Mountain News 

Low-hanging fruit plucked

By Allen Best

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Telluride is learning just how hard reducing emissions of greenhouse gases can be.

The town in 2003 conducted an audit of energy used by the town government for offices, bike paths, and bus shops, and is now annually measuring its energy use, including the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Telluride has also changed out furnace filters, installed compact florescent lights, and sealed doors and windows. All that brought down the municipal government’s use of electricity by 8 per cent. However, all of these good deeds were offset by addition of a new Olympic-sized ice rink, reports the Telluride Daily Planet.

Karen Guglielmone, special projects manager, says the low-hanging fruit in energy conservation has been plucked, and it’s now time to begin making fundamental changes in decisions about building, construction, and policy.

The town has signed on to two initiatives: the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Initiative organized by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and Canary Initiative launched by the City of Aspen.


Retailers cranky about sales tax

KETCHUM, Idaho – Imposition of an additional 1 per cent sales tax in Idaho, bringing the total to 7 per cent in Ketchum, has local retailers cranky.

Rob Santa, owner of a sporting goods store, said it puts retailers on an un-even playing field. Catalog companies and Internet sellers “take enormous dollars out of this community… and put nothing back in terms of infrastructure,” he told the Idaho Mountain Express.

Another retailer, Bob Rosso, said Idaho should allow real estate transfer taxes, as some Colorado resort communities have. Colorado’s Constitution as of 1992 outlawed future adoption of real-estate transfer taxes.


Climate change dominates agenda

DURANGO, Colo. – If global warming isn’t being tackled now, it’s not for lack of talking. Crested Butte has already held a conference devoted to climate change, and additional conferences were scheduled this week in Aspen and Durango.

The Durango conference is focused on effects of climate change on water, forests, and air quality in the San Juan Mountains. The mean average temperature in Silverton has increased 2 degrees Celsius during the last 30 years, said Ellen Stein, executive director of Silverton’s Mountain Studies Institute, one of the sponsoring groups.

“In the absence of a federally coordinated response, states and even localities are responding to the reality of climate change,” she said.

Aspen’s conference was more broadly focused. The chief executive officers for Aspen Skiing, Pat O’Donnell, and for Vail Resorts, Rob Katz, were scheduled to speak. Katz was scheduled to make the case that publicly traded companies can be successful and be environmental stewards at the same time. Also speaking was Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

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