El Cajon gets to work on climate action plan

September 26 – San Diego Union Tribune – Karen Pearlman reports –  Hot on the heels of the rest of San Diego County — and the state of California — El Cajon is moving toward creating a climate action plan.

By next spring, the city expects to complete a comprehensive policy outlining what it will do to align with statewide targets intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

El Cajon is asking residents to join the conversation about reducing greenhouse gases and moving to energy efficiency. Next month, the city is holding its first public outreach event on climate action, and will continue to seek residents’ input on all things sustainability-related moving down the road.

El Cajon plans to roll out information on the subject at the annual Heartland Fire Station Open House, held the first Saturday in October. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at El Cajon Fire Station No. 6, 100 East Lexington Ave.

Information and a link to El Cajon’s most recent report on “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Projections,” which came out in July, can be found at: cityofelcajon.us/home/showdocument?id=19228. The inventory gives a snapshot of emissions from a variety of sources, including wastewater, water, solid waste, natural gas, electricity and transportation.

City staff shared general information on the city’s plan for sustainability with the El Cajon Planning Commission earlier this month. It will give more details at the Planning Commission’s Oct. 16 meeting.

El Cajon Director of Community Development Tony Shute said the commission will get details of the July report, find out where the city is headed, some of El Cajon’s strategies and what the city can expect next. Shute said the City Council would likely not be presented with more information until 2019.

According to the The Center for Sustainable Energy’s Equinox Project, 18 jurisdictions in San Diego County have committed to developing a climate action plan. Only Poway has not yet committed to developing a CAP.

El Cajon has been working with several groups for more than five years on a plan, including the San Diego Association of Governments, Ascent Environmental, Inc., Energy Policy Initiative Center and Newcomers Support & Development, partnering to develop a Climate Action Plan.

Although the October outreach event is the first time El Cajon has committed to sharing information with the public about its plan, the city did complete a SANDAG Energy Roadmap in 2013 and offered a previous GHG inventory in 2016.

El Cajon, which has an Urban Forestry Ordinance and has been a Tree City USA for 21 years, has done work on energy efficiency over the years, including replacing 1,200 street lights and all traffic signal leads with LED, upgrading its traffic signal system to improve vehicle flow and putting solar panels on its new Animal Shelter.

Sophie Wolfram, director of programs for the San Diego-based Climate Action Campaign, said the group hopes El Cajon’s climate action plan will include steps to create housing near public transportation and close to work hubs.

Read the full article here.