Vail Daily letter: Follow our leaders to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions
Editor’s note: Find the cited version of this letter at http://www.vaildaily.com.
The Commissioners are leading, and we need to follow.
First, kudos to the Eagle County commissioners: If you ever wanted to know what leadership looks like, Commissioners Jill Ryan, Kathy Chandler-Henry and Jeanne McQueeney are giving us a good lesson in it right now. They, along with communities throughout Colorado, understand that renewables and climate-action initiatives aren’t just good for our planet; they’re good for our economy.
I commend their leadership and their strong record on making clean energy and overall sustainability a centerpiece of Eagle County government. I also applaud them on their ambitious goal of a 25 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2025. We need to follow their lead and make this happen as a community.
The Eagle County Energy Inventory in 2014 showed that Eagle County greenhouse gas emissions on a per-capita basis were 28 percent higher than the Colorado average. One of the leading contributors to greenhouse gases was automobiles and trucks. Not a surprise. What is surprising is that projects that could greatly reduce or trim our greenhouse gas emissions are the very projects being demonized in our community.
Take for example the Tree Farm project in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s a compact, walkable development with more than 80 percent of the residential units less than one-quarter mile from the VelociRFTA stop. Combine density with frequent bus service, and you can take a big bite out of greenhouse gases. Density and focusing growth look “big and bad” but they’re not. They’re the wave of the future, and we need to embrace them.
The greenhouse-gas math on these projects is straightforward. Smaller units consume less energy, translating into fewer greenhouse gases. Smaller units blended with mixed-use development create better walkability and promotes additional energy efficiency, translating into fewer greenhouse gases. Now layer on top of that a robust transit system (VelociRFTA) and you really make strides in curbing our emissions.
On June 26, the Eagle County commissioners will have a chance to lead again with a positive vote on the Tree Farm project. I, for one, am behind them. It’s time as a community to step up our game and make greenhouse-gas reductions a reality.