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Councilmembers join call for federal investment in local ‘green’ programs

Eleven members of the City of Kansas City, Mo., City Council and Mayor Mark Funkhouser are joining a national coalition of elected local government officials to push for federal investment in local climate action to create new green jobs, revitalize the economy and promote energy independence.

“We want the new administration to know that with federal assistance we are ready to put Kansas City residents to work in jobs that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions.” said Councilwoman Cindy Circo, 5th District.

The Councilmembers, along with more than 340 local government elected officials, joined Climate Communities and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability to endorse “Empowering Local Government Climate Action: Blueprint for the New President and 111th Congress.”

“Supporting local government action should be a top priority as Washington develops new economic stimulus, climate and energy policies,” said Councilman John Sharp, 6th District. “Local governments are dramatically affected when our communities suffer human and economic loss from floods, water shortages and other climate events.”

Currently there are no federal programs to support local climate and energy initiatives. The local government climate action blueprint calls for stimulus legislation to include:

• $2 billion annually for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program (68 percent of which would be direct funding to local government)

• Funding the Green Jobs Act of 2007 at $125 million annually to support worker training in emerging manufacturing and hi-tech sector green collar jobs

• $400 million annually for the Clean Cities program to support low-emission vehicles and cleaner fuels, including alternative fuel infrastructure and plug-in hybrid vehicles

• $100 million annually for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program

• Investment in public transit, green vehicles and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) reduction

• $250 million annually for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Local Climate Demonstration Grants that empower local governments to continue creating new solutions to the climate challenge.

In commenting on the endorsement of the blueprint, Councilwoman Jan Marcason, 4th District, noted the leadership involved in the City’s adoption of Climate Protection Plan, Green Solutions Policy and the integration of green solutions into the new sewer overflow control plan.

Councilmembers who signed on to the blueprint, include: Deb Hermann and Bill Skaggs, 1st District, Ed Ford and Russ Johnson, 2nd District, Melba Curls, 3rd District, Beth Gottstein and Marcason, 4th District, Circo and Terry Riley, 5th District, and Cathy Jolly and Sharp, 6th District.

Media inquiries and requests for more information should be directed to Dennis Murphey, chief environmental officer, (816) 513-3459.

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