By Kelli Duncan
The Vail Daily
After opting out of an updated Climate Action Plan prepared by the Climate Action Collaborative, the town of Eagle on Tuesday came out with its own, seemingly more ambitious sustainability goals.
The Town Council passed a resolution Tuesday evening adopting a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in town government’s internal operations by 2028 and in the “greater Eagle community” by 2030.
“To move forward as a full squad and not be split on something that is probably the biggest existential threat to the town and to the species, I think it’s a big deal, and we’ve got a lot of smart people to try to figure out how to get to 2030,” Town Council member Geoff Grimmer said after the meeting.
“Maybe we even get there six months early and have time for some Champagne.”
Getting the Town Council to agree upon and pass these core objectives is just the first step in the long and complicated journey of constructing a plan to meet these goals, Mayor Scott Turnipseed said.
Even this first step was an arduous one that required much conversation and compromise, Town Council member Matt Solomon said.
The resolution passed unanimously but, in the discussion that preceded its passing, multiple council members expressed doubts that the town would be able to achieve the goals it established.
“It is aspirational because when I put my engineer hat on, we have no clue how we’re going to get there and if it’s even attainable,” Town Council member David Gaboury said.
Gaboury said he was proud that the town wanted to be a leader in this space but expressed concerns about being able to meet the first goal of net-zero carbon emissions for town government by 2028. He said the timeline would put town staffers in a time crunch to meet the mark and that the Town Council was being unnecessarily “self-pressured” to set ambitious targets.
When the discussion turned to Town Council member Ellen Bodenhemier, she pointed out that it was Eagle Town Manager Brandy Reitter who wrote the resolution, leading her to believe that Reitter feels comfortable with the goals.
As the discussion continued, Turnipseed and Town Council member Janet Bartnik smoothed things over with assurances that the goals are intended to be “aspirational.”
“I just got very strong recommendations … to go for it,” Turnipseed said. “If you end up short, you end up short.”
The promise the Town Council made to the public Tuesday remains that elected officials and town staffers will push hard to meet the goals by 2030, Turnipseed said.
The support they hope for in return is for all innovators, activists and environmentalists, big and small, to get inspired and come to the town with ideas, Grimmer said.