Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Council member Rupert Cutler on Capitol Hill for Local Climate Action Week

Councilman Rupert Cutler

Councilman Rupert Cutler

Senator Warner, Southeast Local Elected Leaders to Highlight Case for Congressional Clean Energy and Climate Action   

Roanoke City Council Member Rupert Cutler is joining dozens of local elected leaders on November 18  for Local Climate Action Week on Capitol Hill. Council Member Cutler will speak at a Senate briefing along with Senator Mark Warner on Wednesday, urging passage of a strong national clean energy and climate change policy.

Council Member Cutler shares his story about how the City of Roanoke has undertaken energy saving measures that have reduced carbon emissions by 1.7 percent. These include: using biodiesel fuel in its vehicle fleet; recycling methane gas to help power its regional wastewater treatment plant; and installing efficient lights and heating and cooling systems in city facilities. To encourage its citizens to save energy, the city has: reduced the real estate tax rate for energy-efficient buildings; exempted approved solar products from taxation; installed a free trolley and provided free public transportation for students.

Council Member Cutler offered his perspective on how federal stimulus dollars and state programs are helping Virginia local governments build the state’s clean energy economy today, and why federal carbon pollution standards and a reliable source of funding are essential to empower ongoing local action.

Why is this important for Virginia? Virginia’s rich history and beautiful coastal waterways contribute to a $16.5 billion tourism industry. Unfortunately, Virginia’s coast is one of the nation’s regions most vulnerable to the affects of global warming. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers predict a sea level rise of two feet or more, and stronger hurricanes will endanger Virginia’s $130 billion of coastal property. Virginia farmers—who produce nearly $2 billion for the state — will lose ground to droughts and agricultural pests. The EPA estimates that if temperatures rise beyond the tolerance levels of farmer’s crops, Virginia’s agricultural yields will fall by 36 percent.

Like all states, Virginia’s economy is struggling, but the clean energy industry in Virginia is a bright spot. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the state’s clean energy sector grew at a rate of 6 percent from 1998 to 2007. By 2007, nearly 1,500 businesses had generated more than 16,900 Virginia jobs in the clean energy economy

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Local Events, Roanoke City Politics

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