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Cathy Fitzgerald, Billings League of Women Voters

CATHY FITZGERALD

The City of Billings used to have a joint city-citizen commission to study ways to reduce energy use by city-controlled facilities and operations. That commission ceased operation 10 years ago after offering multiple suggestions to City Council.

A group of citizens are now preparing to ask the City Council to re-establish that commission with a new game plan and we are asking for community support at Monday's City Council work session. The revived commission will undertake and oversee the process of creating and implementing a comprehensive energy conservation plan that includes creation of:

  • An inventory of energy use by city-owned or managed facilities, transportation and equipment.
  • Specific goals and strategies to reduce energy consumption, pollution and waste by measurable amounts.
  • A timetable for accomplishing the outlined goals and strategies.
  • Semi-annual reports to City Council on the findings and recommendations of the commission.

The City of Billings should be applauded for some projects that already reduce municipal energy consumption while promoting a healthy environment. One example is the methane capture happening at our city landfill along with methane fueled garbage trucks. Another project is the methane capture from the water treatment plant that is used to power that plant. We are also seeing LED lighting at city-managed facilities on a regular basis. All projects are a win for the city budget as well as a win for those of us concerned about maintaining a clean environment for future generations.

The League of Women Voters of Billings supports citizen involvement in local government and promotes actions creating a healthy environment for our citizens by reducing pollution. The optimized use of our city’s energy resources is essential for community health, prosperity, and longevity. Re-establishing a Billings Commission on Energy and Conservation will support city leadership with citizen involvement to continue to make Billings a vibrant community to live, work, stay and play for generations to come.

If you support smart energy use by our city, to reduce costs and keep our environment clean, please join concerted efforts of the League of Women Voters, the Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council and Eco-Angelas. Contact your City Council members to voice your opinion about re-establishing the Commission on Energy and Conservation.

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Cathy Fitzgerald is president of the League of Women Voters of Billings. The proposed Commission on Energy and Conservation is on the agenda for Monday's City Council meeting, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall.

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