Friday, October 15, 2010

Community Input Sought in Boulder's Clean Energy Plan

It’s good to live in a city like Boulder where public officials value transparency of the public process, citizen participation, and reducing carbon emissions.

Boulder has recently embarked on a pioneering process to produce a landmark 2011 Clean Energy Action Plan. The City is seeking input from all stakeholders, including citizens, small business owners, large utility customers, technical experts on renewable energy, and community organizations to shape its Clean Energy Future.
In a public City Council Study Session visioning session on Oct. 12, Mayor Susan Osborne imagined a Boulder 10 years from now that has adopted a clean energy action plan. Osborne likened the City's successful Open Space Program to the City's future clean energy strategy that will "become part of our identify and for which we are known around the world."

To gather stakeholder input about Boulder's Clean Energy Future, the City is hosting a series of public round tables from October 20 through November 10. Called “Boulder Matters,” the meetings are being held throughout Boulder. Organizers say each round table will provide refreshments, offer a raffle, and provide activities for children to make it easier for adults and parents to attend. For example, I just received an email for the Oct. 20 event which will include cider, snacks, and pumpkin painting.

The first two Boulder Matters round tables are:
Weds. Oct. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Fairview High School Cafeteria
Sat. Oct. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Chautauqua Community House

I'm impressed with the website page for Boulder’s Energy Future where agendas, minutes, and background documents are posted from previous City Council Study Sessions. Also on the website are the city's clean energy goals, a newly-created 5-minute video explaining the City process for the Clean Energy Action Plan and near the bottom of the page a place to sign up for an e-group to receive updates, and to post your comments for public record.

Note that City Council Energy Round tables are open to the public and will continue though December 14. Energy Round tables take place every other Tuesday at 5 pm directly before City Council meetings in the lobby of the downtown Municipal Building. The next one is Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 5-6 pm.

Vote YES on 2B
The key that opens the door to a Boulder whose future electricity is sourced by renewable energy rather than fossil fuels is 2B. (Thanks to solar educator Ken Regelson for the key analogy.) All members of City Council, Boulder County Commissioners Will Toor and Ben Pearlman, plus numerous environmentally-conscious Boulder organizations and businesses support 2B. It is now it is up to us citizens to vote YES on 2B to create a "five year utility occupation tax to replace lost franchise fee revenue" (Source Official Ballot for 2010 Boulder County General Election.)

Passing 2B will enable the City to directly collect the $4.1 million per year Xcel currently obtains through its 3 percent franchise fee on your utility bill. The replacement tax will give Boulder direct control over the money for essential City services – with no change to Xcel’s service to Boulder residents and businesses. Passing 2B will empower Boulder to negotiate a contract that will best meet our City's clean energy goals after the current franchise agreement with Xcel expires December 31, 2010. Background on 2B info can be found at and at the Boulder Energy Future website.

Let's Do It!
Boulder - we have an historic opportunity to choose how much of our energy supply comes from renewables. Vote YES on 2B and participate in "Boulder Matters" because these are important matters and your voice matters!

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