BANGOR – A resolve and energy policy on the City Council’s meeting agenda for Monday night drew roughly a dozen environmentally minded people to City Hall, five of whom took to the podium to applaud the steps the city is taking to curb energy consumption and carbon emissions.
The Bangor resolve stems from a meeting late last year with representatives of the Sierra Club’s Maine chapter and Maine Partners for Cool Communities, including members of the Cool Bangor Coalition.
At the time, the city already was working on a policy outlining 14 steps the city has taken, is taking or will take to cut energy use and carbon emissions.
Bangor officials have described the resolve, which urges state and federal officials to take similar steps, as a localized version of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
The mayors’ pact was initiated in February 2005 when the United States failed to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement approved by 141 other countries that aimed to address global climate disruption by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels launched the initiative to get mayors in 141 U.S. cities to sign on to advance the Kyoto goals through local measures of their own.
On Monday, the Bangor council adopted both measures by unanimous votes.
Resident Hope Brogunier is among those who have been watching the councilors’ work on the two documents closely. On Monday, she called their adoption “a terrific step and something to be proud of.”
Anita Kurth, another resident, said that although environmental issues tend to bring the same people to City Hall “over and over,” Monday’s vote to adopt the policy and resolve brought her to her first council meeting ever in her 25 years as a resident.
“I just want you to know that the rest of us care, too,” Kurth said.
The topic also was of interest to residents of outlying communities, including Old Town science educator Medea Steinman, who said she hoped Bangor’s actions “will inspire others.”
The overall goal of Bangor’s energy policy is to cut energy costs and reduce the city’s carbon footprint by maximizing energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources when available and affordable.
Specific steps to that end include using energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, enforcing the city’s anti-idling mandate for city vehicles and buses, and increasing recycling rates within city government and the broader community.