Hopewell Township Adopts Environmental Resolution Urging Federal Legislation Changes

Hopewell Township Adopts Environmental Resolution Urging Federal Legislation Changes

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Photo credit: Mary Galioto

Earlier this month, Hopewell Township passed a resolution proposed by the Hopewell Township Environmental Commissions urging the United State Congress to address global warming by enacting revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend legislation.

Presenting the proposed resolution, Michael Aucott, Chair of the Township Environmental Commission, explained that the resolution was one that the Township Environmental Commission reviewed and approved. “This is an effort on the part of several groups… who are encouraging the federal government to adopt a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions,” said Aucott at the July 2 Committee meeting.

The Resolution is based on scientific evidence that human releases of greenhouse gases — especially CO2 from the boring of fossil fuels, are warming the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans causing sea level rise, loss of glaciers and sea ice, alterations to weather systems, according to the Resolution, which also sites to rising surface temperatures, and atmospheric concentration levels. The resolution also speaks to the environmental health and social costs of carbon emissions which are not included in prices paid for fossil fuels but rather borne by everyone without their consent.

The “revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend” approach seeks to correct a market failure in proper compensation for emissions of greenhouse gases asking Congress to impose a national fee on the extraction, production, or importation of fossil fuels, based on the amount of CO2 the fuel will emit when burned.

“This approach, the neutral carbon fee and dividend approach, is one that has a bi-partisan feel, said Aucott, citing the Township’s ongoing focus on sustainability.  “When municipalities and other organizations endorse these,  it gives weight to it — to get lawmakers to act and that is why I’m before you.”

When asked whether there is a downside, Aucott explained that the Township is not committing anything other than expressing support for an idea.

However, Committee Member John Hart expressed skepticism for global warming. “There’s no scientific research that this carbon is the cause of global warming,” said Hart at the July 10 Committee meeting. “I’m not ready to jump on this global warming thing.”

“Not only am I willing to jump on this bandwagon I’m willing to push it and pull it,” retorted Committee Member Julie Blake. “You have my unequivocal support for this.”

While the approach is based on the idea that global warming is a real problem, the potential risk is so large that it makes sense to hedge those risks, explained Aucott, who made the clear analogy that people have fire insurance but that doesn’t mean they think their house is going to burn. Additionally, he said, “We’re going to have to agree to disagree with this one. The science that put people on the moon is saying there is global warming and it is difficult to argue otherwise.”

“Responsibility starts at the local level,” said Mayor Kevin Kuchinski in support of the resolution. “I think Hopewell Township has been in the forefront of both renewable energy as well as this shift of modern economy so I look forward to taking it further with this board.”

Ultimately, the Committee voted 4-1, with all but Committee Member John Hart voting in favor the Resolution.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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