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The La Crosse County Board went on record Thursday with a resolution urging Congress to levy a “revenue neutral” carbon fee to discourage use of fossil fuels. The aim is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which scientists say are the primary cause of climate change.

The proposed carbon fee, which would go up every year, would be charged “at the point of production or importation,” with all the money collected distributed to American households as a dividend to offset the higher energy prices that would result from the fees.

The resolution, proposed by board member Mike Giese and approved unanimously by the board, puts the county officially on record recognizing that human-caused climate change is real.

Mike Giese


“Climate scientists worldwide are in near-unanimous agreement that the Earth is warming rapidly, which is causing changes in climate that are perilous to the Earth’s natural systems and to human civilization,” the resolution says. “The primary cause of that warming is human activity, especially through the combustion of fossil fuels which emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.”

The La Crosse Common Council voted 7-5 in favor of a carbon-fee resolution at its November meeting, with opponents arguing that this was not a matter for local government. Mayor Tim Kabat has signed the resolution.

County board member Maureen Freedland argued that climate change is very much a local concern, with the warming planet and more extreme weather affecting many areas of county government and the citizens it serves.

Maureen Freedland mug


“Local government is your basic level where people can be heard. You have the best opportunity to speak,” Freedland said. “Whether it is climate change or gerrymandering, we need to take a position. The feeling of the county board through the years is that we do take positions on issues that might seem like they’re a little bit beyond us.”

The county’s resolution asserts that the carbon fee would help promote the development and use of alternative energy sources and encourage a greater emphasis on energy efficiency. The goal is to reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide to 10 percent of the 1990 levels by 2050.

The resolution also claims that households with income levels in the lowest 55 to 60 percent would break even or receive more than enough in dividends from the fee revenues to offset their increased fossil fuel energy costs.

Giese said the carbon fee approach is a way of leveling the playing field as society moves away from dependence on fossil fuels. “So many of our citizens and business entities have staked their future on investing in alternative energy,” he said.


Mary Meehan-Strub, a UW-Extension agent for 42 years, 32 of them with La Crosse County, was honored by the board and area legislators for her years of service as her retirement nears.

Mary Meehan-Strub


Meehan-Strub, a family living agent who heads the county’s Extension office, is retiring at the end of the year, a decision she said wasn’t easy.

“The time has come to pass that responsibility on to someone else,” she said, noting that she has always had a great working relationship with the board and other departments. “Having a supportive board has been a luxury. Many of my colleagues across the state are envious of the support I’ve gotten here.”

State Reps. Steve Doyle and Jill Billings presented Meehan-Strub with an official state citation honoring her service, signed also by state Sen. Jennifer Shilling and state Rep. Lee Nerison.

County Administrator Steve O’Malley also recognized the efforts of the board that for 36 years has run the Gifted Hands Consignment Store, a county-sponsored shop that sells mostly items made by senior citizens. The county has transferred responsibility for the Gifted Hands store to The Craft and Vendor Marketplace, a company that operates a store in downtown La Crosse.

“It will be more sustainable than the county operating the consignment store,” O’Malley said.

CVM takes over in the new year and will run the current Gifted Hands location on Copeland Avenue as a second location for the company, with the store reopening after a facelift in January.

Election filings

With the Jan. 2 candidate filing deadline looming, few contested races have surfaced for the county board.

Of the 29 incumbents, whose terms all expire in April, only five have opponents who had filed papers as of Thursday evening.

In District 7, Gary Padesky has filed papers to run against Sharon Hampson.

Dan Ferries in District 16 has a potential opponent in Connor Nagy, while in District 18 Sue Christopherson has filed papers to run against Laurence Berg.

Leon Pfaff, the incumbent in District 24, faces a challenge from Kevin Hoyer, while in the 25th, Kevin Hennessey plans to run against Ray Ebert.

Of the challengers, only Hoyer has completed the filing process by turning in the required 50 signatures on a nominating petition.

One incumbent, Kathy Tyser in the 28th District, has filed a declaration of noncandidacy. Karen Keil-Arellano has filed papers indicating her intention to run for that seat.

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La Crosse Tribune entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or

(33) comments


well here I thought climate change and a carbon tax was all about Al Gore. but now I find out he won't get one dime of the carbon tax being proposed. How can that be. All those others against the tax said it is designed to make Gore richer somehow. Not knowing the details of how a carbon tax works doesn't matter they said. And never mind that almost all climate scientists agree with the data that shows the climate is changing due to our heavy use of carbon fuels. Its all a big conspiracy, to what end I don't know. We can't have decisions that are science based or scientifically researched, Trump won't allow those words to be used anymore. So let's pollute all we want, with no thought given to future generations. Let's ignore the warnings and rising sea levels and pretend its all normal and not a result of our actions. Let's live our lives like helpless little children, listening to alt media and tea bagger propaganda, and be good sheeple for the carbon energy companies. Oh wait, even the oil companies admit to human caused climate change. Well let's forgive them for that ill gottan conclusion, and make sure they never say that again.


With the exception of a few fact-resistant cranks, there is near universal agreement that we are destroying our environment through the profligate release of carbon. Any effort to slow the stream of pollution is a good idea.

Rick Czeczok

Prove to me that this is not a natural cycle of the earth, and yes through earth layer samples they have proven that this has happened before, many times.
Otherwise you and Al Gore who's huge homes, private jet's, etc. cause more of a carbon footprint then the next 25 people, are hypocrites.
Go outside and give your tree a big hug. Yikkies.......


The proof has already been presented to you. The fact that you choose to deny reality is strictly your problem.

Rick Czeczok

Hide behind a fake name, fake gender sounding name, and all your fake news. Add them all up, your theories, comments, and person are FAKE....
Give your real name, or your opinions don't matter.


The name matters less than your denial of facts and reality.


Rick Czeczok Dec 23, 2017 7:46pm

Hide behind a fake name, fake gender sounding name, and all your fake news. Add them all up, your theories, comments, and person are FAKE....
Give your real name, or your opinions don't matter.

Hey Rick, I hate to break it to you, this is America where everyone can have an opinion whether using their real name or not and if you don't think so go back to Fastenal and learn something yourself.

Rick Czeczok

Well Cape you can read and use google as your favorite source once again. Learn that when you insult and try to ruin the integrity of someone in a paper, you can be charged and in a court of law for slander. The DA only has to call the tribune for your real name. So you and some others on this board keep doing what you are doing and you will see that there are laws as far as what the 1st amendment will protect you against. Now go on google and start reading.


Rick Czeczok, what's your point? Who on here ""slandered" you? I can't wait to hear this one.


"The DA only has to call the tribune for your real name." Do you have ANY idea how the Internet works, Rick Czeczok? You are apparently pretty clueless on multiple subjects.


Well, Cassandra, looks like Rick slinked off like several others when they can't come up with a clever answer to an easy question. Sucks sometimes when you get the best of people. They get their feelings hurt and you don't get an honest answer.


So in your closed mind...anyone who disagrees with you is a crank. Your liberal parent did a number on you.


One has to wonder why these dimwits are wasting time with such issues. However they dont get paid much so their pursuit of their own political agenda instead of acting on behalf of County residents should come as no surprise.

Our utility bills have increased at 3 times the rate of inflation for many years, even while fuel (coal and natural gas) prices are at historic lows. Xcel Energy tells us these shocking increases are to fund the "green" capital projects, especially solar and wind energy.

Therefore, maybe the County Board should realize their constituents are already paying for Liberal energy policy and will be for decades, even if that investment was halted today. We are already being "taxed" as a result of their ridiculous agenda.

And if you want to buy my vote by "redistributing" wealth to me...shove your redistribution.

The county board acted unanimously on this need for voters to remember names, just vote against the incumbants.


Maybe the problem isn't that your utility bills have increased. Maybe the problem is that wages have remained stagnant while corporate profits and reserves in overseas tax haven's have gone through the roof.


MY wages have not remained stagnant, thank you.

My utility bills have increased 3x inflation.

Buggs Raplin

In the final analysis, the County Board is just a rubber stamp for whatever purposes the powers that be want accomplished. The Board unanimously gave the OK to tear down the beautiful old Courthouse to make way for a Montgomery Wards store, which then became a parking lot, but a functional parking lot. Along comes Don Weber with his proposal for Belle Square to replace the functional parking lot, which the County Board approved in haste before significant opposition could mount. Weber originally promised 500 new jobs to get its approval. County Board Chairman O'Malley told us those 500 jobs would all be family supporting jobs. That hasn't happened. Again, that hasn't happened, even though LHI got a huge government contract a few years later, and now some LHI jobs are going there. But this was unforeseen at the time the County Board rubber stamped its approval, which of course necessitated the expense for taxpayers of constructing another parking ramp. Now what we have is essentially an apartment complex for the wealthy, with a few businesses locating within, but no real job creation as proposed. No market as promised. No major retailer as Weber hoped for. No 500 new jobs, no 500 family supporting new jobs as O'Malley stated, and now our rubber stamp County Board has unanimously endorsed the global warming hoax rendering each and every one of them fools in the eyes of those who can see beyond the bullsh*t of the fake news mainstream media.


You honestly thought that eyesore of a parking lot was better than what's there now? Really? You realize that several decades have come and gone since that old Courthouse and Wards building were demolished. Did you think it would stay a parking forever? You think Weber lied about those jobs that are coming this Spring? Really? Usually it's the devil whispering in your ear. I'm wondering who else may be doing that now because you're painting yourself in a corner pitting your belief against Weber. I'm betting the jobs come not only there but at another location as well. I hope for once in your life you will come back here and admit your wrong instead of heading down dead end roads because that old parking lot you thought was so functional sure didn't provide many jobs.


Rick Czeczok Dec 22, 2017 3:51pm

Thank you Mr. Weber for all you have done for LaCrosse, and continue to do for us. Oh and you became rich doing it, what a great country we live in, where an idea can do so much good for all. I just wish people would stop attacking people who have made it in this country. Come up with an idea and go for it, that's how it works. Not waiting for a government to hand you everything.

Rick Czeczok

What's your point?


I posted your comment for Buggs because I agree with it. I'm waiting for his response to both of the comments. Capiche?

Rick Czeczok

Feds give us tax break, and this county government doesn't let the ink dry before they start talking about raising money through some sort of a trumped up tax (oh fee, sorry is there a difference). You people make me sick. Vote them all out, let's start over with a board that works for the people not the other way around. Small minds keep coming up with small ideas. If they say stupid stuff enough times, they start to believe their ignorant ideas. Stop it!!!


Totally we have to wait till their terms end. ...thus allowing more damage done till then.


Most important is to contact your state rep (Sen Ron Johnson etc..) which is where this request is going. Tell your rep you Do Not approve of the Lacrosse County Board action regarding this and to NOT support it.


Let's remember these board members who supported this outrageous climate tax.....and vote them out. Mr Geise should be the first to go. It was his crazy idea!


I saw a group of disgruntled, disenfranchised, non-ID-carrying non-voters this morning who all were grumbling about the heating degree days being at 1986 this season, compared to 2381 for a normal season...

They were also complaining about the 3 inches of snow to date we've had so far this season, compared to a normal 12.4 inches...

Yep, folks. Global warming causes climate change, which causes extremes in our weather, which has resulted in these irregularities in our winter season so far... lol

Al Gore 2020
Be a believer in planet fever!

you think you know

So you charge energy manufacturers a fee. You take said fee and distribute it to the people. In the mean time, the energy manufacturers increase their rates to cover the aforementioned fee. In the end, it's a wash to both manufacturer and consumer. But, the government will find a way to tax both the fee, and of course will tax the higher energy rate. Win for big government.

random annoying bozo

we all know that giving government more money will solve all of our problems, right?

I guess to really create an ideal world, people should give all their money and possessions to government, and a benevolent government will supply all of our wants and needs ..... that it deems necessary of course.

Buggs Raplin

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins-all of the imaginary.-H.L. Mencken

The above quote nails the human-caused global warming/climate change hoax. The Fake News media and its little cog, the La Crosse Tribune, have functioned to keep the public alarmed. It's a continuing crusade. The Tribune has afforded religionists in this crusade numerous guest editorials. Over 30 in the last 4-5 years by my count, and only one opposing the hoax. The national fake news media has done the same thing in its coverage. The fossil fuels we depend on to survive the winter; that provide our transportation, and make our lives comfortable through electricity have been demonized in the pursuit of the carbon tax. That is the goal of the hoaxers-the carbon tax, and today we learn that the County Board in a unanimous vote has joined the crusade. The so-called "science" supporting the hoax has been corrupted. Scientists have omitted or obfuscated data that didn't support their theory. Recently we learned scientists had faked data trying to show rising sea levels that weren't actually rising. Yes, the world's climate changes: 5 ice ages, the medieval warm period, the mini-ice age that followed and subsequent periods of warming and cooling. The Occam's Razor concept states that often the simplest explanation for something is often correct. Applying that concept, it is the sun's activity that is the cause because most of our major climate changes occurred long ago before the use of fossil fuels. Today, the religious hoaxers take any bad event like the hurricane in Houston or the wildfires in Southern California, or a heavy rainfall in the Coulee Region, and attribute them to human-caused climate change and the use of fossil fuels. For gullibles, this makes sense even though we've always had hurricanes, tornados, wildfires and deluges. But fear is the great motivator. The elite forces that desire the carbon tax know that. That's why their servants in the media are using it to scare you into believing a scam.-Chip DeNure aka Buggs Raplin


That quote fits perfectly with the actions of Trump and company.

Buggs Raplin

No balance at all to this story. Typical Tribune. You'd think there was no opposition to this hoax, which has become a new religion. Hey, County Board members, if you're so concerned about the use of fossil fuels, why not pass a resolution condemning Rotary Lights?


I agree. Send Mr Geise a message....Global Warming is a farce....Whistleblowers at NAOO admitted the government manipulated the data to fool us into believing it. NOT! The Lacrosse Board are drinking the Al Gore Kool aid. Why not let the VOTERS decide rather than the Obama /Hillary followers deciding for us!


The county board of idiots.


What an unbelievable joke. It's time to put actual serious people on the county board.

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