STATEMENT OF IVAN WEBER, CHAIR OF THE UTAH CHAPTER OF THE SIERRA CLUB
I have a happy duty to perform today. Happy, because I have the privilege to announce the Sierra Club's support for a public official who is courageous, a community leader who actually leads, a representative of the people who has a far-reaching vision. I am so very pleased to announce that the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club enthusiastically endorses Rocky Anderson for re-election as Mayor of Salt Lake City.
Under Mayor Anderson's leadership Salt Lake City has made great strides in becoming a more environmentally friendly place to live. Thanks to the Mayor's initiatives, the city is less dependent on polluting automobiles for transportation, while promoting cleaner fuels through the "Clean Cities" program. He has been a staunch supporter of our successful TRAX light-rail lines and their further expansion. His emphasis on pedestrian safety has resulted in Salt Lake's becoming a more walker-friendly city. In this period of drought he has promoted a reduction in how much water we use, and he is striving to help the city do even better.
This is a public servant who practices what he preaches. He drives a clean natural gas-powered vehicle. At home he has converted his lawn to a low-water xeriscape.
Mayor Anderson has the courage of his convictions. Despite heavy pressure from some in our city, he actively opposed the Grand Salt Lake Mall - appropriately dubbed the "Sprawl Mall" - because he clearly saw how it would encourage more sprawling development --- without area benefit --- on the city's far western edge with accompanying environmental degradation. Early on the Mayor recognized what some politicians have been afraid to admit about the proposed Legacy Highway: that its southern end would, like a shotgun, aim at our city a daily blast of higher volumes of traffic congestion and the air pollution that goes with it.
Mayor Anderson knows that it is not enough to complain about environmental problems. It is also important to propose and implement solutions. So it is that, through his Salt Lake "City Green" initiative, he has enrolled the city in Utah Power's Blue Skies program which is based on clean, wind-generated power, thus reducing the city's reliance on electricity derived from burning coal. Mayor Anderson clearly recognizes that protecting the planet begins here at home. Thus he has committed the city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. And if Salt Lake can do it, then why can't the entire nation join the effort to reduce the threat of global climate change? Perhaps the most significant step toward this commitment is the "High Performance Building Initiative," which will introduce to Salt Lake City the full spectrum of integrated planning, energy and resource efficiency in the built environment, and healthful buildings that "fit" their neighborhoods.
In these days we cannot look to our national or state governments for environmental leadership. But we can look to our city. It should be clear why the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club last year named Mayor Anderson "Political Leader of the Year." The good work has begun. The Sierra Club wants Mayor Anderson to stay on the job and continue that work.
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