“First Municipality in Wisconsin”: Wausau Passes Environmental Justice Resolution


The resolution that made state history had strong support from community members and groups, city council members, and the mayor

On September 28, 2021, the City of Wausau passed what is apparently the first municipal-level Environmental Justice (EJ) resolution in the history of the state of Wisconsin.

The resolution that passed was largely written by Mayor Rosenberg, based on elements of a draft resolution introduced by Alderperson Tom Kilian of District 3, and a co-founder of Citizens for a Clean Wausau. The mayor’s resolution, coupled with amendments by Kilian, preserved every significant intent and impact of the first resolution introduced — based on the Evanston, Illinois resolution — despite certain misinformation spread after its passage.

Historically, a staunch opponent of municipal-level Environmental Justice initiatives, Alder Lisa Rasmussen of District 7, had introduced her own draft of a supposed EJ resolution at a Committee of the Whole meeting, apparently to undercut any significant local-level progress on the EJ front, but it was essentially abortive. The Chamber of Commerce attempted to stop the passage of a significant Environmental Justice initiative in Wausau but — like Alderperson Lisa Rasmussen — failed to do so.

The resolution that ultimately passed can be viewed here or embedded below.