In the spirit of compromise

To the editor:

Compromises often begin with “all or nothing” positions, and so it was with the Renewable Energy Credits debate. One group advocated sending all REC dollars to the city’s Sustainable Reserve Fund. A second group believed the credit belonged to our electric customers and that all should be returned to them. A third group thought all of the dollars should be held by the city for programs yielding long-term gains in sustainability.

These positions were expressed with passion, which occasionally spilled over into disrespect with tones of moral authority from all sides.

Yet today, after months of discussion, with input from city administration, city council, and concerned citizens, we have arrived at a compromise in which we call can take pride and which moves us toward our shared goals of sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Two efforts will be funded immediately: converting city street lights to LEDs and providing additional support to Greg Jones’ outstanding efforts to insulate and rehab homes through the POWER program. Information circulating that the city will not fund home upgrades adequately is simply false — those efforts are in place at this moment.

Council has created a Community Choice Fund whereby any individual or organization may return all or part of their credit to the city. Those moneys will be used for both short- and long-range projects that mirror the goals of our Climate Action Plan.

I support the right of citizens to organize a referendum. This, however, is an attempt by one group to eliminate all credits to consumers and rob them of choice. The hard work and months of discussions that led to compromise would be negated and all efforts to turn REC dollars into active programs would be stalled.

Please think carefully before signing these petitions and be sure you understand thoroughly the consequences of one group’s rigid position, which would destroy a positive and hard-won compromise.

Sharon Fairchild Soucy