Council OKs Climate Action Plan that regulates future energy uses
Plan expected to meet tougher state-required greenhouse-gas emissions rules
The City Council approved a broad-based Climate Action Plan (CAP) on Tuesday night that could make Pleasanton "one of the greenest cities in California" in the coming years.
Nearly three years in the planning stage, the new plan is aimed at creating a structure of regulations and goals on environmental issues to conform to a new state law, called AB 32, which requires that cities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
The Pleasanton CAP approved Tuesday also is being submitted in draft form to the state Attorney General's Office to make sure it meets a court-ordered directive to show that the city is complying with greenhouse gas emission requirements earlier imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, when he was attorney general.
But council members, in their 5-0 vote in support of the CAP, said the plan also moves Pleasanton toward sustainability in the years to come as climate change and environmental concerns increasingly affect the quality of life for both businesses and residents here.
To reduce emissions and improve water resources, the CAP includes provisions that will encourage the installation of charging stations in the city for battery-powered cars, bicycle racks downtown, free visits to homes by experts to discuss energy improvements, free water-saving devices, lighting upgrades to more energy efficient bulbs, solar panels on municipal buildings and irrigation audits of residential and business water customers in the city.
Several more onerous suggestions, including parking meters and required energy upgrades for those selling their homes, are not included in the plan, although they appear to be still on the table if state energy requirements stiffen.
The CAP, several hundred pages in length, was prepared by Daniel Smith, director of Pleasanton Operations Services; Laura Ryan, energy and sustainability manager; and consultant Jeff Caton.
"Years ago, the city of Pleasanton made a commitment to protect our environment and make this the greenest city in the state," Smith said. "Back then, the terms 'climate change' and 'carbon footprint' weren't commonplace for most cities and states, or even for most people. We are pleased to say that the city of Pleasanton was an early adopter of climate-friendly, sustainable management."
Since embarking on a formal CAP, Smith and his team, including a citizens' Committee on Energy and Environment established by the City Council last year, have held public meetings in neighborhoods, with businesses and public workshops at the Civic Center to solicit ideas for environmental and energy efficiency improvements.
"We learned a great deal from the public that we were able to incorporate into this plan, "Smith said.
Some "heavy lifting" will have to be done by residents, businesses and the local government to achieve the plan's goals, which will require significant modifications in lifestyles involving water use and energy consumption.
One speaker at last night's meeting, David Stark, said he tore out his lawn at his Pleasanton home and replaced it with an attractive yard, designed by a land use architect, that requires no watering.
"What a great idea," said Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. "Let's see if we can develop a list of homeowners that people can contact to consider for their own improvements."
Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio said the job of meeting tougher environmental standard may not be as difficult as it sounds.
"Kids today are already thinking of the environment in almost everything they do," Cook-Kallio, a teacher, said.