Your answers for the environment
April 28, 2009
City Hall during the administration of Mayor Dana Williams has frequently stressed its environmental efforts.
Leaders now want to learn how much backing they have from regular Parkites.
The local government has put together a survey on its Web site inquiring about the direction of City Hall’s green programs, a step that comes amid the continuing efforts to reduce the impact on the environment. Some of the questions inquire whether someone wants to be heavily involved in the work.
"We’re always looking for people who want to lead the effort," said Diane Foster, who directs City Hall’s environmental programs.
The city has a wide-ranging environmental program, including promoting cleaner energies like wind power and running buses using fuel that burns cleanly. Officials have been especially aggressive in the past several years.
The survey, which is not scientific, was posted on the Web site earlier in April. Foster said it will remain on the site for several months. The link to the survey is at the bottom right corner of the front page of the site, http://www.parkcity.org, with a ‘Community Carbon Footprint Survey’ icon. Many officials use the term ‘carbon footprint’ to describe the effects a community, business or individual has on the environment.
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Foster hopes a few hundred people complete the survey.
Some of the questions in the survey include:
"To what extent should the Park City community apply itself toward addressing climate change?" Answers include "at any cost," "at significant effort and cost," "at minimal effort and cost" and "effort and cost at business as usual."
What percentage decrease in carbon emissions would someone personally commit to, with the answers ranging from none to greater than 10 percent.
What City Hall’s role should be, with answers ranging from minimal to the local government dictating actions.
The survey also asks about support of building a local solar-power plant or a local farm of wind turbines to harness wind-generated energy. A program that allows people to purchase wind-power credits, which offset their own energy use, has been popular for several years.
Meanwhile, the survey inquires about interest in a mass-transit system between Park City and Heber and another one linking Park City and Salt Lake City. Park City officials have spoken about bus lines between Park City and the other two places as a way to reduce commuter traffic. Public transit between them, though, has not been started. It would take further negotiations between officials and then depend on funding.
Some of the questions broach financial topics like tax increases and using public money to offset the cost of environmental upgrades to buildings, such as installing solar panels.
Foster said Parkites will likely be more interested in volunteering to assist than paying more in taxes or creating additional regulations.
"My guess is we’ll hear we want incentives before ordinances," she said.
A recent report found that the equivalent of more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide was released into the air in 2007 by people in Park City or traveling to the city.