Department of Natural Resources

HON Natural Resources Group Issue Statement #1

The forest products industry plays a critical role in the local economies of Sawyer, Barron, Washburn, and Rusk counties. The rankings of employee and industry output are among the top tier in both direct and indirect impacts. Forest lands under all ownerships support the outdoor recreation economy, provide essential wildlife habitat, help ensure clean water and air and are critical to addressing climate change.

We support and encourage commitment to the following efforts:

· The ongoing work of the Wisconsin Council on Forestry and WDNR to determine the future of the forest product industry and the development of the Regional Economic Diversification Summit (REDS) process.

· The Build Back Better regional grant application and collaborative efforts Led by the Wisconsin Paper Council and coalition members. The work of the cluster, reinvestment, research / development, and training should be pursued regardless of grant submission outcomes.

· Enhanced collaboration with new owners of the Verso and Green Bay mills to ensure investments support and align with regional and state goals.

· Continued monitoring of the status of the Park Falls mill to ensure all cooperative or retrofit options are considered.

· Support investment in the current and future needs of the transportation system: county and town roads, short line rail.

· Provide support and training to managers to incorporate climate change considerations into management and devise adaptation actions that can be used to respond to climate change.

HON Natural Resources Group Issue Statement #2

Support for passage of SB702/AB731 Third Party Financing of Solar

This legislation authorizes an arrangement known as third party solar where a company installs solar panels for a customer, residential or commercial, and either leases the panels or sells the power or net-metering credits to the property owner.

Third party financing is allowed in at least 29 states and helps homeowners, businesses government and nonprofits to access the benefits of solar that may otherwise not be possible.

This bill was sponsored by Republican State Senator Robert Cowles and Republican Representative Rachael Cabrel- Guevera. The bill is supported by Renew Wisconsin, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), and Wisconsin Conservation Energy Forumand others.

The HON Natural Resources group feels that passage of this bill would help HON counties as well as the entire state move toward responsible energy production as well as benefiting from the economic advantages that come with the growth of renewable energy production.