This article originally provided by
March 30, 2008
Four W.Va. cities pledge to fight global
Fayetteville, Oak Hill, Shepherdstown,
Morgantown agree to cut emissions
By Tara Tuckwiller
Four West Virginia cities have decided they can't wait for the
federal government to stop global warming.
The mayors of Shepherdstown, Morgantown, Fayetteville and Oak Hill
have joined more than 800 mayors across the country in adopting the
Kyoto Protocol rejected by President Bush. The towns have pledged to
cut their greenhouse gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by
"If we're not good stewards now, what are we going to leave for our
children?" Fayetteville city manager Bill Lanham said.
Shepherdstown was the first West Virginia town to sign the U.S.
Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2006, when about 330 cities
had signed on nationwide. Morgantown, Oak Hill and Fayetteville
followed in 2007, along with the Fayette County Commission.
On Monday, the mayors are scheduled to meet in Fayetteville - the
Shepherdstown and Morgantown mayors to join by energy-saving
teleconference - at the first meeting of the Fayette County "Green
Team," to come up with new ways to cut emissions. The public is
invited to participate.
The towns have already made some changes, both tiny and huge. For
example, Fayetteville has:
- Switched to energy-saving light bulbs in its town hall. For
outdoor lights, the town is switching to super-efficient LEDs,
- Started an extensive recycling program for the city and
surrounding communities. Recycling helps cut greenhouse gas
emissions because it takes less energy to recycle products than
it does to make new ones, and organic materials such as paper
and cardboard aren't creating methane by rotting in landfills,
according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Cut back on its city vehicle use. "Maybe one truck takes
guys to different job sites, instead of each one driving a
separate vehicle," Mayor Jim Akers said. And city police no
longer let their cruisers idle unnecessarily. "That's helped
quite a bit on our fuel bills."
- Planted a children's garden downtown.
- Had a complete energy audit of all government buildings by
the Fayetteville-based West Virginia Sustainable Communities
Project, identifying ways they could be more energy-efficient.
Now, "we're working to get the towns involved at a deeper level,"
said Sue Plumley, an Oak Hill resident. For example, the towns could
buy electricity from renewable sources - "but Appalachian Power in
Fayette County doesn't do that," she said. "We've got to talk to
Bigger cities across the U.S. have tackled bigger projects. Chicago
handed out 500,000 free compact fluorescent light bulbs to
residents. Lexington, Ky., plans to capture methane from its sewage
plant to power boilers. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has
mandated that all of the city's 13,000 taxis must switch to hybrid
Even so, only Portland, Ore., has come close to meeting the Kyoto
Protocol, among 10 prominent "Kyoto cities" studied by the nonprofit
group Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
The other cities that have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection
Agreement "will miss their goals unless they redouble their
efforts," the report concludes.
But, Plumley said, some greenhouse gas reduction is better than no
greenhouse gas reduction.
"We're just trying to make people more aware - to make it easier for
us to live here without using up all of our resources."
To contact staff writer Tara Tuckwiller, use e-mail or call