By DOUGLAS SOULE
The Daily Athenaeum
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Morgantown City Council voted unanimously to support the Paris Climate Agreement on Tuesday.
President Donald Trump announced in June that he would be withdrawing from the treaty which every nation on Earth had joined except Syria and Nicaragua. Since then, over 300 U.S. cities have pledged their support for the agreement. Morgantown is now one of them.
Councilman Ryan Wallace said that the decision would save taxpayer money.
“If you just look at the ideas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency, retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient, you save on heating, cooling and electricity, that’s great,” said Wallace.
The meeting’s public comment portion lasted over an hour as citizens urged City Council to vote for the Paris Climate Agreement. A single person went to the podium in opposition.
“In a time when coal is sort of coming back, has a little bit of a resurrection, has a little bit of life, we don’t need anything else to shut it down,” said Joel Watts, administrator for the West Virginia Coal Forum.
Council members emphasized that this vote was not meant to be anti-coal.
“This is not about any kind of disrespect for coal miners,” said Deputy Mayor Mark Brazaitis. “It is imperative to create economic opportunities and jobs for them and everyone in our community, to diversify our economy so there are plentiful jobs that are sustainable.”
While supporting the Paris Climate Agreement will not pose any immediate changes to a Morgantown citizen’s life, there are provisions in the bill that would work to cut the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the provisions, City Council also said they would work to protect the city from extreme weather caused by climate change.
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