We know we’re often critical of the Woodside Town government, and so we like to praise them when they do something right. At last Tuesday’s COWncil meeting, they did one of those things. The COWncil passed a measure that will help reduce our Town’s impact on the environment we share and strengthen our ties with our neighbors in helping to battle climate change.
The new-ish Assistant to the Town Manager, Kevin Bryant, prepared a report (available starting on page 30 here) outlining the increasing role that local governments are playing in trying to mitigate climate change, as well as the steps Woodside is already taking – such as the installation of solar panels at the Town Hall and on the Library. His report recommended that the COWncil allow Woodside to join one local initiative that has received significant support from our neighboring communities, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley’s Climate Protection Task Force.
The Task Force has four goals listed in Bryant’s report, among them reducing greenhouse gas emissions by public agencies and using the bargaining and buying power of multiple government agencies to conserve resources. The Task Force has organized a volume discount for communities in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to perform audits of greenhouse gas emissions by those communities – so that we in Woodside can see how much our Town governmental operations are affecting the environment. The City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG) of San Mateo County has generously agreed to cover the cost of these audits.
While this information is very important, and may help guide future Town decisions on purchases and renovation projects, Joint Venture also plans a further project. They want to create a pool of buyers from local government that would negotiate discounts on buying expensive green technologies such as solar panels and hybrid vehicles, hopefully generating savings for the Town.
In order to take advantage of these initiatives, the Town had to join Sustainable Silicon Valley and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, at a cost of $1,600 annually. This is a good deal for our Town though, since doing just the emissions inventory would cost $26,000 on our own. By partnering with Joint Venture: Silicon Valley, the cost for the audit is just $13,000 – and will actually cost Woodside nothing, since C/CAG will pick up the tab.
After hearing from Kevin Bryant, the COWncil voted to support this plan and join the organizations. We can expect to see the emissions inventory and forecast done in the near future, and then creation of a plan for reducing our emissions shortly thereafter. A local Climate Action Plan is also in the works.
We salute the Town COWncil and Town Staff for their work on this important issue and in helping keep Woodside green!