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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kennebunk Selectmen Sign Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement

Kennebunk is now officially the fifth town in Maine to sign onto the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. Thanks to the efforts of members of the Sustainable Energy Alliance, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to sign the Agreement and commit Kennebunk to reduce its carbon footprint.

The following press release was written by Sassy Smallman, Public Relations Director of SEA:

The Kennebunk Board of Selectmen signed the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement (MCPA) last night in response to a formal request presented by the Sustainable Energy Alliance, a local citizens’ organization.

Kennebunk is the fifth Maine municipality to sign the MCPA.

Belfast, Biddeford, Portland and Saco signed on last year. As of this week, 408 US cities representing over 59 million Americans have signed the agreement. The MCPA is based on the Kyoto Protocol, which took effect in February of 2005 in the 141 countries ratifying it.

As signers of the MCPA, participating communities commit to taking the following three actions:
  • Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities;
  • Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system.

The Sustainable Energy Alliance initially approached the Board of Selectmen about signing the agreement last November. Since that time, a municipal energy committee has been working to assess the town’s energy use. The committee determined that the town can reasonably work toward the U.S. MCPA goals. A big savings in electricity bills was achieved with streetlight upgrades in the 1990s. Other changes that will help Kennebunk reduce its greenhouse gas emissions may include lighting and insulation upgrades in town buildings and a biodiesel test project. At last night’s meeting, Bill Hetzel, on Kennebunk’s energy committee and a member of SEA, gave a detailed report to the Selectmen summarizing the town’s energy use in 1990 compared to projected energy use, efficiency and savings in future years.

Formed last summer, SEA is headed by Rob Bartlett of West Kennebunk. SEA is planning to kick off a yearlong community carbon challenge next month, asking households in the area to take specific steps to fight climate change by reducing their use of fossil fuels. The group is also planning a “Walk for a Change” on Saturday, June 16th.

For more information and to become involved, go to the SEA website at or contact Jennifer Niese via email at SEA’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, at Christ Church on Dane Street in Kennebunk.

The meeting will include a presentation on the science of global warming and Maine’s proposed signing of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

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