Chance to comment on regional draft will be ‘sustained’ till Dec. 23

       The public can comment until Dec. 23 on a draft regional sustainability plan.
       The 107-page document, which encourages an array of environmentally geared changes in El Paso and Teller counties between now and 2030, was written by Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) staff and volunteers, many of whom also serve on a volunteer sustainability “consensus committee.”
       The public can read the draft and respond to it in an online questionnaire. The website is ppacg.org. For more information, or to see a printed version, call 471-7080 x140.
       The consensus committee is expected to review the draft in late January, after which the PPACG board may vote on it in February, according to agency spokesperson Jason Wilkinson.
       The plan effort has been in the public eye for about a year and a half.
       Sustainability is defined in the draft as “acting in a manner that improves our quality of life by balancing economic vitality, a healthy vibrant community, and mindful stewardship of natural resources and the environment for current and future generations.”
       The local sustainability push has triggered some criticism, concerning its calls for widespread changes without a cost/benefit analysis, the possibility that meeting plan goals will lead to increased government control and the suspicion that the effort is really just an excuse to seek extraneous federal grant money.
       The draft plan includes calls for limiting where and how future construction takes place, adding greenhouse gas emissions to local air quality monitoring, cutting trash sent to landfills, reducing the use of personal vehicles and increasing renewable energy sources.

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