Coupeville’s climate plan takes form

If plans come to fruition, Coupeville could be using less power in 13 years than it did seven years ago.

With global warming in mind, the town is looking to implement a climate protection and sustainability project.

That project is designed to seek out resident involvement to help improve the climate by reducing emissions and power use in town. Officials hope to reduce emissions 20 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, according to a grant agreement between the town and WSU Island County Extension.

The Town Council approved a climate protection plan earlier in the month.

Council members took another step Tuesday night. They were scheduled to approve a contract with the county extension to implement the climate plan. That anticipated decision occurred after the News-Times went to press.

The $42,000, one-year contract will pay for staff and budget to start implementing the town’s project.

The agreement spells out a list of tasks and goals to increase awareness in the community.

Mayor Nancy Conard said the work will consist of an educational campaign for the community. The plan will touch upon such topics as electricity reduction, how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and biodiesel.

She said there will be information given out about the importance of green energy.

One tangible goal the town has for the Climate Action Plan is to document a five percent reduction in power use after one year. Puget Sound Energy will work with the town to monitor its energy consumption. Conard said that goal will be the easiest to achieve, but continuing to find ways to reduce consumption will continue to be a challenge.

The education campaign is designed to get information out to the community so residents will make lifestyle changes and be better environmental stewards.

Kristen Cooley, with the WSU Beach Watchers, said that Coupeville is already a well educated community and she hopes to build on the knowledge residents have of energy issues.

A part-time person has to be hired to coordinate the plan. Cooley said she hopes that will be done as soon as possible. The position should be advertised throughout Island County starting early next month.

The contract lasts for one year and officials are busy looking at funding sources to keep the plan moving.

Cooley said she is talking with the Northwest Clean Air Agency and the governor’s Climate Impact Group about more funding but additional money hasn’t been found yet.

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