City Hall tweaks environmental plan | ParkRecord.com

City Hall tweaks environmental plan

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

City Hall staffers plan to investigate a new set of options meant to reduce the amount of emissions that power companies spew, but details about the possibilities were not immediately revealed.

The Park City Council on Thursday tweaked what is known as City Hall’s Environmental Strategic Plan, an overarching document that outlines the municipal government’s green program.

The elected officials added a brief section to the environmental plan that states carbon emissions and air quality will be handled "by identifying economically viable methods for lowering the carbon intensity of local electricity sources."

Environmentalists as well as City Hall have long worried about the health effects of emissions as well as their role in climate change.

Tyler Poulson, who is City Hall’s environmental sustainability coordinator, said the addition of the section is aimed at power companies. Rocky Mountain Power is the local electricity provider.

He said City Hall staffers will look at new strategies to reduce emissions attributed to power companies and continue considering cleaner-burning options, sometimes known as renewable energies.

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"If the city’s not looking at it, then who," Poulson said.

City Hall has been a supporter of Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program, which allows customers to pay a little extra each month to offset some or all of their energy use. Rocky Mountain Power uses the money on cleaner-burning energy.

According to Poulson, Rocky Mountain Power customers in Park City offset 11 percent of their power use through the Blue Sky program. City Hall itself offset 10 percent of its power use through the program in 2009, he said.

Meanwhile, in another addition to the environmental plan, City Hall indicates it wants to enter into partnerships with Summit County and other agencies in the area to ensure programming is efficient and to "improve regional success of environmental sustainability initiatives."

The tweaking of the environmental plan continues City Hall’s green efforts, a wide-ranging set of programs that include running buses on cleaner-burning fuel sources, outfitting municipal facilities with energy-efficient systems and encouraging people to walk, ride bicycles or take buses in Park City instead of driving themselves.