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NH mayors will sign pledge to uphold Paris climate agreement

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

July 18. 2017 10:34PM




Representatives of five New Hampshire cities, including two mayors, are expected to gather in Concord today to commit to efforts to uphold the Paris climate agreement, but Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is not expected to be on hand.

Gatsas has a prior commitment, said Chief of Staff Samantha Piatt, and Gatsas did not answer a question — relayed through Piatt — about whether he will sign the pledge, which has been signed by hundreds of U.S. mayors.

“I certainly reached out to the (Gatsas) office recently and indicated a number of other mayors are signing on. I hope he might consider it,” said Rob Werner, state director of the New Hampshire League of Conservation Voters and a Concord city councilor.

Today, the Conservation League and the New Hampshire chapter of the Sierra Club will host a roundtable featuring New Hampshire mayors or their representatives who will re-commit to the Paris Climate Agreement, according to the Conservation League.

The mayors of Nashua and Lebanon are expected to be on hand, as well as representatives of the mayors of Portsmouth, Keene and Concord, Werner said.

Werner said the organization has reached out to all 13 mayors in the state and expects about half to sign on to the effort, which is being organized through climatemayors.org.

In a statement released through Piatt, Gatsas said: “Manchester is a leader within our state and region when to comes to energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.”

Gatsas noted the conversion of street lights to LEDs, which saved $600,000 in electricity costs, and the use of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design principles in city building projects.

“We have always been a leader because it is responsible, and it is the right thing to do. These are the commitments I have made to the taxpayers of this city and that’s exactly how I intend to continue to lead,” Gatsas said.

On Monday, the climatemayors website said mayors from 359 cities have signed on to the effort, which was launched after President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement.

According to the website, the mayors agree to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.”

The signatories include Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Today’s roundtable is scheduled for 11 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building. Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess and Lebanon Mayor Suzanne Prentiss are scheduled to be on hand, as well as representatives for Portsmouth Mayor Jim Blalock and Keene Mayor Kendall Lane.

Werner said he will represent Concord Mayor Jim Bouley, who plans to sign the accord. Werner said he has heard positive feedback from other mayors, such as Dover’s Karen Weston, but she must consult with her board before making a commitment.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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