Fort Collins endorses nationwide open letter to President-Elect Donald Trump regarding climate action

Gabriel Go

The Fort Collins City Council voted on Tuesday night to include Fort Collins among a number of cities which support an open letter by the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda calling for President-Elect Donald Trump to support local sustainability initiatives.

The letter, penned November of last year, requests that President-Elect Trump’s administration to provide funding for sustainability-related projects, tax credits for using clean technologies and for the President-Elect to support the United Nations Paris Agreement.

At least 51 mayors representing cities across the nation have signed the letter, which represent over 31 million Americans. Signatories of the letter include New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Aspen and Boulder.

Some council members also voiced their opposition to endorsing the letter.

“This has never been a discussion of contesting climate change. We voted 7-0 for our climate action plan, one of the most aggressive in the nation. My red line in this discussion was saying that I didn’t want to poke President-Elect Trump in the eye with a letter like this,” councilmember Gino Campana said. “Us coming out with a letter like this … wasn’t the way I liked to build diplomacy, (alignment) and a relationship with a new administration.”

Councilmember Ray Martinez voiced his opinion on the letter and said it would send a wrong message to other mayors.

“We keep hearing about 49 mayors have signed on, now 62 mayors (signed on). In the United States of America, we have approximately 19,400 mayors. Now that to me, would send a wrong message of (interest) of the other mayors,” Martinez said. “I know you’re missing about 19,400 mayors who have not signed on to this, and they represent small (communities).”

Last year, the city pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, reduce 80 percent of their emissions by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Among those who attended the council meeting was John Roos, a Colorado State University alumnus who has spoken to the council twice on issues regarding sustainability.

“We’ve been having a long fight just trying to keep Fort Collins on the cutting edge of climate (action). These little issues keep coming up and it keeps getting into big debates like this,” Roos said. “CSU’s cutting the edge on a lot of this stuff, and we really hope that our town will do the same.”

In an interview with the New York Times last November, President-Elect Trump said that “(he) has an open mind” about the Paris Agreement. Earlier that year in March, President-Elect Trump had said that he would “cancel” the United States’ support for the international accord.

Collegian Reporter Gabriel Go can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rgabrielgo.