Park City wants to ‘go viral’ with green efforts | ParkRecord.com

Park City wants to ‘go viral’ with green efforts

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Park City wants to spread its environmental stand past the McPolin Farm and beyond Quinn’s Junction.

The Park City Council recently unanimously agreed on a resolution calling for outside governments to match City Hall’s own environmental intentions. Park City leaders earlier indicated they wanted the municipal government to reach what is known as "net zero" in carbon emissions by 2022 and reaching that goal citywide by 2032.

Net zero typically involves reducing the use of energies that create emissions and an offset of some sort for the emissions that remain. Net zero does not call for the elimination of emissions in a community, however. City Hall intends to reach the goals through a broad range of methods.

The resolution that was adopted deals with other government entities rather than Park City itself. Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council, in endorsing the resolution, hope to influence others to pursue an environmental agenda that has won widespread support inside Park City. The City Council also endorsed a sample resolution for other governments to consider.

"Now we have to accomplish this goal . . . This is the beginning of the process, not the end," the mayor said, describing the need for "measurable steps" in the efforts.

People in the audience gave the elected officials a round of applause after the vote.

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The City Council did not spend significant time discussing the resolution. Becca Gerber, a member of the City Council, said she wants officials elsewhere to understand Park City’s environmental efforts.

"I want this to go viral," Gerber said.

The City Council received testimony in support of the resolution at the recent meeting. The elected officials agreed to make slight modifications to the resolution after encouragement from one speaker while another person was appreciative of the statement itself.

The leader of a firm called SES Green Energy, an electrical contractor, also offered support.

"It’s the right thing to do, to reduce our carbon footprint," Tomi L. Smith, the firm’s CEO, said.

The statement drafted for others to consider was edited slightly from the one that was presented to the elected officials in anticipation of the meeting. The City Councilors requested the word "audacious" be changed to the word "ambitious" in a sentence describing Park City’s plans.

The sentence reads, in part, "Park City recently set an ambitious goal of achieving net zero as a government agency by 2022 and as a community by 2032."

A City Hall report issued prior to the meeting indicated other communities had approached staffers and the elected officials about the Park City’s goals, spurring the idea to provide them a draft resolution they could consider.

Park City, the resolution says, "cannot solve Climate Change alone. We need other communities to join us in solving Climate Change as soon as possible."

City Hall has a wide-ranging environmental program that includes a municipal fleet of vehicles that run on cleaner-burning energies, solar-power installations and other energy upgrades of buildings. Park City officials worry that a warming climate could someday threaten the ski industry that is critical to the community’s economy.

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