Cape Cod Commission members are split over whether to add new climate change mitigation goals to the 2018 Regional Policy Plan.
On Thursday, more than 50 people attended a virtual hearing where commissioners considered amendments that would promote solar power, electric cars, and increase natural carbon sequestration through actions like tree planting to reduce the region's carbon footprint.
Instead of voting, commissioners asked for more time to consider the matter, and will reconvene over Zoom on June 25.
Prior to the meeting, the commission’s staff recommended members vote against all amendments proposed by the environmental group 350 Cape Cod.
During the meeting, the commission’s chief regulatory officer, Jon Idman, questioned whether the application of the proposed changes would be “feasible, appropriate, and manageable,” adding the Regional Policy Plan already lays out climate mitigation goals, and it has to balance other needs like transportation and housing.
Some commissioners, like Kevin Grunwald of Truro, agreed.
“The Cape Cod Commission has been a leader on the issue of climate change,” he said. “I know that they take it very seriously. And I think the plan meets the needs that we have as it stands right now."
But other commissioners like Cheryl Andrews of Provincetown signaled support, saying she was struck by the fact that over 300 Cape residents had signed a petition to support the amendments.
“I think this is a real chance for the Cape Cod Commission to take a leadership role that up to now we haven’t,” she said.
Chris Powicki of 350 Cape Cod urged members to consider the urgent dangers climate change poses to the region.
“Inaction is a dramatic form of action, and that’s really what staff are proposing, is inaction,” he said. “We need to change the [Regional Policy Plan] now so we can start the process of cutting emissions dramatically over the next 10 years.”
Written public comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.