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EENR Committee focuses on energy, sustainability.

NLC's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources (EENR) Steering Committee continued to focus on energy and sustainability issues during its spring meeting June 2-4 in Kansas City, Mo.

As chair of the EENR Committee, Cleveland, Ohio, Councilmember Matt Zone led the committee through several discussions, including electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure, natural gas and hydraulic fracturing, and the connection between public health and food policy with sustainability.

"With the cost of fuel on the minds of all Americans, the committee was briefed and discussed a number of energy alternatives, resources and improvements," said Zone. "This country has no choice but to take a hard look at the energy we use, how we consume it and the environmental effects. The EENR committee is committed to developing solutions and recommendations that will help our nation's cities, both large and small, become more energy efficient and greener."

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During the meeting, several NLC steering committees met together to collaborate on common issue priorities that cross committee boundaries. The EENR Committee had a joint session with the NLC Information Technology

and Communications (ITC) Steering Committee to discuss smart grid technology. Additionally, the EENR Committee had a joint session with the NLC Transportation Infrastructure and Services (TIS) Steering Committee to discuss environmental regulations affecting the transportation authorization debate. The NLC Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) constituency group also met in Kansas City during the same time.

Jan Marcason, councilmember from Kansas City, Mo., served as host of the EENR Committee. "Kansas City was pleased to host the EENR, TIS, ITC Committees and WIMG last week. The opportunity to meet together reflects Kansas City's and the nation's commitment to work cooperatively across traditional boundaries to come up with strategies that address the broader issues municipalities face. The informational sessions, networking, and socializing were all important for sharing best practices as we govern during these difficult economic times," Marcason said.

The steering committee meetings kicked off with a tour of Smith Electric Vehicles, which produces the world's largest battery-electric-powered truck that runs without noise or vibration. This vehicle, the Smith Newton, was the first all-electric commercial truck to achieve new vehicle emissions certification in California.

The EENR Committee took advantage of the many sustainability-related programs underway in the city and heard from several local speakers.

Sam Swearngin, fleet administrator for Kansas City, spoke about the city's use of natural gas vehicles and Bill Menge, director of SmartGrid at KCP&L, the local utility company, spoke about the company's smart grid project and its involvement with the Green Impact Zone initiative.

Brady Hayes, P.E., director, strategic business development, water division, for Black and Veatch; and Kurt Hildebrandt, geologist, water, wetlands and pesticides division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both spoke about natural gas as an energy source, the process known as hydraulic fracturing for accessing shale gas and potential impacts on the environment.

Adrienne Moore Baxter, department of dietetics and nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center, spoke about what city leaders can do to help citizens eat well and sustainably. Richard Conlin, councilmember from Seattle, spoke about opportunities for local governments in the upcoming farm bill debate in Congress.

Additionally, the EENR Committee toured the Metropolitan Energy Center Project Living Proof, a demonstration house to promote the development of sustainable communities by showcasing weatherization, landscaping, efficient appliances and other energy-efficient features. The house is located in the Green Impact Zone, a 150-square block area that has experienced severe abandonment and economic decline.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) welcomed the committee at the Project Living Proof house, where he described the cooperative effort underway to concentrate resources in the Green Impact Zone to demonstrate that a targeted effort can transform a community by putting people and dollars to work to strengthen neighborhoods, create jobs and improve energy efficiency.

The Green Impact Zone initiative includes housing rehabilitation and weatherization programs, community policing and services, job training and placement and health and wellness programs, all built around a comprehensive neighborhood outreach program, and using sustainability as a catalyst for transformation.

Details: More information on the meeting, including a meeting summary and links to presentations, is available on the EENR section of www.nlc.org.
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Author:Berndt, Carolyn
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jun 13, 2011
Words:700
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