News » Citydesk

Boise's (Very, Very) Long-Term Planning

Environmental sustainability hits the agenda of this week's Public Utilities Commission


While a robust debate continues to swirl about "smart growth" in Boise, the city's Public Works Commission will dive in to more long-term conversations on Wednesday, July 11, specifically regarding the environment and sustainability.

In 2017, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter joined more than 70 other U.S. mayors to urge President Donald Trump to reconsider pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

"Knowing how important this is to Boiseans, it was a pretty easy decision to make," said Bieter. "Ever since [Trump's] election, we've prepared to push as hard as we can on certain issues."

The mayor wasn't a Dave-come-lately to the debate. He was among the first in the nation—and the first Idaho mayor—to sign onto a Mayor's Agreement on Climate Change in 2005.

"All these years later, I can tell you this is a daily push," said Bieter.

That push will be renewed this week by the Public Works Commission when it gets an update on a Climate Adaptation Assessment that has identified four key tasks: analysis of the city's current energy usage; consideration of renewables and energy efficiencies; evaluation of practical, achievable goals; and development of timeframes and metrics to assess progress.

Additionally, the Public Works Commission will get an update on the city's much-touted plastic recycling program, in the wake of a massive roll-out and community outreach on how residents should be managing their used plastics. To date, city staff says the program has been experiencing "some contamination" issues with high levels of No. 1 plastics (i.e. milk or detergent jugs, soft drink bottles) ending up in the recently distributed orange-colored Hefty EnergyBags. Staff said it's an ongoing process, and even after eight community sessions attracted more than 500 attendees in April and May, they expect more in-person outreach sessions in the near future.