Jan 16, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
Relevant sections from a fascinating broad-ranging interview of the independently minded Democratic Morman who's been Mayor for 6 years; http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3406729 1/16/2006 08:16 AM
Questions and answers with Rocky Anderson Salt Lake Tribune
What about environmental work?
I consider climate change a major human rights issue. I think we're going to see some of the worst, if not the worst, human rights problems result because of global warming. We'll see many millions of environmental refugees that will make what happened in New Orleans look like a picnic. You'll see major conflicts over diminished resources, including water and food. We'll see massive diseases in areas that have never experienced them before. So I think that we all need to do what we can to help combat climate change. That has to be done on a governmental, business and individual level.
You have gained international attention for the city's environmental initiatives. Why do you think SLC is touted when there are other communities, such as Portland, Ore., that have more extensive programs?
I'm not sure that's true. I think we've developed one of the most comprehensive environmental programs in the country if not the world. I see Chicago touted as the greenest city but after we did a presentation there, their environmental adviser came up and said, "We may have met our match." When you take a look at the entire, at the full spectrum of changes we have made in a relatively short period of time, it s understandable why Salt Lake City is considered to be at the forefront. Portland for many years has been a very progressive community, accomplishing things like an urban growth boundary that I doubt we'd ever see in this region. But I think what has been most impressive about the breadth of Salt Lake City's environmental programs is how much we have accomplished over the course of just a few years. There aren't many cities that can say that they're already 76 percent of the way toward meeting their Kyoto goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their city's operations by 21 percent from 1990 levels. And that's a 2012 goal and we're already almost there. But I think a lot of recognition for Salt Lake has also been a result of our tenacious advocacy throughout the United States and other countries.
We talk about what we've done not in the sense of touting it but to show what the possibilities are to persuade other municipal leaders. No. 1, that they should do what they can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and just as importantly that they can in fact make significant differences by replicating some of the things that we've done.
What is next as far as environmental programs in the city?
We've got a lot of things. We're constantly exploring better options for our fleet. I'm working with representatives of Austin Energy to get enough people to express serious interest in a plug-in hybrid vehicle that can run up to 50 miles on electrical energy so the manufacturer can be convinced to begin production.
I also want to continue working with Honda and incorporate far more widespread use of natural-gas vehicles in the valley. We have the second largest number of natural-gas outlets and service stations in the country, second only to California. If most people drove natural-gas cars, we wouldn't see the kinds of air pollution, particularly during inversions, that we experience in this valley.
I want to expand recycling to apartment buildings and businesses. I also want to initiate an e2 person program, similar to our e2 business initiative, where people will be certified if they undertake certain individual actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve resources. e2 stands for economically and environmentally sustainable. We currently have 31 local businesses that participate in that program, and I would love to see thousands of people eventually taking measure to reduce emissions and conserve resources.