Strong Mayors and the Trickle-Up Effectby Martin Chavez, ICLEI USA Executive Director
Guest Blogger: Martin Chavez, ICLEI USA Executive Director
The U.S. Conference of Mayors 76th Annual Meeting last week in Oklahoma City gave me a chance to reconnect with old friends and mayoral colleagues. Considering my current role as ICLEI USA Executive Director, many of the conversations focused on climate action and energy. This much is clear to me: Mayors are standing strong, even as elected officials at other levels of government retreat from their support for climate and energy legislation. Mayors still understand the imperative to mitigate and adapt to climate change; they still grasp the opportunity to revitalize local economies by becoming more sustainable.
As more elected officials display leadership, their collective actions will have a trickle-up effect to influence federal policymakers. Whenever meaningful legislation finally passes, local governments can take a lot of credit for paving the way to make it happen. The commitment of leaders that I spoke with in Oklahoma City—Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia, Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Walker of Bowling Green, and many others—was a bright spot at an event overshadowed by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the acute need for job creation in local communities across the country.
Underlining Federal and Local Priorities
Below are some of the key climate and environmental resolutions mayors passed at the Annual Meeting (many of which were sponsored and co-sponsored by ICLEI member mayors), all of which should send strong messages to Washington and other local governments. Click here to view the complete resolutions.
- Supporting Full and Dedicated Funding of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants
- Calling on Congress to Pass Comprehensive Clean Energy and Climate Protection Legislation
- Calling on Congress and the Administration to Increase Funding for the EPA Climate Showcase Grants for Local Governments
- Support for the Greening of School Districts
- Supporting Diesel Clean-Up Measures as a Near-Term Climate Change Mitigation Strategy
- Calling on U.S. Cities to Adopt Green Building Codes
- Supporting Financial Prescriptions for Energy Retrofits of Existing Buildings
- Calling on the Obama Administration to Create an Office Dedicated to the Promulgating of Sustainable Principles, Practices, and Policies
- Support for Sustainable Development in Cities
- Calling for a Coordinated National Strategy to Protect Public Health, Endangered Species and Critical Habitats by Providing Needed Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
- Aligning Federal Policy on Floodplain Management, Climate Change, and Sustainable Communities
ICLEI Getting Attention
ICLEI had a strong presence at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting and we were warmly received. Congratulations to our President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mayor Patrick Hays of North Little Rock, AR, who won the Mayors Climate Protection Award in the Small Cities category. Another Board member, Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, IA, was named a trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as well. ICLEI continues to strengthen its partnership with the Conference, as well as the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties.