Clallam County Commissioner Work Session
On November 23rd, the Monday Work Session for the Board of Clallam County Commissioners began their Discussion on Climate Change. Rich Meier stated “The logical first step is to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory to measure a baseline for decision making, and a yardstick of where we’re going for future progress. We’d also be able to compare that new inventory with our historic inventory that was limited, but it would give us a basis of what we’d done in the last couple of years”.
Mr. Meier reported that last Tuesday night at the City Council Meeting, the councilmembers voted unanimously to awarded a contract for $49,899 to Cascadia Consulting Group to gather information. He believes the County and the City could pool resources and work together. The County will be using different inventory tools and will remain independent on decisions made based on the inventory and the climate action plan.
The County would remain open to all options to work together and pool its resources. If the Board authorizes Mr. Meier to discuss this plan with Allyson Brekke, Director of Community and Economic Development of the City of Port Angeles, the County may be able to offset the City’s contracting costs in exchange for data.
Mr. Meier recommended using the EPA software for the Inventory work. The contract awarded to Cascadia Consulting Group to gather the Inventory for the City is using the ICLEI ClearPath software. The County rejected this company in 2019 according to an article in the Peninsula Daily News. It had used them for their 2011 inventory.
Mr. Meier made a further suggestion to reenact the County Climate Advisory Group. Although inactive for a few years, this group comprises interested county employees committed to identifying what kind of practices could positively affect the environment while reducing greenhouse gasses. If representation from all departments occurred, Mr. Meier believed it would distribute the workload.
Commissioner Johnson was enthusiastic about working with the City of Port Angeles, and possibly, the City of Sequim. He agreed with using the EPA GHG inventory tool.
Commissioner Peach was also in favor of developing baseline data using the EPA’s program because he stated, “It is very transparent and has tremendous benefits”. He wanted to know what the financial contribution to the City would be but liked the idea of collaboration and transparency.
Director Brekke thanked the Board and acknowledged their willingness to work together. She restated the City is using the ICLEI inventory tool, which is transparent and the global standard. She believes it would be more useful if the County also chose to use ICLEI and that it would be an easier partnership for data gathering efforts.
She also wanted to highlight the importance of public engagement in this process. The City would be eager to talk about ways to partner with the County to encourage our community’s feedback on this process. So while data gathering is important, the City also intends to reach out to the public.
Ben Stanley from Port Angeles Planning Commission commented on the benefit of working with the City. To emphasize the importance of community engagement, he used the example of the City of Port Townsend reaching out to their local mill. The mill does not have to give data, and their participation is all voluntary.
Commission Johnson liked the idea of reaching out to the community’s entirety and keeping them involved. Commissioner Peach noted a comment that came up in the discussions in the west end of our forests’ value in carbon sequestration and discharge of oxygen. He is not aware if Clallam County has done that analysis.
City Councilmember Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin commented that he believes this data collection will be required in the future, and good to get a head start. He emphasized the benefit of moving forward in a timely manner to be eligible for business investments, job creation, and upcoming grants. Phoned in comments encouraged outreach to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.