How to 'green' Danville | March 13, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - March 13, 2009

How to 'green' Danville

Council, committee members brainstorm over initiatives

by Geoff Gillette

Climate change was the topic of the day when the members of the Danville Town Council and its various committees gathered for their annual workshop. During the Feb. 23 meeting at the Crow Canyon Country Club, more than two dozen town officials examined the issue of climate change and ways the town can adopt more environmentally friendly initiatives.

Town Attorney Rob Ewing led the discussion, explaining that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) had adopted a plan to implement Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act.

The bill seeks to establish a broad policy goal of reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Ewing said the CARB plan identifies four areas that local governments are encouraged to address in climate change policy.

* Development of municipal greenhouse gas inventories

* Adoption of local emissions reduction mechanisms and plans

* Establishment of emission reduction goals

* Development of a reporting mechanism to track reductions

Ewing said the town has already begun moving in that direction. In the planning arena he said there is much that can be done. "At the big-picture level, if you put housing near mass transit, there is a tangible impact. At the local level there are things we can do and are already doing," he said. Examples he gave were in the Master Plan and the town's continuing trail development.

Planning Commission Chairman Bob Nichols asked how the state would come up with a baseline on Danville's emissions level in order to know how much reduction needs to occur. Ewing responded that there is a lot of discussion in that regard and the fact that towns situated near major freeways are being hit with the emissions caused by the cars speeding by each day.

The attendees then broke into discussion groups to come up with ideas for reducing the town's carbon footprint. Councilwoman Karen Stepper urged the groups to be mindful of the effect their reduction suggestions might have on others. "We don't want to be pushing our problems off onto someone else," she cautioned.

Some of the ideas from the break-out session included:

* Use electric cars in the town's fleet

* Solar paneling on all town roofs

* Look at the town's restaurants and businesses to see how they can become more eco-friendly

* Urge residents to carpool

* Enforce a ruling that students can't drive to school until their senior year

* Tax credits for using natural light and improving energy efficiency

Ewing said he was pleased at the wide range of suggestions, and said they would provide the suggestions to school district officials to use in their own green planning.

Members of the Town Council are currently looking at a model environmental policy put forth by the League of California Cities. Ewing said the policy could be coming before the council for a vote this month.


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