With support from Mothers Out Front, Council adopts Renewable Energy order and moves to dump TransCanada

President Obama's veto to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline isn't the only bad news for the TransCanada Corporation these days. Late last week, the Cambridge City Council voted to send the energy giant a rebuke of its own.

On Friday morning, the council unanimously approved a policy order sponsored by Dennis Carlone, aiming to get the City to switch to a new supplier of electricity for all municipal operations. Presently, the City obtains its electricity from TransCanada, the same corporate entity behind Keystone XL, the notorious pipeline project that has been described as "game over" for the planet by noted scientist James Hansen.

With the approval of this order, the City Manager is now requested to terminate the City's relationship with TransCanada. Instead, the City will look to identify a new supplier to provide up to 100% renewable energy for all municipal operations.

This policy order was the product of a series of discussions that Councillor Carlone had with members of Mothers Out Front, a promising new advocacy group that formed in Cambridge and is now expanding to other municipalities and states. Additional information about this order was posted to Councillor Carlone's blog last month, click here for that report. And posted above is a video featuring powerful public testimony and council discussion on the matter.

The council is also looking to explore the potential for a utility aggregation program to further advance the City's goal of becoming a net zero community. To follow up on this topic, Councillor Carlone has scheduled a meeting of the Public Utilities committee for Wednesday, March 4rd, in the Lombardi Building, which is next to City Hall. More information about that hearing is available here.

The full text of the policy order is posted below...

City Council Office
 Policy Order Resolution  
  O-18
  IN CITY COUNCIL
 
  February 23, 2015
 
COUNCILLOR CARLONE
 

 

WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge obtains electricity for municipal operations through a contract with TransCanada Corporation; and
    
WHEREAS: TransCanada is the driving force behind Keystone XL, a proposal to create a 1,179-mile pipeline to deliver tar sands oil from to the United States; and
    
WHEREAS: Jim Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has stated that the Keystone XL pipeline would mean "game over" for the environment, because exploitation of tar sands oil would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts; and 
    
WHEREAS:

It has come to the attention of the City Council that our contract with TransCanada is set to expire at the end of the year; now therefore be it 

     
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested not to enter into any future contracts to obtain electricity from TransCanada; and be it further
     

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to investigate the possibility of entering into an agreement to obtain up to 100% renewable power for all municipal electricity needs; and be it further
     

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council on this matter.

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