Hadley officials want public input on climate change action plans
Published: 07/18/2022 09:23:19
Modified: 07/18/2022 09:22:54
HADLEY — Before city officials pass a resolution declaring the existence of a global and regional climate emergency and outlining various methods to deal with it, residents will be offered the opportunity to provide their input.
With the Hadley Committee’s resolution on climate change calling for the city to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as well as suggesting upgrades to every residential and commercial building for cutting-edge energy efficiencies and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, some board members Wednesday at their meeting want to hear from the community.
Board member Molly Keegan said further discussion and comment was needed because the language included in the resolution is important enough to allow for participation from a wider audience.
Similarly, board member Randy Izer said a public forum would be appropriate, observing that farmers he spoke to are split on whether the resolution would inspire them to pursue different strategies.
“Having a forum is good,” said chairwoman Jane Nevinsmith. This forum will probably be held before August 12th.
Climate committee member Marion Parker, who first introduced the resolution in June, told the select committee that many cities have already made statements to recognize the dangers of climate change and begin to take action.
“Recognizing that this is something we must face now and move forward into the future, and that we will be making decisions and choices about how to support and protect our community and our citizens,” Parker said.
Board member Joyce Chunglo said she also wanted the Agricultural Commission to provide information.
“I am not in favor tonight of declaring an emergency,” Chunglo said. “I think that’s sort of jumping the gun at this point.”
City Administrator Carolyn Brennan said City Attorney KP Law advised officials that the resolution was ambitious and did not require the city to take specific action.
Climate Change Committee Chairman Jack Czajkowski said climate change is an emergency around the planet, but the city doesn’t have to act immediately to pursue green community designation with the state.
As one of two communities in the county of Hampshire, along with South Hadley, which is not yet part of this scheme, Czajkowski said it was costing Hadley the ability to obtain grants to reduce energy use. and promote green strategies. He said a study committee is making good progress in meeting criteria and standards to be accepted into the program by Sept. 30 and to receive $130,000 in designation fees that can be used for projects.
During a public comment period at the start of the meeting, Cold Spring Lane’s Tony Fyden told the board he should reject the climate emergency resolution.
Fyden said the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be used by the government to take away civil rights from individuals, and passage of the resolution would do the same and potentially transform Hadley.
“When the government declares an emergency, the people lose power,” Fyden said, adding that he fears declaring an emergency could allow policies to be implemented that bypass Town Meeting and the Select Board.
Michele Morris-Friedman of Roosevelt Street, however, spoke in favor of passing the resolution.
“We’re in an emergency situation and it’s not going to get better for the foreseeable future,” Morris Friedman said.
Morris-Friedman said solving climate change may have to be done city by city, especially since the federal government is often deadlocked and unable to pass laws.
Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]zettenet.com.