On Monday, January 28th, 2013, Missoula’s City Council voted unanimously (11-0) to adopt a Conservation and Climate Action Plan for municipal activities. The plan boldly targets carbon neutrality by 2025. AERO helped shape the plan through significant contributions from staff and members. AERO Executive Director Bryan von Lossberg chaired the Renewables and Offsets Working Group and member Amy Cilimburg from Montana Audubon chaired the Internal Policies and Practices Working Group. Cherie Peacock from the University of Montana chaired the third and final working group: Fleet and Facilities.
The plan identifies strategies to save energy, reduce the production of greenhouse gases, and save money for the City. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the plan includes a full-time Energy Conservation Coordinator at the City to shepherd the plan’s implementation. Missoula is fortunate to have Chase Jones serving in this capacity. In addition longtime member Steve Loken also participated in the Task Force that oversaw the plan’s development, as did member Robin Saha from the University of Montana, who lead the greenhouse gas emissions inventory process that informs the plan. Finally, member Molly White from Climate Solutions was a key contributor to the Renewables and Offsets group.
The plan owes a debt of thanks for the contributions from Task Force Co-Chair Ross Keogh (Cilimburg was the other Co-Chair); Jill Alban from the Clark Fork Coalition; the City’s Public Information/Communications Director, Ginny Merriam; and EnergyCorps member Andrew Valainis, whose work with spreadsheets was unparalleled and central to the formulation of the plan.
The development and adoption of Missoula’s plan represents a continuation of the good and necessary work AERO members have performed in the pursuit of energy conservation and renewable energy systems in support of vibrant, resilient communities. In 2008 AERO released “Repowering Montana: A Blueprint for Home Grown Energy Self-Reliance.” Of the many contributors to that work, former AERO energy program manager Ben Brouwer helped get AERO involved in Missoula’s efforts. Looking forward, AERO is excited to be in early conversations with members of other Montana communities about how to develop plans locally that help secure a prosperous, sustainable future.