Leaders seek climate change action

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

MILWAUKEE — Native American leaders are asking the Trump administration to do more to combat climate change.

Tribal leaders attending this week’s National Congress of American Indians in Milwaukee told Wisconsin Public Radio that recent wildfires and hurricanes are a sign of rising global temperatures. They said the federal government needs to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Their call for action came shortly after President Donald Trump’s administration signed a rule that would roll back the Clean Power Plan. The administration also announced months ago that it would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, an international agreement aimed at reducing pollutants.

Email newsletter signup

Some tribes aren’t waiting for federal action. The Forest County Potawatomi are trying to use solar energy in order to lower their carbon energy usage.

“They have 30 kilowatts of solar on top of their tribal building. They’re adding 5 megawatts of power to power their casino. And they’re piping in the biogas generation plant heat back into their water system to do their laundry,” said Jodi Gillette, former senior policy advisor for Native American Affairs in the Obama administration.

The Oneida, Ho-Chunk and Menominee tribes are also working to reduce carbon emissions.

Federal agencies are working to understand the science behind climate change, said John Tahsuda, an Interior Department official.

“What is the science of it, what’s going on, because if we don’t understand the science, then we don’t know how to address it adequately,” Tahsuda said.

The convention began Sunday  and runs until today.