Initiative: Green advisory board weakened

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Removing four key words from Cape Girardeau's new ordinance creating a "green" advisory board effectively weakened it, according to members of the SEMO Climate Protection Initiative.

Six members of the city council agreed to replace one of four lines defining the board's purpose, "reduce carbon dioxide emissions," with a list of the city's current recycling efforts.

SEMO CPI leaders Alan Journet, Kathy Conway and Ellen Dillon, all Southeast Missouri State University professors, campaigned to get the board created and met frequently over the course of the last year with city officials to hammer out an agreement, including special sessions with Councilman John Voss after he voted against the first reading of the measure.

Mayor Jay Knudtson told Journet, Conway and Dillon that if they were named to the green board, they could suggest carbon dioxide emission reduction options. Conway said without those four words in the ordinance the board had no way to measure the effectiveness of suggested changes.

The ordinance's second and third readings were approved in a 6-to-1 vote with councilwoman Debra Tracy voting against it because she said the language was not transparent enough.

-- Peg McNichol

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