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Mayor urged to sign climate pact

Mayors in 360 cities have signed it. The local S ierra Club is disappointed Pam Iorio has not .

By JANET ZINK
Published January 24, 2007


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TAMPA - The mayors of Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas and Atlanta have done it. In Florida, the mayors of Miami, Tallahassee and 18 other cities have done it.

But to date, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio has not signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club hopes to change that.

The group formed an energy committee last year and made getting Iorio to sign the agreement its top goal.

The Sierra Club sent Iorio information on the agreement in September, but has not heard back from her.

"We're kind of puzzled as to why she didn't respond to our letter and disappointed, too," said Beverly Griffiths, who chairs the Sierra Club Tampa Bay Group.

Iorio did not return calls for comment for this story.

The agreement pledges support of the Kyoto Treaty, an international agreement that went into effect in early 2005 to stave off global warming.

The United States did not participate in the treaty, prompting Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels to launch the mayors agreement.

So far, the mayors of more than 360 cities have signed on, committing to take steps to reduce global warming locally by, among other things, promoting mass transit, recycling and tree planting.

Stephen Breslow, who chairs the local Sierra Club group's energy committee, said signing the agreement comes with "very, very little obligation."

It's a statement to the public that the mayor believes high energy consumption contributes to climate change and recognizes the danger of climate change, he said.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who endorsed the House's Clean Energy Act last week, said Iorio should take a serious look at the mayors agreement. The federal government needs to do all it can to address environmental issues, she said, but local support is key.

"You have to promote these ideas from all sides to really make progress," Castor said.

Griffiths said she likes Iorio's push to bring rail to the Tampa area, and applauded her for speaking out against an effort to put recycled wastewater in the Hillsborough River.

Iorio also appointed a task force to develop green building guidelines for Tampa, but that effort is moving slowly, said Eileen Thornton, director of sustainability for Newland Communities' Southeast region and a member of the task force.

Thornton said she hopes Iorio will take a look at the agreement.

"We'd like to see her sign it," she said.

[Last modified January 24, 2007, 06:20:26]


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