City Council Makes Smart Choice Tabling Climate Pledge Resolution

The City Council has made a good decision holding off approval of the New York State Climate Smart Communities pledge.

The pledge was pitched by FEMA as a way to bring more grant dollars into the city. That may be a benefit, but what are the costs and issues that such a pledge could create? We don’t know the answers to those questions yet. As Councilman Brent Sheldon asked, the city has to know how such a pledge could affect the Board of Public Utilities since Jamestown is one of the few municipalities that owns its own power plant. If the pledge brings on additional costs that the BPU can’t cover, city taxpayers are on the hook for the shortage. There should be a review, as Councilwoman Marie Carrubba said, that the city not commit to standards it can’t meet.

And, frankly, the city shouldn’t make the same mistake that, in our opinion, New York state is making. The state is moving at breakneck speed to meet its 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. That law sets aggressive timelines for the state to have a fossil fuel-free power grid that it’s unsure if the state can meet because much of the technology upon which the state is relying aren’t market-ready yet. The state’s decision to dive headfirst into shallow waters is a mistake Jamestown doesn’t have to make.

Council members are right to make sure their questions — and those of constituents who reached out to council members Monday after a story on the pledge ran in The Post-Journal — are answered before signing on to the Climate Smart Communities pledge.


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