Department of Natural Resources
HON Natural Resources Cluster Issue Statement #1
Support the reintroduction and passage of the 2022 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 for 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 Representative
rachael Cabrel-Guevera. The bill was supported by Renew Wisconsin, Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), and Wisconsin Conservation Energy Forum.
The HON Natural Resources Cluster feels that reintroduction and passage of this bill would help residents and organizations in HON counties, and the entire state, move toward responsible energy production while benefiting from the economic advantages that come with the growth of renewable energy production. Currently Wisconsin law neither allows nor prohibits third party solar financing. So, approval or denial of plans involving third party solar financing continues to be decided on a case by case basis. This often leaves stakeholders reluctant to proceed with plans that would otherwise contribute to meeting our urgent need to transition to a clean energy economy.
HON Natural Resources Cluster Issue Statement #2
Support for Hiring Additional Conservation Wardens.
Recruitment, Training and Retention of Conservation Wardens by The Wisconsin DNR has become increasingly challenging in recent years. About 150 Conservation Wardens are charged with enforcing the laws that protect the fish, wildlife, the environment, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts. This is less than two wardens per county. In the four HON counties, and many others, tourism is a major economic driver and is growing rapidly. This growth increases the challenges and workload of our 150 Conservation Wardens. More visitors to our State Parks, more miles of trails and more vehicles on them, more boats, canoes, and kayaks on our lakes, rivers, and streams. More and busier events such as the American Birkebeiner. All this requires more of our Wardens.
While this growth is an economic benefit it comes with challenges to those charged with enforcing the laws that protect our treasured natural resources and the residents and visitors that enjoy them. As we continue to ask more from our Conservation Wardens the financial support they receive has been flat for a number of years. This is forcing cutbacks on staffing and services at all levels including Enforcement. These dedicated men and women do challenging, difficult, sometimes dangerous, and hopefully rewarding work. They need more staff and other financial support