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Build Back Better Act includes funds to create Civilian Climate Corps, boosting climate action

Milwaukee Skyline with Power plant
Posted at 7:42 AM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 11:02:46-05

MILWAUKEE — The massive $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, which was passed by the house Friday and now heads to the Senate, includes funds that some in Wisconsin are hoping could be put towards climate action.

From lakefront skylines to lakeside retirement homes, scientists say climate change is having an impact and there is a big concern that there might not be enough people to solve the issues that are arising.

The build back better act includes $30 Billion to be put towards an organization called the Civilian Climate Corps (CCC).

It's money that would be used to "train and inspire" the next generation of clean energy and conservation leaders, over 300,000, who would help tackle climate change in their own communities.

"It can also involve young people in environmental protection and motivate us and make us feel like we are actually making a difference and we are empowered to fight against the climate crisis," said Molly Larson, a student activist who says the CCC would offer good-paying jobs to young people passionate about tackling climate change.

Leaders with the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and WisCorps say that could help retirees who buy lakeside homes, who need extra "elbow grease" when it comes to managing things like storm water and invasive species.

"The elderly folks who do live in shoreline properties want to do the right thing, but they lack the manpower and that's where the CCC steps in," said Eric Olson, Wiscorps Board.

The extra hands on deck would also help build the case for county and city boards who are working towards goals of cutting their carbon footprint.

The City of Milwaukee has a goal to have 25% of energy come from renewable sources in 2025 and to reduce community-wide net greenhouse emissions by at least 45% by 2030. Eau Claire County has a goal of being 100% energy renewable and carbon neutral by 2050.

"That's a lofty goal. We haven't put a lot of resources toward it but if we had the manpower ti think we could convince the county board to really invest in those goals and make them more realistic and achievable," said Don Mowry, Eau Claire County Board.

They say this bill could offer the funds to help bolster community resilience at a time some argue is more critical than ever.

"It really is an all hands on deck moment and having more people on the ground who can work is very helpful," said Jeremy Gragert with the National Wildlife Federation.

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