Dillon adopts climate action plan, joins Colorado Communities for Climate Action | SummitDaily.com

Dillon adopts climate action plan, joins Colorado Communities for Climate Action

Fifth grade students at the Dillon Valley Elementary School gathered inside the Dillon Town Council chambers on Tuesday night to pitch a new plastic bag tax or ban.
Sawyer D’Argonne / sdargonne@summitdaily.com

The Dillon Town Council unanimously passed a pair of resolutions at their regular meeting on Tuesday night to adopt the Summit Community Climate Action Plan and to join the Colorado Communities for Climate Action — a statewide coalition of local governments organized to help advocate for new policies at the state level.

The Summit Community Climate Action Plan — developed by the Summit Climate Action Collaborative and the High Country Conservation Center — was adopted by the Summit Board of County Commissioners late last month, and will serve as a guiding document for achieving sustainability goals and reducing greenhouse emissions over the next several years.

“I think this is a really great community action plan, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Dillon can contribute to hopefully reaching some of these goals that our whole community has set,” said Mayor Carolyn Skowyra.

Countywide, the goal is to reduce emissions primarily in the commercial, residential and transportation sectors — totaling a 50% reduction by 2030 and 80% by 2050. While ambitious, the plan also details a number of strategies towns and the county can implement to achieve the goals, including advocating for the rapid increase of renewable energy on the grid, adopting more efficient energy conservation codes for development and providing incentives for public transit use among others.

The plan notes that these strategies are likely to fall short in realizing the goals, though the collaborative is expected to continue to identify additional strategies to help the process in the future.

“With what we have modeled, we’ll be able to achieve a 60% reduction in emissions,” said Jess Hoover, project manager with High Country Conservation Center. “So this is aspirational in a sense. But if you look at how personal computers have taken off over recent years, or cell phones, there have been huge leaps in technological development we haven’t predicted. We know something will come along that will help us move the needle, we just don’t know what that is yet.”

Dillon joins the county, Breckenridge and Frisco in adopting the plan; although Hoover said that they’re expecting others to hop on board. The group will be presenting the plan to Silverthorne sometime in the future, she said, and they will be opening up the document for non-government entities like Colorado Mountain College and the ski resorts to give declarations of support.

“I think that it shows how much community support there is for local climate action,” said Hoover. “It’s heartening and exciting. These are the things our community needs to be doing collectively if we want to address climate change.”

Colorado Communities for Climate Action

In addition to the climate action plan, Dillon also passed a resolution to join the Colorado Communities for Climate Action. The group, which requires a modest $500 fee for base membership, is a coalition of local governments around the state — including Frisco, Breckenridge and Summit County — meant to provide a unified voice on policy issues at the state level.

Despite more than 25 entities currently composing the Colorado Communities group, policy priorities pushed by the organization are required to have unanimous consent among members. That means the group won’t address any policies unpopular among members, and policies that are pushed forward will inherently carry more weight given the amount of support behind them.

“It provides a greater, larger voice at the state and federal levels,” said Tom Acre, Dillon town manager.

Among policy positions the Colorado Communities group has planned for 2019 are efforts to remove legislative limitations to promote deployment of local clean energy options, requiring local governments to adopt energy conservation building codes, and supporting legislative and regulatory actions by the state to achieve the state’s emission reduction goals established by former Gov. Hickenlooper in 2015.

Plastic Bags

At the meeting Tuesday night, the council was also greeted by a group of fifth grade students from Dillon Valley Elementary who gave a presentation on single-use plastic bags from grocery stores. The students, some dressed in outfits made from recycled plastic bags, called for the town to enact some sort of ban or tax on the bags, and provided a petition boasting more than 200 signatures in favor of the move.

Acre said that former councilman Tim Westerberg brought up a similar proposal before leaving office, and that it’s time to get the conversation rekindled now that there’s a passionate group in the community willing to rally around the cause.


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