanks to President Biden and the state’s conservation champions in Congress – Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Rep. Mark Pocan, and Rep. Gwen Moore – and a strong, diverse coalition of advocates, the U.S. has its first-ever comprehensive climate bill on the books.

The landmark IRA is the most significant action the nation has ever taken on climate change – its investments are projected to achieve up to a 40 percent reduction in climate pollution by 2030. The clean energy, jobs, justice, and health plan has set in motion the economy-wide transformation necessary to power homes, cars and trucks, and buildings with affordable and reliable renewable energy while making the U.S. a leader in clean energy manufacturing and investing in communities too often left behind.

Here are just three of the many ways this funding is helping Wisconsin communities:

  • The IRA will allow Wisconsin to grow its clean energy economy and workforce. It will provide tax credits covering 30 percent of the costs to install solar panels and battery storage systems, make home improvements that reduce energy leakage, or upgrade heating and cooling equipment – and no income limits apply. It’s projected that more than 90,000 additional Wisconsin households will install rooftop panels as a result. And, that’s not all. The IRA contains tax credits covering 30 percent of the costs of community solar projects – owned by local businesses that sign up families to save on their electric bills – with additional bonus credits of 20 percent for projects at affordable housing properties and 10 percent for projects in low-income communities. The new law is expected to create as many as 85,000 good-paying union jobs in Wisconsin over the next five years. For example, Alliant Energy announced it will build utility scale battery storage facilities at solar farms across south-central Wisconsin using union workers.
  • The IRA will help families lower energy costs. Thanks to President Biden, Wisconsin has also been able to access more than $95 million in new funding delivered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to help families lower energy costs through the Weatherization Assistance Program. The expanded funds make it possible to retrofit low-income homes in Milwaukee County so they are more energy efficient and resilient to extreme weather while lowering utility bills. Biden has promised to direct at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
  • The BIL will help communities all over Wisconsin finally achieve safe drinking water. Wisconsin will receive more than $700 million in additional funding over the next five years to support our existing Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Loan Programs. Over $150 million has already been awarded. Wisconsin is one of four states partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to accelerate lead service line replacement in highly impacted communities. The Biden Administration plans to work with the cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Edgerton, Kenosha, Sheboygan, and Wausau as part of the partnership. The EPA also just announced $25 million in grants available for small and disadvantaged Wisconsin communities to address emerging contaminants like PFAS. And, President Biden's American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided Gov. Tony Evers with the opportunity to invest $10 million in our ideal version of the well compensation grant program to support Wisconsin's private well owners in their pursuit of clean drinking water.

“This is such an honor for me, but it’s Wisconsin's citizens who care about a clean future I am representing. And every Wisconsin Conservation Voter. All the work they’ve done. The hours they’ve volunteered, the generosity they’ve shown.” Schumann said, “This is a culmination of all their efforts, all their hopes and dreams, their steadfast commitment to a better Wisconsin, a better country, and a brighter future for everyone.”

“This is a beginning, not an end. With new funding and new plans comes work. It is exciting work to be sure, but now we must ensure communities are able to implement the changes possible under these programs – changes needed to create the future we’ve dared to imagine and fight for every day,” Schumann said.

“That means working with local elected officials and communities, working with the Evers Administration to deliver solutions, and to advocate for change at the state level by making our voices heard in the State Capitol,” Schumann said.

For more information

Contact Ryan Billingham, Communications Director, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, 608-208-1129 (office), 608-213-6972 (mobile/text), or ryan@conservationvoters.org