Oak Park residents packed the house to send a message to Village trustees: We want green energy back! Citizens came out in full force to voice support for green energy at the Oak Park Village Board meeting on Monday, April 21. The audience filled all the seats, sat in the aisles, stood at the back of the room and even went up into the balcony. Participants let the Village Board know that they disagreed with the decision to go with a brown energy supplier for Oak Park's municipal aggregation electricity program. They pointed out the climate impact of continued fossil fuel use, clearly a key concern for many in the room. It was a powerful and inspiring experience for residents and trustees alike.
Twenty residents spoke during the public comment period, which lasted more than an hour. Even residents who didn't directly address the trustees were lively and engaged. The audience applauded their neighbors' eloquence, nodded vigorously in agreement with their passionate arguments and sometimes vocalized displeasure with the Board.
As resident Mac Robinet said, “We’re all learning from this.” The 60 minutes of public comments highlight Oak Park’s history of taking leadership on difficult issues, point out the important role that cities are playing in addressing climate change and illustrate, in a variety of ways, that what Oak Park does matters. The perspective of new home buyers who are considering Oak Park and looking for a socially conscious community was presented. Also heard was that although the brown energy option was on its face the lowest cost option, residents identified a myriad of hidden costs that affect health and prospects for the future. You can view a recorded telecast of the entire meeting online here.
Afterward, when it was the trustees' turn to speak, Colette Lueck, who has been serving in Oak Park government for 25 years, told the audience that this issue spurred the strongest outpouring of resident participation she's ever seen. In addition to packing the board meeting, residents sent emails and letters, called the trustees, wrote opinion pieces for the newspapers, and delivered a petition with over 500 signatures.
Read more in the Wednesday Journal: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/4-22-2014/Sounding-down-on-brown-energy/ and in Oak Leaves: http://oakpark.suntimes.com/news/government/electric-OAK-05012014:article
Oak Park IL residents -- to opt for 100% renewable (green) energy, please follow these easy instructions before May 8! Please also spread the word to others.