From El Paso Matters:
It will cost the city of El Paso about $150 million to implement the Climate Charter if voters adopt the measure, according to a consultant hired by City Council to estimate the cost to enact the policies designed to address climate change in the borderland.
The city revealed the estimate this week ahead of Tuesday’s City Council meeting where representatives will examine the Climate Charter’s cost. The total cost could reach as much as $155 million over the life of the charter, between now and 2045. The study posted Thursday as an attachment to the agenda is the first time the city has estimated the Climate Charter’s price tag publicly.
On its website, the city estimated that enacting the Climate Charter would cost over $4 million annually, although the costs published on the city website differed slightly from the consultant’s study.
Supporters of the Climate Charter did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the city’s cost estimate. Meanwhile, El Paso Electric and business groups in the city have voiced vehement opposition to the Climate Charter.
The Climate Charter, which is over 2,500 words long, consists of several wide-ranging policies that would become part of the city charter. The policies aim to do things like reduce emissions from El Paso Electric’s power plants, increase solar power generation in the city and create a city climate department to track and report local emissions.
The Climate Charter landed on the ballot for the May 6 city election after environmental organizers gathered around 22,000 verified signatures on a petition last year.
The city hired consultant Yearout Energy, which has offices in Albuquerque, Dallas and Denver, to estimate what it would cost to enact some of the Climate Charter’s policies. The city also hired Austin-based consultant Heather Bailey to study how much it would cost to convert El Paso Electric from an investor-owned utility into a city-owned entity.
Yearout’s study only calculated the potential expenses to enact three of the proposed policies. The consultant concluded that it would cost the city about $192,000 annually to calculate and track emissions in the El Paso area and produce a yearly report.