Brattleboro adopts emissions control plan

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(Host) The town of Brattleboro has endorsed a plan to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in town. It’s part of a growing grass roots effort to combat global warming and reduce dependency on foreign oil.

VPR’s Susan Keese reports.

(Keese) The plan calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by ten percent by the year 2010. For municipal buildings and operations, the target is a 20% reduction by the same year. It’s the work of a task force appointed by town officials last year.

Paul Cameron is executive director of Brattleboro Climate Protection, a non-profit group with an office in the town planning department. The group is part of an alliance called Cities for Climate Protection. Cameron says municipalities all over the U.S. have been adopting emissions reduction strategies, in the absence of federal action.

(Cameron) “There’s really a vacuum at the national level. The good news is states and local governments and regional entities are realizing that global warming is a real problem that’s going to effect us economically and in every aspect of our lives in the coming century. And we don’t need to wait around, we can take action right now.”

(Keese) The Burlington City Council adopted its emissions reduction action plan three years ago. Recent calculations show emissions there have been reduced in some areas. But the gains have almost been offset by the increases in car and truck traffic.

Actions in the Brattleboro plan range from encouraging bicycles to improving energy efficiency in public buildings. It also calls for burning biodiesel in town vehicles.

Brattleboro’s multi-town recycling center is already running its indoor vehicles on a 20% biodiesel mix. The workers say it smells like something frying:

“You don’t get the headaches you got, because we used to get headaches with diesel. These are closed in the winter, the back doors, so it- the air is much cleaner in here.”

(Keese) Biodiesel is made from plants, which take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere while they’re growing. When the plant matter is burned in an engine, biodiesel proponents say, there’s no net increase in the CO2 released. The biodiesel is made in Massachusetts from crops from the Midwest. A Cavendish company called Global E has just begun distributing it in Vermont.

Brattleboro also plans to adopt the ‘10% challenge’ program that’s been catching on in Chittenden County. It involves an online calculator that enables businesses and households to formulate and track their own emissions reduction strategies.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese in Brattleboro.

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