Tuesday, February 20, 2007


[UPDATE: In the Wisconsin State Legislature, the "Global Warming Solutions" Bill is coming. "Joined by leaders of Wisconsin's major environmental, social and faith-based organizations and other groups, Wisconsin State Assembly Representative Spencer Black and State Senator Mark Miller announced last week at the State Capitol a legislative initiative aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas pollution emissions from Wisconsin between now and 2020." Please Email Dan Kapanke or phone him at 1-(800) 385-3385, email Mike Huebsch (an exercise in futility, but you never know!) or phone him at (608) 266-3387, and email Jen Shilling or call her at (608) 266-5780 and urge them to co-sponsor this bill. They have until Friday, February 23! Find contact info for other state legislators here. More about this bill here.]

Now, we're cookin' with gas:

La Crosse City Council Members Jai Johnson and Dorothy Lenard are pleased to announce the introduction of legislation to establish La Crosse as an eco-municipality and lay the ground work for a more ecologically sustainable future. The eco-municipality model, based on The Natural Step framework, originated in Sweden and is now spreading across the globe. Wisconsin, in keeping with our proud, progressive tradition, is leading the way. The cities of Ashland and Washburn were the first cities in the United States to adopt The Natural Step approach. Madison soon followed suit and the City of La Crosse is now poised to join this select group of forward thinking communities.

At the heart of The Natural Step is sustainability. Sustainable development has been defined as community development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." But beyond embracing this noble objective, the pending resolution provides the direction and funding to establish a formal Strategic Plan for Sustainability for the City of La Crosse. We’re excited about the solid foundation this work can lay to promote economic growth and development while protecting our environment for generations to come.

Click below for dates of upcoming legislative meetings at which you may appear and register or deliver comments in favor of this legislation.

Public may comment at:

City Planning Commission Meeting February 26, 2007, 4:00 p.m.
5th Floor Conference Room La Crosse City Hall

Public may comment or register in support at:

Judiciary & Administration Committee Meeting February 27, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
Council Chamber, City Hall

Committee of the Whole Meeting March 6, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
Council Chamber, City Hall

Final vote – no public comment:
La Crosse City Council Meeting March 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
Council Chamber, City Hall

Here's the legislation:

WHEREAS, on December 19, 2002 the Common Council of the City of La Crosse adopted Confluence: The La Crosse Comprehensive Plan and a goal of said plan is safeguarding and improving environmental features as a means of promoting neighborhood revitalization, community image and quality of life that enhances, restores and protects natural resources such as the rivers, wetlands, bluffs and wooded hillsides, among others; and

WHEREAS, The Natural Step model for Eco-Municipalities for sustainable community development has been well shown to fit this goal by the experiences of several cities in the United States including Ashland, Washburn and Madison, Wisconsin and over 75 cities worldwide; and

WHEREAS, the willingness of the City to become an Eco-Municipality through The Natural Step program can serve as a model for others and thereby encourage sustainable practices in the City and throughout the region; and

WHEREAS, the following four guidelines were developed by the American Planning Association to help communities implement sustainable practices:

1. Reduce dependence upon fossil fuels, and extracted underground metals and minerals.
2. Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in Nature.
3. Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining ecosystems.
4. Meet the hierarchy of present and future human needs fairly and efficiently; and

WHEREAS, it is important to the goals within Confluence that the City endorse the principles of sustainable community development and prepare a sustainable community plan following the guidelines of The Natural Step Model for Eco-Municipalities.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City of La Crosse hereby endorses the principles of sustainable community development as described through The Natural Step model for Eco-Municipalities stated above, and agrees to apply these principles whenever possible in its planning, policy making, and municipal practices.

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City of La Crosse hereby authorizes the Planning Department to prepare and circulate a Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek a qualified person(s)/firm(s) who will assist the Mayor, All City Departments, City staff and others, in preparing said sustainable community plan.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor shall appoint a consultant selection committee and said selection committee shall provide a recommendation to the Common Council for selection of said person/firm and contract for services.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the cost for said planning services shall not exceed $25,000 for the planning consultant(s) and $5,000 for City staff, printing, mailing and meeting costs, with the source of funds being 2006 & 2007 Community Development Block Grant, sustainable plan funds.

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