Janesville needs to set environmental goals as a Green Tier Legacy Community, but a city committee said it needs data first.
The Sustainable Janesville Committee is waiting on data from the city to determine its next steps in the Green Tier program, run by the state Department of Natural Resources.
The city council last week authorized the city to join the program, which includes 26 other Wisconsin communities that are focused on environmental sustainability. The communities collaborate and share resources to improve the environment, according to a city memo.
Wes Enterline, Sustainable Janesville Committee chairman, said Tuesday the committee can set goals once it receives baseline data. The data will include a mix of information, such as energy usage in public buildings, natural resources used by the city and ordinances addressing sustainability, he said.
The city will create an annual report outlining progress once the goals are set, according to the memo.
Participating in the program gives communities preference in some state grant applications, which city officials mentioned as a benefit in the memo.
In 2012, the council decided not to become a Green Tier community after several people, some of whom were not residents, spoke against the program.
At the time, the council expressed concern about penalties if the city chose to leave the group.
The city memo clarified that the program is voluntary and no penalties are assessed for leaving.
Council member Jim Farrell, who was on the council in 2012, voted for Green Tier.
“... I went through a tremendous amount of frustration seven years ago when we allowed a group of crazies to squash a very beneficial program for the city, Green Tier,” Farrell said in an email to The Gazette. “If these two resolutions pass, it will remind me why I have been on the council for seven years.”
The other resolution Farrell refers to is a measure asking the council to support the federal Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which would impose fees on producers or importers of fuels that generate greenhouse gases.
The council Oct. 14 sent the resolution back to the Sustainable Janesville Committee to revise into something more local.
On Tuesday, the committee chose not to pursue a new resolution because the Green Tier program already shows the council and community want to combat climate change.