By Bill O’Neil
San Antonio’s new Mayor and City Council are officially at work–and among the first orders of business is a show of support for the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The move comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the accord in hopes of negotiating what he would see as a better agreement.
“Nationally and internationally… it’s very much local governments that are taking the lead on this” the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer Douglas Melnick told the Council ahead of Thursday’s vote.
The move drew a lot of support from those who offered comments to the Council.
“I liken the naysayers to climate change to the old flat earth society… they just can’t see beyond the coastline” former Councilman Bob Thompson told the new Council.
“I can tell you that my quality of life will immediately increase is we take some action to reduce greenhouse gases” Councilwoman Ana Sandoval told her colleagues.
Others also made the case the City is setting the right tone with this statement.
“Not only because it’s good for our lungs–but it’s good for our wallets” Councilman Rey Saldana said.
Some however wanted more time to consider whether or not this is the right statement to make.
“I would like the opportunity to go back and get feedback from my District and see if this is what they really want” Councilman Clayton Perry said.
“Frankly, I did not receive one comment during the campaign on a climate action plan or the Paris Accord–it did not come up in District 6” Councilman Greg Brockhouse said, supporting Perry’s move for delaying the vote until early August.
“I will say I would be absolutely opposed to postponing this motion” Councilman John Courage said.
Perry’s motion for a delay was ultimately turned side. Brockhouse then voted in favor of the Resolution–fulfilling what he described as a promise to Mayor Ron Nirenberg to start off “on the right foot.”
“This is not charting a new course… and this is not politics–it shouldn’t be politics” the Mayor said.
“This issue I think is our opportunity… it’s going to be the great unifier of all of the environmental groups in San Antonio and the surrounding area” said Anita Ledbetter, the Executive Director of Build SA Green.