Lander’s Energy and Environment Task Force is recommending the city aim for an 80 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.
The goal represents a “moderate” reductions target, task force member Randy Craft said during a Lander City Council work session last week, pointing to Laramie’s more “aggressive” plan to achieve net-0 carbon emissions by 2050 and Red Lodge, Montana’s more “conservative” goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2040.
In Lander, the proposed target would see carbon dioxide emissions fall from 3,200 tons in 2021 to 641 tons in 2050, Craft said, calling it a “reasonable goal.”
Task force member Adam Keifenheim outlined some of the projects the city could undertake to achieve the emissions goal over time, including improvements to building efficiencies, a transition to electric or hybrid vehicles, enhancements to pedestrian infrastructure, and diversions of solid waste from local landiflls.
All of those projects come with “co-benefits,” task force member Courtney Larson said, from increased sustainability to financial savings, improved public safety, and more.
A greenhouse gas emissions target would also make the city “more competitive for outside funding from a lot of grants that are available right now,” Larson said.
Many of those grants are “ultra-competitive,” task force member Kara Colovich said, pointing to one federal program that received 659 initial submissions, with only 59 invited to complete full applications.
Another federal grant was only able to accommodate 12 applicants, Colovich said.
In Wyoming, the Department of Environmental Quality recently received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to engage in “greenhouse gas planning,” Larson said, and more money will be available later for “implementation,” which the city could apply for.
“If Lander chose to adopt a target and make our own plan, we would be fitting in really well with what’s already happening at the state level” Larson said.
Lander’s application to the DEQ would be “especially” competitive if it included emissions reductions goals, task force member Louisa Hunkerstorm noted.
“They are looking for targets,” she said. “After you have your targets and your projections, there’s a whole lot of funding open to you.”
The council did not take any action on the task force recommendation last week.
For more information call the City of Lander at 332-2870.