Chartreuse Blog


Repower America Panel Discussion

Last night Repower America South Dakota held a panel discussion focused on clean energy, living green, and what renewable energy will do for South Dakota. The panel featured Joe Bartmann, Executive Director of the Sioux Falls Green Project, Randy Parry, President of the Rural Learning Center, and Matt McLarty, Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center. Opening the discussion was a conference call with former vice president Al Gore urging nearly 12,000 Repower America, clean energy, and sustainability supporters to help pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), currently moving through Congress. Al Gore credited the approval of the bill by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to those listening to the call.

Joe Bartmann followed Al Gore’s call with a presentation about the Sioux Falls Green Project, a new non profit focused on creating a movement to educate and inspire the community to make positive changes in the way we work and live. Joe concluded by daring us to “stop trying to save the planet,” rather we should “change the conversation.” We need to start talking about ways we can save ourselves, save our ecosystems, save life on earth. This way of thinking will have a larger impact on those who are less concerned about the planet but may respond when our own detriment is involved. For more information about the Sioux Falls Green Project or to sign up for the SFGP newsletter visit www.siouxfallsgreenproject.org or email Joe Bartmann at joe@siouxfallsgreenproject.org.

Randy Parry discussed how a community is changing its future through renewable energy. Howard, SD in Miner County was just another dying rural community with a decreasing population and rising poverty until the citizens of Howard transformed their own town. Through a partnership with Energy Maintenance Service and Knight and Carver Wind Group, 247 new jobs have been created. That is a substantial increase for a town of 1,100 people. The 17.61% job increase (compared to a 0.27% decrease in rural South Dakota), the increase in sales tax, and increase in town population has made Howard a model for positive change in other rural communities across America. For more information about Howard and the Rural Learning Center visit www.rurallearningcenter.org.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center, a legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, has offices in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Matt McLarty outlined renewable energy advocacy campaigns by the ELPC of South Dakota. Currently, they are working to connect small electricity producers to the grid, through technical expertise new standards, and encourage wind power development in South Dakota. For more information about ELPC contact Matt at mmclarty@elpc.org or visit www.elpc.org.

The panel discussion was a great overview of current ways South Dakota is responding to economic and environmental hardships. The challenge lies in continuing to raising public support and community involvement. For more information about Repower America South Dakota contact Elena Arons at Elena.Arons@climateprotect.org or Ned Horsted at Ned.Horsted@climateprotect.org.