The City of West Lafayette Common Council will debate a resolution Monday to reduce carbon emissions and increase use of renewable energy sources.
The plan calls to reduce carbon emissions by twenty percent, with an additional twenty percent drop every four years thereafter.
“We’re now getting to the point where we’re ruining out oxygen," Mayor John Dennis says. "We’re sort of changing the way the weather works.”
Dennis says the city owns and operates multiple buildings and vehicles that use significant amounts of non-renewable energy, which he hopes to phase out in the coming years.
Among the tenets of the plan are the installation of more roundabouts to reduce the idle time of vehicles, encouraging more common use of electric city vehicles, and establishing more bike trails to encourage citizens to bike rather than drive.
The resolution asserts the plan will create jobs in clean-energy research fields, as well as decrease health costs for people suffering from air quality-related issues.
“I would like to see things happening as quickly as possible. But again it’s really hard to tell." Dennis says. "It depends on what metrics we use to measure. When we say, here at local government we can cut back on our carbon emissions by a certain percentile, how does that impact the entire community?”
Dennis says the plan also calls for education and public outreach to encourage an environmentally conscious youth.
“Those are the folks that are the leaders of tomorrow, and they’re establishing themselves as leaders of today," the mayor says. "And it’s their passion, their information, their education, their willing to make sacrifices, that are gonna influence people, not just in their immediate peer group, but people around the country."
The city has been somewhat at odds with county leaders on environmental topics this year. Tippecanoe County Commissioners voted in May to ban industrial windfarms in the county – a month before the West Lafayette Council passed an ordinance saying they’re legal within city limits.
Still, the resolution does not have the same force of law as a city ordinance, so Dennis admits enforcing it could be challenging.