Bozeman Plan to Regulate Carbon Approved by City Commission
Uncomfortable with Cost and Intrusiveness, Mayor Votes Nay
The Bozeman City Commission voted 4 to 1 late last month to move forward with a Community Climate Action Plan described even by proponents as expensive and challenging. The plan is meant to reduce the community’s “carbon footprint” below 2008 levels, and includes 39 recommendations that will regulate certain ways people in town live and do business.
While Deputy Mayor Sean Becker said the city would “try to make things as voluntary as possible,” the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported, and that ongoing decisions would be required to enact the plan, Mayor Jeff Krauss voted against the measure and cited his concerns over the cost of implementation and infringe-ment on personal freedoms. Krauss said he had "a difficult time with a plan that tells people what to do."
The plan, still a work in progress that will require future decisions, would regulate Bozeman’s greenhouse gas emissions to 10 metric tons from 13 metric tons by 2020, and drop the total emissions by a factor of 10 percent below 2008 levels by the year 2025.
Commissioner Cyndy Andrus admitted that the plan would cost a lot of money and be challenging, but supported it in the name of sustainability.
Since 2009, a volunteer citizen task force had been preparing a working draft plan that contained dozens of recommendations. such as hiring a new full-time city sustainability czar and building alternative energy facilities. Other measures the city may enforce include fining residents who leave their vehicles running, adding a tax on plastic bags, and curtailing the distribu-tion of telephone books.
Krauss expressed concern about the cost of a full-time sustainability position and a waste study called for in the plan, though the mayor supports many of the recommendations and subscribes to the theory of man caused global warming.
Krauss said, citing the city’s limited resources, that he would rather see the money required to enact the Community Climate Action Plan spent on college programs.