County hopes to cut greenhouse gasesDouglas County is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint on the planet.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
Douglas County is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint on the planet.
The Board of Supervisors Thursday approved a resolution to take action to reduce its impact on climate change by doing its part to reduce pollution.
Under the resolution, the county has set a goal to use energy audits to develop projects that would help the county reduce consumption. A small portion of the savings realized could be used for additional projects that would net additional savings and further reduce greenhouse gases resulting from Douglas County operations and facilities. To that end, the county would develop goals, strategies and time lines. It would also provide leadership and education to Douglas County communities.
“I’m in favor of it, but I don’t agree with setting up a separate fund as a percent of the savings to go into a separate fund,” said Supervisor Jack Sweeney. “I think that’s a dangerous precedent to set.”
Sweeney said it could result in others wanting to save money to put in a separate fund.
“The city of Duluth does that — a small percentage of proven savings on fuel, energy bills, that type of thing — they do put into a fund to help their program, which I believe has saved the city of Duluth, I believe, over $4 million in the last six or seven years,” said Supervisor Bob Browne. “With that small percentage, that helps them to do other programs” such as wind generators to help save energy.
The board modified the resolution to state it would set a goal of using a portion of any proven savings for additional projects that would have to gain committee and county board approval before they are done.
The board had previously rejected a similar resolution because the implementation costs were undetermined. However, with the potential of saving money and a better-defined plan of implementation, support Thursday was overwhelming.
The county is also making plans to participate in the Twin Ports Early Adopters Project, which would provide education and ideas for creating a more sustainable lifestyle for generations to come. The year long program will bring in a Canadian nonprofit organization to train two to five county officials in sustainability practices. The project — funded by the Zeppa Family Foundation, the Fund for the Environment and the Mitchell Family Fund of the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation — is open to 12 to 15 businesses, nonprofit organizations and government entities throughout the Twin Ports. Participation in the project is free because of foundation funding.
The efforts to reduce the county’s impact on global warming are a good compliment to the project, said Jerry Hembd, project coordinator and director of the Northern Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or snelson