Local communities sign Colorado climate compact
June 20, 2017
For many years now the issue of global warming and climate change has simmered on the forefront of political discourse, with the debate largely centered at the federal government level.
That dynamic is shifting though as cities and states across the US pledge to address the causes and impacts of climate change independent of higher levels of government. In late May a contingent of county and municipal governments in Colorado signed on to a compact agreement, the Compact of Colorado Communities, in an effort to spur action at the local level.
The Compact of Colorado Communities includes a pair of local municipalities. Both Winter Park and Fraser have signed on with the Compact in recent weeks, bringing the total number of Colorado signatories to 30. The agreement also has one observer community outside Colorado that has signed the Compact, the City of Jackson Wyo.
Tuesday last week the Granby Board of Trustees held an informal discussion about Granby signing on to the Compact. Trustee Becky Johnson initiated the discussion and asked asked the Board to consider joining the group.
"I would like us to consider joining this to continue to fight climate change and protect our community, our fish and our water," Johnson said during the Board meeting. "If you look at the list it is mostly mountain communities. We are aware of what climate change is doing to our water and other elements."
Granby Trustee Paul Robertson expressed caution regarding the Compact and asked to see some additional details regarding what, if any, actions signatories will be expected take.
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"I would like to see some very specific outlines of what their objectives are and the mechanisms by which they would accomplish those objectives" Robertson said. "I don't want us to just sign on to some feel good 8,000 percent renewable energy generation proposal."
The Granby Board took no formal action regarding the Compact during the meeting.
Earlier this month the Town Board in Fraser voted to sign the Compact. Fraser Mayor Philip Vandernail explained the Town Board's reasoning behind the action.
"Climate change is happening," Vandernail said. "Our local industry is based off skiing in the winter. Having a negative impact on skiing is going to have a negative impact on everyone up here."
Vandernail noted the Fraser ice rink melted this year in February because of unseasonably warm weather. It was an unprecedented occurrence in a community that fought a court battle over the rights to the trademarked term, "Icebox of the Nation". According to Vandernail several ice hockey tournaments were canceled this year after the rink melted.
"This is here, "Vandernail said. "We want to do everything we can as a municipality to slow it town."
For their part in the Compact Fraser plans to install a solar panel array at the Town's waste water treatment plant.
"That is the biggest drain we have on power," Vandernail said.
Mayor Vandernail added the Town plans to test LED lights for the streetlights throughout the community to help bring down overall energy consumption as well.