Tuesday, November 2, 2021

350 Salem Offers Detailed Comment on the initial draft Climate Action Plan

The comment period for the draft of our Climate "plan" closes in just a few days, at 5pm on Friday the 5th, and it is striking how little is being said about it.

Oregonian, front page yesterday

From here it has seemed empty, enthusiasm more than policy and plan. All the policy is underdeveloped and shoved off into the unorganized list of Appendix 8; and what might count as an actual plan, a prioritized list of actions, is even more remote, further buried in a forthcoming Appendix 9 that isn't even mentioned on the project landing page any more, after they scrubbed it.

Our 350.org chapter had not made any comment publicly on it, but yesterday they shared comments finally. While they were perhaps more diplomatic, at least from here it seemed they shared many of the same concerns about the lack of actionable plan elements in the so-called "plan" document:

There are several changes we would like to see in the final Salem CAP. In terms of broader changes, we would like to see the priority strategies among the 176 strategies [that Appendix 8] incorporated into the seven sections addressed in the CAP. Please connect the five or six most high-impact strategies for reducing GHG emissions to each of the seven sections. Wherever you can quantify goals or likely emission reductions, that would be appreciated....

The task descriptions come off as good ideas rather than actions. Tasks need to be rewritten to identify specific actions the city will take, when they will be completed, and what city department or official is responsible for getting them done. Otherwise, these are just general recommendations that are the responsibility of no one, with no accountability for follow-through.

They published detailed comments in a long email worth reading. It goes into detail on several other points, fleshing out what would make the document a substantive plan.

Previously in September they published a list of top 10 actions, and in that email from yesterday reiterated it as a summary: 

  1. No more widening (or adding lanes to) existing roadways. No new freeways or parkways. Invest instead in pedestrian and biking network/safety to transit network, schools and major employers
  2. Charge for city-controlled parking in and near downtown
  3. Mandate that major employers implement sustainable transportation for employees
  4. Lobby/support intercity transit and rail at the state level
  5. Improve pedestrian safety at crossings
  6. Require EV charging stations at new (and later at existing) multifamily residences
  7. Send all of Salem’s mixed trash to the Coffin Butte landfill. Adopt a comprehensive municipal waste program to reduce methane emissions
  8. Ban new fossil gas residential and commercial hookups
  9. Exempt System Development Charges within ¼ mile of the core transit network
  10. Hire a city staff person to implement CAP

LA Times, front page today

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