Letter: Alternative to carbon tax
I attended the panel discussion of Carbondale Ballot Issue 2A, Monday evening, March 11, at the Third Street Center. Thanks to Andrea Stewart and the Carbondale chamber for arranging this. The discussion gave me more food for thought about this excise tax. I’m now even more against the idea than before I attended. Why? Firstly, I like to consider things like this by asking myself and others the following three questions: 1. What is it that we would like to accomplish (what is the outcome we seek)? 2. What method will we use? 3. How will we know if we’re making progress?
It is admirable to increase use of renewable forms of energy like solar and wind, promote conservation and use local resources; yet it is important to do so effectively. The ballot proposal does not satisfactorily answer how this tax will do that. Rather, it merely increases local taxes, penalizes those of us who are now using alternative sources and conserving energy and imposes an additional administrative burden on our town staff and the utilities.
Accordingly, I believe that the proposal is not a wise use of town resources. During the panel discussion I learned that we in Carbondale are not using the options currently offered to us by Xcel, Blackhills Energy (formerly SourceGas) and Holy Cross. For example, Kelly Flenniken of Xcel reported that only about 9 percent of Carbondale residential customers utilize their wind source program, and none of the town’s businesses do. Further, only about 3 percent are using the solar program and no one uses their non-solar rewards programs.
As an alternative to proposed tax, I suggest a much greater emphasis on encouraging participation in the available options like those noted above, with results regularly reported during trustees’ meetings and our local papers. In this way we reap the benefits of the fees we already pay without increasing our costs locally, and any resulting work can be performed by local people bringing those dollars into our economy.
Sounds like a win-win.
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