According to this StarTribune article, Burnsville is forging ahead to make a name for itself in the State as the first city to have a sustainability plan. While many of the ideas are great, many are not and have caused backlash. At the end of the day this is nothing more than another common sense idea getting attention for no good reason.
From the article:
The city follows 14 practices that cover everything the city buys, the energy it uses, the emissions it makes, the land and trees the city owns, and all the drinking and surface water in the city’s care. And since adopting the plan in 2009, the city has noted and reported all its victories.
There are small ones, such as buying five big banners made entirely of recycled plastic water bottles and handing out pencils for school and scout presentations made out of recycled tires. And there are big ones, including a 54 percent reduction in electricity use at the city’s water department.
The water department was targeted for improvement when a city survey showed that two thirds of the city’s electricity use went toward drinking water production.
The remedy was a new $13 million city water pumping station at the Edward Kraemer & Sons limestone quarry on Cliff Road.
Underground water rises to the surface during the quarrying process, allowing the city to pump 4 million gallons a day for city use. The quarry water is combined with water from 17 municipal wells and treated for drinking.
This arrangement produces 8 percent more water using 54 percent less energy than in 2009.
Ooh, banners and pencils made from recycled materials; items which sound great in a press release but, at least in the case of the pencils, cost more and don’t operate as well as traditional wooden pencils made from renewable sources which have been used for 450 years.
Yet the icing on the cake should have been the 54% energy savings for the water department. If Burnsville really wanted to make a statement they should have simply stopped there with this press release article. Unfortunately they forged ahead noting it was because of the switch to water pumped out of Mayor Kautz’s favorite soon-to-be shopping and recreation area that’s still currently a mine pit. This is the same water which Burnsville residents love to complain about and which the City of Savage turned off because it was so disgusting.
Much like recycled rubber tire pencils which don’t work all that well but are sustainable (less sustainable than the renewable sources wood pencils originate from), this energy savings comes from a lower quality source with a lower quality output. Way to go Burnsville! While this is a great press release for a topic which had traction back in 2008 and 2009 (GO GREEN!), it’s just not something anyone is talking about anymore in politics. There are any number of far more important initiatives the City of Burnsville should be working through right now but yet here they are sending out press releases about nothing as usual.
What do you think about this one? Do you care if Burnsville switches to #2 pencils made from recycled tires or saved energy pumping out awful water to your home? Do you find it funny that with all that’s going on in the South Metro they are continuing to flood the media with fluff instead of important news items such as making a name for themselves in economic development, lower taxes, or public safety? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.