Monday, August 20, 2007

Sierra Club Weighs In on Sales Tax

Here's the Sierra Club's position on the sales tax. They don't seem to have a position, I think, but global warming is bad:

Carbondale Community Global Warming Committee

899 Rowan Rd.

Makanda, IL 62958

August 15, 2007

Dear Mayor and City Council Members:

Sierra Club and the Carbondale Community Global Warming Committee are not prepared to take a position on the merits of the proposed increase in sales tax. However, on behalf of our members who live in Carbondale, if the City Council approves the tax and the earmarks for Saluki Way and the fire and police stations, we strongly urge you to use the opportunity to help reduce global warming gases and fossil fuel usage with the money that would be generated by the tax increase.

Mayor Cole and Mr. Doherty are proposing to earmark half of the sales tax revenue from the half cent sales tax increase to help build the Saluki Way project - an estimated $1 million per year. This is a forward-looking proposal with the goal of a future benefit for both the university and the City of Carbondale. We are urging you to be even more forward-looking by attaching the proviso that SIU-C must sign an agreement to make the new buildings meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. In addition, we urge you to pass a resolution requiring the new police and fire station buildings to also be built to LEED standards, or to be at least 50 percent more efficient than energy codes now require.

If the city and university are to be truly forward looking, we must plan new buildings that will be energy efficient. We have already felt the "shock and awe" of higher electric bills and higher gas bills. The price of energy will only go higher in the future. Also, we must wean ourselves from fossil fuels in order to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Just this year, we saw the effects of a warmer spring when the trees bloomed early and then were bitten by a week of frosty nights in April. No peaches for us and no acorns for wildlife this year. This is only a hint of the climate changes that scientists predict will be the result of continued global warming.

Mayor Cole has already signed the Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, which pledges the City of Carbondale to decrease global warming gases by 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Now is the time for the members of the City Council to get involved and act on this pledge. This is a golden opportunity for the City of Carbondale to take the lead in reducing global warming pollutants and at the same time cutting energy waste and energy bills.

Attached is a copy of the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which has been signed by Mayor Cole, and also a Courier-Journal article on green arenas and stadiums. Members of our committee would be delighted to talk with you about LEED standards, the Mayors' agreement, and suggestions for further actions that the City of Carbondale can take to help curb global warming, cut energy expenses, cut energy waste, and lessen our oil addiction. We will be testifying at the hearing on the proposed sales tax increase on August 21st.


Barbara McKasson, Chair

Carbondale Community Global Warming Committee

(618) 529-4824

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