Irelend wants the canary to sing |

Irelend wants the canary to sing

ASPEN ” Mayoral candidate Mick Ireland wants to raise the environmental bar for Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.

Standing before a painting of Aspen’s flora and fauna at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Ireland introduced his environmental initiative at a press conference Wednesday.

Ireland praised the work of current Mayor Helen Klanderud and the City Council on the Canary Initiative ” Aspen’s program to combat global warming ” and added, “But the time has come to uncage that canary and hear her sing.”

Ireland’s goal: Reduce the valley’s carbon footprint by 5 million pounds per year and implement more regionwide cooperation on the environment and global warming.

“The commitment I am asking today is different, larger and more urgent that that … it’s a regional vision that will bring communities together to reduce their effects on global warming,” Ireland said.

“If ever a wooden stake were needed to be driven into the heart of an environmental monster, it would be here on the Western Slope,” Ireland said of plans to increase oil shale development, which would drain water supplies and create mounds of tailings for what he called an “unsound energy source.”

Ireland called for a series of “symbolic steps,” including upgrading lights at the city garage and boilers in city facilities, requiring events to match the recycling standards set by the Winter X Games, turning off the gas-powered hearth on the downtown mall, enforcing diesel emissions standards on vehicles, and reigning in construction and development.

The candidate also said future employee housing, including the units yet to be built at Burlingame Ranch, are an opportunity tread more lightly on the environment. He called for retrofitting Aspen homes with energy-efficient appliances, better windows and insulation, and conducting free energy audits for all homeowners and compulsory audits and upgrades when affordable units are sold.

Ireland called the Aspen mayoral seat a “bully pulpit” with national name recognition, which makes the position a place to lead by example.

“Simply put, Aspen should commit to reducing our carbon footprint by 5 million pounds per year,” Ireland said. “I will do everything I can to make Aspen a true example to the rest of the world in the fight against global warming.”

See Friday’s Aspen Times for more on Ireland’s proposal, and reaction from his opponents.

Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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