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Introduction. Presentations. Butte County Climate Action Plan Open House Meeting Summary May 14, Meeting Purpose. Key Themes

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Introduction

The Butte County Department of Development Services is coordinating preparation of a community-wide Climate Action Plan (CAP) for the unincorporated county. The CAP implements the County’s recently adopted General Plan and will contain programs and actions designed to help the County sustain its natural resources, grow efficiently, ensure long-term resiliency to a changing environmental and economic climate, and improve transportation options. The CAP also supports statewide greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals identified in Assembly Bill (AB) 32 and Senate Bill (SB) 375. Butte County hosted a community open house for the project on May 14, 2013, between 6:00 and 8:00 PM at Lakeside Pavilion in Chico. Upon arrival, participants were invited to start reviewing the open house displays. County, Air District, and City of Chico staff and consultants gave presentations between 6:30 and 7:30 PM. Before and after the presentations, attendees provided input at six open house activity stations. Approximately 30 people attended the open house.

Meeting Purpose

The open house provided an opportunity for participants to: • Learn about the Climate Action Plan project and process • Share initial ideas regarding the Climate Action Plan • Provide input on policies and programs

Key Themes

A few key themes arose from respondents’ feedback during the open house meeting. Most participants supported the Butte County Climate Action Plan, particularly a plan that incentivized and required changes regarding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. A few open house participants questioned the County’s development of a CAP, and County staff answered these questions clearly at the meeting. The vast majority of participants support the generation of clean, green energy in the county.

Presentations

County Planning Director Tim Snellings welcomed participants, thanked them for attending the open house, and introduced the evening’s speakers. He shared the California Governor’s enthusiasm and support for renewable wind and solar energy. He emphasized the economic benefits and explained potential opportunities provided by updated building construction codes and electric vehicles. Mr. Snellings highlighted Butte College as an example of leadership in solar PV installation. He asked participants to answer the question: “Where do we go from here?”

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Three presentations were provided

County CAP framework, and an introduction to the CAP. T discussions are summarized below. Questions

summary. Please refer to the video recording of the meeting for more detail County’s Climate Action Plan website

Local Experience

Jim Wagoner from the Butte County Air Quality the City of Chico shared their local experience

Mr. Wagoner introduced the role of the BCAQMD and provided an overview of air pollution change, and GHG emissions. He explaine

addresses GHG emissions impacts and

measures, and that CEQA streamlining is available through a climate action plan Meeting participants were invited to ask questions

• Regarding electric vehicles:

o They can be recycled. Ms. Herman shared the City of Chico’s and community-wide GHG inventory,

provided to open house attendees highlighting local experience, framework, and an introduction to the CAP. These presentations

. Questions and responses have been abridged for the purpose of this Please refer to the video recording of the meeting for more detail, available online at the

website, www.buttecap.net.

the Butte County Air Quality Management District (BCAQMD) and Linda Herman shared their local experiences related to the CAP.

Mr. Wagoner introduced the role of the BCAQMD and provided an overview of air pollution

and GHG emissions. He explained that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and requires that significant emissions be reduced through mitigation measures, and that CEQA streamlining is available through a climate action plan.

nts were invited to ask questions. Mr. Wagoner responded as follows: Regarding electric vehicles: What happens to all of the old batteries?

They can be recycled.

City of Chico’s CAP process. She explained that the City conducted a

inventory, evaluated the inventory results, and identified areas to local experience, the Butte and the group’s been abridged for the purpose of this , available online at the

Linda Herman from

Mr. Wagoner introduced the role of the BCAQMD and provided an overview of air pollution, climate that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) through mitigation

Mr. Wagoner responded as follows:

. She explained that the City conducted a citywide evaluated the inventory results, and identified areas to

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concentrate their GHG emissions reduction efforts. In 2008, the City of Chico chose their goal: 25% GHG emissions reduction below 2005 emissions by 2020 in two phases. Ms. Herman also briefly discussed the City’s strategies to reduce GHG emissions.

Meeting participants were invited to ask questions. Ms. Herman responded as follows:

• In 2005, there were different vehicle types, and there will be more efficient vehicles in the future. Do you think that we’re going to be producing less GHG emissions than projected in 2008?

o The 2008 GHG emissions projections are accurate. We likely won’t be producing less GHG emissions in 2020 than projected.

• How does the County’s General Plan coordinate with the CAP project? What is driving this process in our County’s General Plan?

o The CAP project originates from our County’s General Plan Conservation Element and state law.

Butte County Climate Action Plan Framework

Butte County Principal Planner Dan Breedon provided an overview of the Butte County CAP Framework. Mr. Breedon shared that the County’s General Plan focuses development away from areas the community wants to protect and integrates principles of sustainability in all policies. He explained Butte County’s wealth and resources and the importance of sustaining these assets. He defined sustainability as practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Mr. Breedon shared that the General Plan supports sustainability as an important part of the region’s future.

Meeting participants were invited to ask questions. Mr. Breedon responded as follows:

• Does CEQA streamlining take away from the purpose of the law to protect the environment?

o No. CEQA streamlining provisions create a framework for projects to adhere to. It supports GHG emissions reduction.

• What is our county’s population growth rate?

o About 1% population growth per year, though it varies year-to-year. • Were property rights considered?

o Yes, we consider private property rights.

Introduction to the Climate Action Plan

Jeff Henderson of PMC provided an overview of the purpose and contents of a CAP. He described how the CAP will implement part of the Butte County General Plan. He shared the objectives of the CAP: to address California’s Assembly Bill 32 by reducing GHG emissions, to enable CEQA streamlining, to help

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the community become more resilient, and to provide an opportunity for community engagement. Mr. Henderson briefly reviewed the sources of 2006 GHG emissions in the county.

Meeting participants were invited to comment and ask questions. Mr. Henderson responded as follows: • Since a number GHG emissions reduction measures have already been taken in the county (e.g.,

solar panel installation, electric vehicle use), haven’t our GHG emissions reduced since 2006?

o Yes, these activities have occurred and they do reduce GHG emissions, but population continues to grow, and the CAP implements state requirements in light of this growth. • How are we going to monitor the CAP?

o A monitoring program will be set up as part of the CAP.

• My understanding is that this is not mandated by the state. Is that true?

o There is no state mandate for a local government to prepare a CAP. Rather, AB 32 establishes requirements for the state as a whole to reduce emissions to 1990 levels, CEQA requires lead agencies to consider GHG emissions impacts of proposed projects, and Butte County’s General Plan commits the County to prepare a CAP as a way to demonstrate consistency with CEQA requirements and AB 32.

Participant comments included:

• We don’t have a choice and we need to regulate GHG emissions. We need to look at this as an investment in the county’s future.

• We should encourage “living with climate change.”

• Need to consider the net effect of agriculture taking into account the role agriculture plays in reducing GHG emissions (total Agricultural GHG emissions – carbon sequestration1 = net GHG emissions).

Polling Exercise

After the presentations, meeting participants were invited to take part in a live polling exercise using TurningPoint technology. After a few warm-up questions, attendees were asked about their general understanding and preferences regarding GHG emissions reduction requirements and policy, and their preferred lifestyle choices. Questions and corresponding results from the live polling exercise are listed below. Please note that this poll is not a statistically valid survey.

1

Carbon sequestration is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as the process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide is taken by trees, grasses, and other plants through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass (trunks, branches, foliage, and rocks) and soils.

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1. True or false: California law requires PG&E to obtain 33% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. (The correct answer was “True.”)

• 58% of participants selected “True” • 21% chose “False”

• 21% chose “Not sure”

2. Should residents, businesses, and government in Butte County try to generate clean, green energy via solar, wind, biofuels, etc.?

• 92% chose “Yes” • 8% chose “No” • 0% chose “Not sure”

3. On average, how many miles do you drive each week? • 8% drive 0 miles

• 33% drive 1 to 50 miles • 17% drive 50 to 100 miles • 42% drive more than 100 miles 4. Do you own a hybrid vehicle?

• 16% own a hybrid vehicle • 84% do not

5. Would you ever consider buying an all-electric vehicle? • 69% would consider buying an all-electric vehicle • 19% would not consider it

• 12% are not sure

6. About how many miles would an all-electric vehicle need to get on a charge for you to consider a purchase? (Respondents could choose more than one answer.)

• 4% of respondents chose 50 or fewer miles per charge • 13% chose 100 miles per charge

• 0% chose 150 miles per charge • 38% chose 200 miles per charge • 33% chose 300 miles per charge • 8% chose 400 miles or more per charge • 4% chose “Not sure”

7. Do you like seeing photovoltaic (solar electricity) technology installed on rooftops and parking garages?

• 88% of respondents chose “Yes” • 4% chose “No”

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• 8% chose “Not sure”

8. Do you support photovoltaic (solar electricity) technology installed on the ground on parcels with poor soil quality?

• 71% of respondents chose “Yes” • 17% chose “No”

• 12% chose “Not sure”

9. Would you support photovoltaic (solar electricity) technology installed on the ground next to your property if it were at least 100 feet from your property?

• 67% of respondents chose “Yes” • 21% chose “No”

• 12% chose “Not sure”

10. Do you think the visual impacts of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels near your property are worth the benefit having renewable energy produced near your residence?

• 76% of respondents chose “Yes” • 16% chose “No”

• 8% chose “Not sure”

11. Do you prefer centralized renewable energy sources, such as a large array of wind turbines or solar panels, or decentralized renewable energy sources such as rooftop-mounted solar?

• 5% of respondents chose “Centralized” • 76% chose “Decentralized”

• 19% chose “Not sure”

12. If large solar arrays were to be erected in Butte County, where would they be most appropriate? • 77% of respondents chose “Non-prime-agriculture (grazing areas)”

• 5% chose “Prime agriculture (orchard and row crop land)” • 18% chose “Not sure”

Participants asked questions and shared comments following the live polling exercise as follows: • It would be helpful to know how many miles most modern electric vehicles get per charge. • I am not sure about the polling questions. They are too weighted. For example: Would you ever

consider driving an electric car? “Ever” or “never” should not be included in the questions. • The location of solar is important. It is more appropriately located on buildings than over

agricultural land.

• I think we should consider regulations for contractors. What percentage of the cost will be passed on to consumers? What is the process for this decision-making? What is the cost-benefit analysis?

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o The CAP will analyze these types of issues and provide recommendations for Butte County.

Open House

After the presentations and group discussion, Mr. Henderson introduced the open house poster activity. The purpose of the activity was to evaluate trade-offs in order to recommend actions for the CAP. Seven posters were set up around the room: one poster describing the purpose and content of a CAP, and six other posters representing six sectors:

1. Emissions from Energy in Our Homes 2. Emissions from Energy in Our Businesses 3. Emissions from Energy in Our New Buildings 4. Generating Renewable Energy

5. Emissions from Our Cars 6. Emissions from Agriculture

Each of the six posters asked about preferences for implementation of specific policies or programs. Participants provided feedback by placing sticky dots to indicate their preference for the degree to which the County should act to encourage a specific action (encourage, incentivize, or require). Mr. Henderson explained the spectrum of possible actions in the CAP: mandatory actions provide greater certainty for the CAP; encouragements and incentive-based actions are less certain.

Mr. Henderson shared the questions the project team was interested in answering: • What makes the most sense for your community?

• How can the County be most effective? • What benefits or costs trump other concerns?

Staff was stationed between the posters, providing opportunities for questions and discussion about the concepts presented on the posters and the CAP in general.

Emissions from Energy in Our Homes

The Emissions from Energy in Our Homes station provided information regarding energy use in Butte County homes and different strategies the County could employ to reduce energy use. Participants were invited to choose if the County should encourage, incentivize, or require energy use reduction in homes.

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Encourage Incentivize Require

Number of participants who chose strategy type 3 4 7

Community members were also invited to answer the question: “How should we achieve energy efficiency in our existing homes?”

Participants posted the following comments under the “Encourage” comment category: • Water-saving landscaping and irrigation systems.

• Reduce lawns, especially in parking strips – save water, fuel for mowers and blowers, reduce fertilizers and pesticides.

• Affordable means for contractors and building departments to get information on new codes, products, and methods.

• Increase broadband access so rural residents can get information via Internet. Participants provided the following feedback under the “Require” comment category:

• Enforcement is difficult and expensive – encourages not getting building permits.

Emissions from Energy in Our Businesses

The Emissions from Energy in Our Businesses station provided information regarding energy use in Butte County businesses and industries and different strategies the County could employ to reduce energy use. Participants were invited to choose if the County should encourage, incentivize, or require energy use reduction in businesses.

Encourage Incentivize Require

Number of participants who chose strategy type 2 3 3

Community members were also invited to answer the question: “How should we achieve energy efficiency in our businesses?”

Participants posted the following comments under the “Encourage” comment category: • No fracking.

• Harvest forest areas so wildfires are minimized. Remove timber that has been in a fire or that is bug infested to reduce new fires like the one we just had.

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Participants posted the following comments under the “Incentivize” comment category:

• Incentivize? This is now required by 2025.

• Retrofit older businesses and build new ones with energy-saving technology.

Participants provided the following feedback under the “Require” comment category:

• Many buildings are rented/leased; owners don’t get payback.

• Cost/benefit concerns.

Emissions from Energy in Our New Buildings

The Emissions from Energy in Our New Buildings station provided information regarding energy use in Butte County new homes and businesses and different strategies the County could employ to reduce energy use. Participants were invited to choose if the County should encourage, incentivize, or require energy use reduction in new homes and businesses.

Encourage Incentivize Require

Number of participants who chose strategy type 0 1 7

Community members were also invited to answer the question: “How should we achieve energy efficiency in new buildings?”

No comments were posted under the “Encourage” and “Require” categories. Participants posted the following comments under the “Incentivize” comment category:

• Solar roofing tiles.

• More bikeways, encourage both pedestrian and bicycle traffic. • More use of solar panels on all structures.

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Generating Renewable Energy

The Generating Renewable Energy station provided information about renewable energy and different strategies the County could employ to increase renewable energy generation. Participants were invited to choose if the County should encourage, incentivize, or require renewable energy generation.

Encourage Incentivize Require

Number of participants who chose strategy type 2 5 4

Community members were also invited to answer the question: “How should we increase the generation of renewable energy?”

Participants posted the following comments under the “Encourage” comment category: • Rooftop solar on businesses and homes.

• Encourage hydropower statewide.

• Use local businesses to install there and service them on any City or County installation.

No comments were posted under the “Incentivize” category. Participants provided the following feedback under the “Require” comment category:

• What part of the CAP has been mandated and by whom? • Require zero-emission homes and businesses.

• Develop an independent grid for the county.

Emissions from Our Cars

The Emissions from Our Cars station provided information about motor vehicle emissions and different strategies the County could employ to reduce emissions. Participants were invited to choose if the County should encourage, incentivize, or require motor vehicle emissions reduction.

Encourage Incentivize Require

Number of participants who chose strategy type 1 4 3

Community members were also invited to answer the question: “How should we increase the generation of renewable energy?”

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Participants posted the following comments under the “Encourage” comment category:

• Provide real bus service – every 15–20 minutes would encourage many, many more riders. • Increase awareness (education) on the advantages of propane fuel for vehicles.

Participants posted the following comments under the “Incentivize” comment category:

• County and City order dedicated propane vehicles for your fleet. 20% reduction of CO2 drops. Fleet will last twice as long. Oil changes are half as often.

• How about low-interest or no-interest loans for businesses that will reduce emissions? • Increase incentives (grants/rebates) for alternative fuel transportation vehicles. • Local subsidy/grants for bus services that take vehicles off the road.

• Charge a pollution impact fee for diesel trucks at registration ($250). Charge a pollution impact fee of $250 for any car that gets less than 20 miles per gallon. Upgrade to electric buses. Install electric car chargers all over.

Participants provided the following feedback under the “Require” comment category: • Have CARB agree to accept EPA

certificates of conformity for bi-fuel (propane and gas) converted new and titled vehicles.

• Require new subdivisions to plan in sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

• Encourage bicycle use – fund a bike-way system with fees from

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Emissions from Agriculture

The Emissions from Agriculture station provided information regarding agriculture in Butte County and different strategies the County could employ to reduce energy use. Participants were invited to choose if the County should encourage, incentivize, or require reductions in emissions from agriculture and to provide strategy ideas and feedback.

Encourage Incentivize Require

Number of participants who chose strategy type

Irrigation 1 0 7

Crop Practices 1 1 6

Farm Equipment Operation 1 5 0

Participants provided the following feedback regarding emissions from irrigation under the “Encourage” comment category:

• Convert to VFD pumps, electric, with time of use controls. Use soil moisture sensors to control irrigation.

Participants provided the following feedback regarding emissions from crop practices under the “Encourage” comment category:

• Encourage brush shred-in-place instead of push-and-burn. Participants provided the following feedback regarding emissions from farm equipment operation under the “Incentivize” comment category (first comment listed) and under the “Require” comment category (second and third comments listed):

• Anticipate less water and less reliable water due to lower snowpack, more weather extremes, drier climate. Do not over-allocate water. Encourage water conservation. • Repeal the current carbon imposed diesel emissions

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off-road and stationary equipment to replace older equipment with new when it needs to be replaced. Just like your car.

Other Comments

In addition to the comments included above, participants shared their feedback on comment cards that were collected at the end of the meeting and via e-mail, which are provided below.

• Require all reduction measures.

• State requirements should encourage more efficient vehicles for things like state medical transport. They drive a million miles a year or more.

• The economy is never more important than the environment. We need to require zero-emission homes and buildings by 2025 or 2030 in the building code. The technology is here now and we need to use it wisely. We need to charge a pollution impact fee for any car over

200hp/300hp/400hp.The more hp, the bigger the fee. Or maybe go by mileage and charge more for cars and trucks that get less than 30, or less than 25, or less than 20. And then, use the fee to promote green energy projects. We can make it pay off for the farmer to switch to an electric pump barn and should help finance the switch.

• Chico cheated by using 2005 levels; I want an estimate at least for 1990. Chico and the County should be planning from 1990 levels to compare to Kyoto. We need to punish the polluters to pay for lowering CO2. Electric cars are paying off for the Dutch. Just takes get getting used to and having convenient charging points around the county.

• Rice straw, corn stalks, and wheat waste can be used to make stronger and lighter cement. So it does not have to be burned. The only true sustainable way to farm is organic farming. We need to ban the pesticides that kill the bees that we need to pollinate the almonds. They are planning on allowing it on rice. We should be an all-organic county.

• Together we can do a lot to reduce CO2 and make an impact beyond the county. • I would rather spend the money on security.

• My understanding is a climate action plan has not been mandated.

• If one believes the premise that man-made global warming is scientifically true. • Who said the climate is changing?

• Eliminate all incentives. Let the marketplace pick the alternative fuel vehicle winner. If you did that, propane would win and hybrids, electrics, and CNG would lose.

• This is rural country! Reasonable to require [emissions reductions from cars]? • Cost!

Next Steps

Mr. Henderson briefly described the next steps in the Butte County Climate Action Plan project process. • Complete emissions inventory in spring 2013.

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• Propose reduction measures in spring 2013.

• Conduct additional stakeholder outreach to review measures, including the Butte County Fair, during the spring and summer 2013.

• Prepare draft CAP to be presented to the Planning Commission in October and the Board of Supervisors in December 2013.

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