Energy Committee Meeting Minutes 11.1.23

Arlington Energy Committee


Wednesday, November 1, 2023

6:30 to 8:00pm


In attendance: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Karen Lee, Jenny Murtaugh, Mary Anne Holmes, Alexandra Ernst, Garrett Siegel (Alternate), Mardi Crane

Nick Zaiac, Town Administrator

Absent:  Mary Ann Carlson

Guests present:  Joan Nash

  1. CALL TO ORDER: at 6:30 pm
  2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:   Mary Anne Holmes moved to approve, Mardi Crane seconded, motion passed unanimously by all present.
  3. OLD BUSINESS:  Carbon Tracking Tool presentation preparation

Steph, Karen and Joan reported that they met as a subcommittee on October 12th and worked on the plan for the presentation. Karen thanked Joan for the tremendous amount of work she put into creating the slide deck. She then went through all the slides, assigning sections to each committee member: Steph will introduce the project, giving background on the AEC; Karen will talk about the process by which the AEC came to create the carbon tracking tool; Joan will take the Select Board through the spreadsheets briefly and go into more depth on the charts; Alex will share the work done to compile the data for the fossil fuel chart; Mary Anne will discuss the value of Arlington’s having a healthy soil management strategy to capture carbon in our green spaces; Jenny will explain that the AEC will continue to analyze the town forest and develop recommendations for managing it for maximum carbon capture, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities; and Mardi will summarize the project, underscoring that this is a living document that will be utilized in the years to come to help track carbon emissions, assess our progress toward carbon neutrality, and will be shared with other towns—thus raising Arlington’s visibility as a leader in climate resiliency and civic engagement.  One of the summarizing points will be to explain that as the committee continues its work on this ongoing project, it will make recommendations to the SB on steps the town can take to sequester carbon and reduce emissions.  The members present suggested edits to the slides which Joan will incorporate before sharing the document with the whole committee.  Each person will prepare brief, well-crafted remarks and practice them before the rehearsal scheduled for next Wednesday, November 8 at 9am (at the Town Hall and online).  Essentially, each will briefly state their area of expertise and then address the focus of the slides assigned to them.  The rehearsal will be a good opportunity to time the presentation and to give constructive feedback to each presenter.  It may be that the group will need to meet an additional time before it makes the presentation to the SB on Dec. 4 at 7pm.  It is also possible that Alex will not be available to make her presentation due to travel obligations.  Steph will reach out to Mary Ann Carlson to see what part she would like to play in this, as it would be great to have her presence.

New Business

  1. While no one was available to attend the forum hosted by Sunderland’s Energy Committee on October 26, Energy Forum to Explore the Transition to Renewables, Joan was able to share a report from a Manchester resident who did attend (Chris Andersen) whose opinion was, essentially, that while one panelist was addressing solutions, the others were throwing up roadblocks.  Representatives Kathleen James and Seth Bongartz attended.  The committee members this evening discussed how important it is to attend these sorts of gatherings with the hope of finding out how to talk with people with deeply differing opinions about energy reduction and transitioning goals and strategies. Steph will see if GNAT-TV recorded it and, if so, will share the link with the committee.
    1. Alex, Garret, and Mary Anne shared their take-aways from having watched the GNAT-TV recording of Shaping the Future of Electricity in Vermont, a presentation of the BCRC which Nick attended.  Alex and Nick talked about one of the ideas which is to introduce more small-scale hydro projects to create renewable energy in our county (in many cases, the recommendation is to either get rid of old dams or convert them to the new models that don’t cut off fish).  Mary Anne shared that there was also discussion about how many new jobs will be created because of the new green projects and companies—something that the committee needs to keep in mind when talking with Arlington residents.

Next Meetings:            Wednesday, November 8 at 9am to rehearse presentation

                                    Monday, December 4, 7pm to make presentation to SB

                                    Wednesday, December 6, 6:30 pm for regularly scheduled meeting

Motion to adjourn by Garret, seconded by Mary Anne; passed unanimously by all present.  Meeting adjourned at 7:55 pm.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Stephanie Moffett-Hynds

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