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Napa County's Climate Action Committee looking for some 'small wins'

Napa County's Climate Action Committee looking for some 'small wins'

Electric vehicle

An electric vehicle at a charging station.

Napa County’s Climate Action Committee wants to see action, with such steps as reducing special event waste and increasing electric charging stations on its "to-do" list.

This teaming of the county and its five cities and town will tackle bigger projects after a greenhouse gas emissions inventory is finished. But that’s several months away and the committee wants to do something in the meantime.

“Low-hanging fruit” is how county Planning, Building and Environmental Services Director David Morrison put it. Four actions the committee agreed Friday to pursue are:

• Developing a template law requiring events to reduce waste by doing such things as providing compostable, recyclable or reusable food containers. The county and its cities could adopt the law.

• Assessing electric vehicle charging stations and identifying the number of additional ones needed to meet increasing demand.

• Developing a template law to reduce or eliminate parking requirements for homes and businesses. That would include incentives for mixed-use developments to increase biking and walking.

• Making Yountville’s gas-powered leaf blower ban law available to other cities and counties for possible adoption. American Canyon City Councilmember Mark Joseph said this could be a “quick victory.”

And what would all of this add up to?

“None of these are going to have huge impacts on reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Morrison said. “They are fairly small steps …. but they are steps forward.”

Several commission members took up that latter point.

“It’s the large things, the small things, everything we can do,” St. Helena Mayor Geoff Ellsworth said.

Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning talked about having some small wins, things that can be done quickly before the heavy lifting comes.

“We are kind of flying a little blind until we get our greenhouse gas inventory and see what the numbers are,” county Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht said.

The Climate Action Committee formed in late 2019 with representatives from Napa County, American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena, and Yountville. The goal is to coordinate the local response to climate change, though each jurisdiction must adopt its own laws and policies.

A few weeks ago, the committee became more than a discussion group. The jurisdictions each adopted a joint powers agreement to fund and operate the committee.

The 2021-22 fiscal year budget is $58,090. That budget determines how much work the committee can do.

“I think there’s going to be more appetite than we have the ability to get everything done,” Wagenknecht said.

Napa County residents will benefit from this Solano County project designed to end Highway 12/Jameson Canyon backups.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.

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