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Environment

The Problem

We are in the midst of a climate emergency and we need to act accordingly to strengthen Asheville’s climate resiliency. The City’s current renewable energy initiative falls dramatically short of our goals. We need to establish a meaningful set of policies to reach net zero carbon emissions and transition to 100% renewable energy.

My Solutions

Energy

  • Install solar panels on all city buildings to reduce fossil fuel-generated energy use.

  • Provide incentives for homeowners & businesses to adopt sustainable practices such as installation of solar energy, LED light bulbs, energy-saving appliances, water-saving plumbing fixtures.

  • Refuse to rely on gimmicks, such as the purchase of carbon offsets, to reach our goals.

Transportation

  • Transition our public transportation fleet (including public buses) to zero emissions vehicles. Our recent purchase of electric buses has posed significant challenges and shows what happens when we don’t do our research. We have to find vehicles that work within our structural and geographic constraints.

  • Improve our public transit system to improve access and increase ridership, taking more cars off the roads, thereby reducing emissions. We can do this by expanding service hours and transitioning to a fare free system.

  • Collaborate with Buncombe County to create Park & Ride lots for residents living beyond the current transit service area.

  • Create additional greenways and bike lanes to knit our neighborhoods together and reduce the need for residents to use a car.

Environmental systems & infrastructure

  • Increase our urban tree canopy. Trees are critical in cleaning the air, mitigating the effects of stormwater, preventing erosion, and reducing temperatures in urban areas.

  • Develop an Urban Forest Master Plan and fund a full-time urban forester.

  • Create a citywide compost program available for all residents alongside trash and recycling pickup to divert food waste from our landfills.

  • Eliminate single-use plastic and styrofoam at all city buildings/properties.

  • Invest in improving our stormwater infrastructure to handle significant rain events.

  • Provide funding resources such as grants and small business loans for sustainable agriculture and renewable energy start-ups.

  • Work with local colleges and universities to establish a curriculum in renewable energy and training for green energy jobs.

We need to fight North Carolina’s existing energy policies

We’re facing a climate emergency, and my plan focuses on the things Asheville can do immediately to take this crisis seriously.  But we cannot stop there. The reality is that in order to address the scale of the problem our planet faces Asheville needs to be a part of leading the larger fight for renewable energy in North Carolina. 

This is a big lift, but we can accomplish it by calling on the State to reverse their unjust policies which allow utility companies to operate as monopolies. Until we have a say in where our energy comes from, we do not possess the power to change our planet’s fate.

We must demand that the State of North Carolina:

  • Entirely divest from coal and hydraulically fracked natural gas as power sources.

  • Abolish energy monopolies to allow more green energy competition to enter the market.

  • Allow power purchase agreements (PPA’s) with third-party energy producers and mandate interconnection of these projects to our electrical grid.