Council’s GOP questions mayor on climate
Economic worries, letter says Several Republican Fort Wayne City Council members are worried about what Mayor Tom Henry’s support for the Paris Climate Accord and the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda could mean for the city’s economic growth.
Four councilmen – Paul Ensley, R-1st; Russ Jehl, R-2nd; Tom Didier, R-3rd; and John Crawford, R-at large – who signed a June 9 letter addressed to Henry, stressed that any future environmental initiatives must be weighed against the best interests of the local economy.
“However, common sense says we cannot support measures which hurt our economy or that are cost prohibitive to taxpayers.” The letter questions whether Henry’s administration plans to adhere to a 2025 deadline to reduce emissions by 25 percent, whether Fort Wayne will “cease to welcome new jobs which have carbon footprints,” and whether City Utilities plans to spend large sums of money to stop all sewer overflows into Fort Wayne’s rivers.
The councilmen also ask if Henry plans to end “the area’s use of coal power and denounce the Rockport plant?” “We look forward to working together for the betterment of all but strongly believe this must be done through strong teamwork and robust communication,” the letter states.
In a letter Monday responding to the councilmen’s concerns, Henry, a Democrat, contends the city’s environmental initiatives have been economically beneficial for the city, both through cost-savings and job creation.
Henry signed a letter with more than 300 mayors nationwide this month criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.
“I signed on to the Climate Mayors’ statement in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement because the steps the city has taken over the last few years align with the goals of the agreement,” Henry’s letter states.
Henry added that Fort Wayne, particularly City Utilities, has been proactive in working to reduce Fort Wayne’s emissions.
“Fort Wayne City Utilities has been a leader in efforts to improve energy security and reduce the city’s carbon footprint, while creating cost savings for the city and its residents,” Henry’s letter states.
Henry will attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors this weekend in Miami Beach, Florida, where one of the planned discussion topics is climate protection.