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Candidates, show your greener sides; Ask your local candidates for Mayor and City Council about renewable energy June 30, 2011

Posted by Laura Arnold in Uncategorized.
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Dear readers: Although this morning’s Indianapolis Star editorial talks about the environmental and energy policies of incumbent Republican Mayor Greg Ballard and his Democratic challenger Melina Kennedy, it should serve as a reminder for everyone in Indiana to engage your local candidates for Mayor and City Council to ask them what their views and more importantly their action plan is for renewable energy and distributed generation. Municipal elections in Indiana will take place in November this year.

As the readers of this blog know, renewable energy and distributed generation policies are more than just good for the environment. It’s good for economic development and jobs creation as well as national security. Many municipalities still own and operate their own electric utilities. Although many if not most of these municipal electric utilities don’t own and operate their own electrical generating plants anymore, it is still fair game to ask municipal candidates what their views are on renewable energy.

Please share with us and our readers your discussions with municipal officials. If your local newspaper writes about energy issues in their coverage of your local upcoming municipal elections this fall, please send us a link and we will share it here on this blog.

You also might want to learn about an organization called, Climate Communities. Climate Communities hosts weekly webinars on best practices and other key energy issues of importance to local governments. There is no charge to attend these weekly webinars. The next free webinar is TODAY ast 2:00 pm EDT.

Upcoming Climate Communities Webinars:
June 30: HUD’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants
July 7: Establishing an Effective Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund
July 14: Utilizing Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds for Residential Retrofits
July 21: Enabling Feed-in Tariffs in Your Community
July 28: Utilizing Performance Contracting to Reduce Energy Consumption and Save Money

Laura Ann Arnold

Indianapolis Star: Candidates, show your greener sides

Original article: http://www.indystar.com/article/20110630/OPINION08/106300357/Candidates-show-your-greener-sides?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|p

Jun 30, 2011  

When it comes to environmental health as an election issue, Mayor Greg Ballard has an advantage over challenger Melina Kennedy.

He can truly say he’s done more than his predecessor and her former boss, Bart Peterson.

When it comes to improving the physical condition and energy efficiency of one of America’s least-green cities, however, he has far more to do than he has to brag about. Unfortunately, she isn’t throwing down the gauntlet.

In three major categories of environmental policy where Indy lags behind other major cities, both candidates are distinguished mainly by timidity.

Kennedy does stand out in her call for a comprehensive anti-smoking ordinance, a position Ballard held as a candidate but abandoned as mayor. Many Indiana municipalities, big cities in other states and the majority of state legislatures have enacted such bans in response to overwhelming scientific evidence that they save lives and cut health-care costs on a massive scale. Indiana and Indianapolis legislators sit and squabble.

In two other pressing areas, curbside recycling and funding for mass transit, neither Ballard nor Kennedy will get past the fear of modest tax increases and declare “Yes, it’s time.” The cost-benefit question has been answered by experience in comparable cities, where mandatory recycling is a fact of life and small local taxes have leveraged federal dollars and financed public transportation systems that dwarf IndyGo. Ballard and Kennedy need to bring that message to the community, rather than fall back on a presumed lack of information or receptivity.

In general, both candidates pledge that making Indy greener will guide mayoral policy in the coming four years. Ballard can assert that he’s laid a foundation.

He established the city’s Office of Sustainability, oversaw a dramatic increase in bicycle trails and biking awareness, and is retrofitting 61 city buildings for greater efficiency. These and other initiatives have pleased activists for clean air and healthier lifestyles, though they don’t see them as nearly enough to boost Indy’s low national ranking.

Kennedy says she’d press harder than Ballard has for environmentally conscious techniques and materials to be used by developers. Incentives are given now, but she says a broader vision is needed.

Broad, and bold. The mayoral debate could use more of both on various issues, not the least being the environment. Who knows? Throwing caution to these dirty winds might not be bad strategy.



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