Kenai adopts sustainability resolution

Posted: Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Kenai City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday supporting the development of wind and alternative energies, energy efficient projects within the city and open meetings with other local governments on the Peninsula.

"I support the resolution on the compact for climate change," said Nadia Daggett, North Kenai resident and owner of Alaska Wind Industries, who testified at the meeting. "I think this is a great step for us."

This resolution was a substitute for the originally amended resolution supporting the Alaska Coastal Communities Global Climate Change Compact and the Tri-Borough Commission's proposed State of Alaska Energy Policy. The controversial compact had Kenai residents riled up last winter and ultimately caused the city council to facilitate a town hall meeting for residents in May.

Mark Schrag, Kenai resident who attended the town hall meeting, showed up to council chambers Wednesday to show his support too.

"I encourage you to pass this. A lot of time and effort has gone into this -- a lot of positive work," he said. And in a seemingly tongue-in-cheek comment on global warming, Schrag ended his comments with, "how about that East Coast weather?"

The Alaska Coastal Communities Global Climate Change Compact was developed by several communities last year to address climate change, ocean acidification, renewable energy, workforce development and infrastructure in coastal communities. The cities of Homer, Seward, Sitka, Petersburg, Dillingham and Gustavus are all signatories on the compact.

Although he ultimately voted in favor of the City of Kenai's own version of the compact, council member Barry Eldridge said he had problems supporting anything that mentions the compact because of statements in it.

Kenai politicians and public who opposed the compact, like Eldridge, are concerned it is an indirect approval of cap and trade legislation, which they say could negatively impact the heavy-industry economy.

"We will not be signatory to it and we will not adopt the compact," Eldridge said.

Those in support of the compact expressed the need to be on the forefront of addressing global climate change during the public discussions held last winter over several council meetings.

Eldridge made one amendment to the resolution. He said he wanted to be sure the city would continue to support economic development.

In the final version of the resolution the last paragraph reads: "The City of Kenai will continue its efforts to support community dialogue on building and maintaining a sustainable community in the City of Kenai, able to facilitate employment opportunities, economic development, economic stability, environmental responsibility, energy efficiency, and quality of life for its residents."

In one of its first actions after this resolution's passage, council approved payment of a $17,700 wind energy feasibility study within city limits to be conducted by Anchorage-based RSA Engineering, Inc.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at brielle.schaeffer@peninsulaclarion.com.



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