On February 26, 2020

Rochester voters to consider climate change

Staff report

Voters in Rochester are being asked to approve a declaration that would require town officials to consider climate change when making decisions.

The declaration, which will be presented to voters at Town Meeting on Monday, March 2, says climate change should be an “integral” part of town planning, policy and decision making.

“Global climate is changing at an unprecedented rate due to human activities, mass extinction, and threatening human activities world wide,” according to the declaration.

A petition for the declaration was submitted by some residents of town and drafted by resident Elizabeth Shackelford.

She said the Select Board was considering the economy regarding the project but not the environment.

“As it turns out, our town plan and other policies consider environment broadly in a number of ways, but we have no specific provisions for considering environmental and climate impact specifically as a lens in our decision-making,” Shackelford said. “So in the end, our hope is that the declaration raises awareness and leads to changes in behavior, both in our town leadership and our community more broadly.

The declaration doesn’t require the board to take any immediate actions.

“It’s a small gesture, really just a start, and honestly some people were disappointed it didn’t go further,” Shackleford said. “But my response is, we started small, but we started somewhere.”

Rochester isn’t the only town to consider climate change. Close to 1,400 local governments in 27 countries have declared climate change emergencies, according to Climate Mobilization, a nonprofit that advocates for climate change action.

The Burlington City Council voted in September to declare a climate emergency in the city.  One part of Burlington’s resolution encourages all city departments to take action to reach a net zero goal by 2030.

While the resolution in Burlington is specific, Rochester Select Board chair Doon Hinderyckx wondered if the language presented to Rochester voters was too unclear.

“All the town’s decisions would be taking that into consideration,” Hinderyckx said. “I think that’s a little too vague. I’m hoping that it is clarified a little bit from the floor at Town Meeting.”

Rochester resident Nancy Sanz, who was part of creating the declaration, said the group wanted to avoid opposition.

“It’s fairly low-level but it’s our step one to bring awareness to the issue of climate change,” she said.

Voters will meet Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m. at the Rochester School auditorium.

The proposed budget to be raised by taxes in Rocheseter is $780,550, up about 4% from the previous year. Voters will also elect a new Select Board member for a three-year term as Tom Schnabel’s seat is up.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Slate Valley school district to hold fourth vote on district budget

May 22, 2024
In response to the results of the last vote on May 9, and valuable community feedback during the school board meeting on May 13, the Slate Valley Unified Union School District will hold its fourth vote in an attempt to pass the budget on May 30. It will be a revote on the third FY25…

Where is the road construction this week? 

May 22, 2024
The Agency of Transportation produces this weekly report of planned construction activities that will impact traffic on state highways and interstates throughout Vermont. Hartford: Monday, May 20, through Friday, May 24, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., multiple concrete mixers will be moving in and out of the project area at either end of the…

Superstar’s iconic spring skiing:a party, a community, a family, a pilgrimage

May 22, 2024
By Victoria Gaither For spring skiers, Killington’s Superstar is like honey to bees. Skiers come from all over to bump that one strip of trail that starts in November and ends in late May or June 1, when possible. A gathering of personalities hanging out at the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar, many occasionally popping up…

Killington Road reconstruction: what to expect this week

May 22, 2024
Drilling and blasting will continue this week at the intersection of Route 4 and Killington Road in Killington. A detour remains in place via West Hill Road. Monday, May 20, there was a brief break in the blasting, but Tuesday onward will see one blast per day between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1…