Ecology recap

The newest draft of the Ecology Commission's 2022 work plan will be presented to Town Council Tuesday afternoon. (Screenshot by Eva Thomas/Telluride Daily Planet)

Wednesday afternoon, the Ecology Commission and town officials met via Zoom to review and finalize the 2022 work plan. The agenda focused on items like the Climate Action Plan (CAP), updating its language, and assigning tasks within the plan.

The purpose of the meeting, said Karen Guglielmone, the town’s environmental and engineering division manager, was to make sure most everybody was in agreement so they could start the year off strong.

“We needed to all get on the same page about where we’re launching off from this year — and the commission needed to make a final decision about the work plan for ecology commission, that will go to Town Council,” said Guglielmone.

The new work plan will be presented to Town Council on Tuesday afternoon.

A portion of the meeting revolved around the discussion of idling diesel engines in town. Board member Jenny Russell expressed concern, wondering if there was anything to address diesel vehicles specifically.

“I think the enforcement of the idling ordinance covers it without being too distinct,” said mayor DeLanie Young.

Section four of the plan is listed as “Improve Air Quality.” Russell suggested adding more encompassing language to address the issue.

“Expand four to include identifying other ways to improve air quality and making recommendations,” said Russell.

The revised version of the work plan included a few other changes and additions. For example, the commission's main focus in 2022 cited the Climate Action Plan.

“In 2022, the Ecology Commission will focus on implementing specific tasks of Telluride's Climate Action Plan,” the document stated.

The document is divided into six separate goals. Under section 6a, the language changed from “update” the CAP to “implement the Climate Action Plan.”

The adoption date for the CAP was October 2021, but that has been extended to April 2022, explained Guglielmone.

“A standard Climate Action Plan Development usually takes a year and a half or so, and we had just tried to do it in six months. It felt very rushed. We didn’t get the participation in and the buy-in and the careful thought that we were hoping to accomplish — with COVID and with the affordable housing crisis, there was just a lot of stuff going on. We couldn’t give (the plan) the attention it needed,” Guglielmone said.

The Town of Telluride made available online a climate action plan survey. The survey closed in December after taking in responses for six months. While people can still make comments on the CAP, added Guglielmone, the surveys will be collected and taken into account for the new draft of the CAP. Guglielmone hopes to have the working draft online and available by next week. According to Guglielmone, the new draft of CAP will be discussed with Town Council Feb. 1.

In other business, the notion of coordinating a river and trash cleanup event was floated by board members. Russell and commission member Kathy Green spearheaded the topic.

Tentatively set for May 22, this date would allow for an extended, fun event before the town is flooded with summer events and activities, said Green.

“It would be a whole week, or three or four days of people in our community, taking good positive environmental actions,” Green said.

Russell and Green discussed partnering with other organizations and “going big.”

“I would like to see us at least attempt to make this broader than just the Town of Telluride and the Valley Floor. What I'm thinking is that we can work with a number of partners, including the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, possibly Sheep Mountain Alliance, and others. The idea behind it is to create a fun community event that results in a bit of a party afterward … an event locals can get together and have a good time and celebrate the environment that we live in,” Russell said.  

The revised work plan was passed at the end of the meeting, as the majority approved it. However, commission member Jonathan Greenspan voted nay, as he still had some reservations, particularly concerning the language. 

“We really do want to see bold action, and it starts with culture and behavioral change within ourselves to start shoving this thing through the door as opposed to tiptoeing around it all the time. There have been some bold actions made, and we have to keep that momentum going. I suggest to all of us that we change our own language and leave the ‘suggest’ and ‘look into’ and move into ‘we are going to’ and ‘we will’ type of language,” Greenspan said.

Guglielmone emphasized that the work plan, while passed by the Ecology Commission, is not the final version and cannot be finalized until Town Council approves it at its Tuesday meeting.