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Renton Mayor Kathy Keolker Returns from Sundance Summit Inspired to Take Action on Global Warming

September 14, 2007

For more information contact:

Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569

This week Mayor Keolker joined mayors from across the country at the Sundance Summit: A Mayors’ Gathering on Climate Protection, where they gathered to share the latest information on global warming and participate in workshops outlining concrete steps they can take to help their cities confront climate challenges. The third annual event took place at Robert Redford’s Sundance Village retreat and was co-hosted and funded by Robert Redford, the Sundance Preserve, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.

“It was an honor to attend the Sundance Summit on behalf of Renton. The event was an inspirational testament to the power of local governments in addressing global warming,” said Mayor Kathy Keolker. “Renton has already taken several steps to build a strong and healthy future for our community by protecting our environment. We are adding a hybrid boom truck and the world’s first hybrid aid vehicle to our fleet. The Springbrook Creek Mitigation Bank, the first of its kind in Washington, will enhance over 130 acres of wetlands in Renton. Renton has been active in protecting the Cedar Valley Aquifer for more than 20 years and we have been successful in substantially reducing the risk of aquifer contamination, thereby preserving for the future our only source of pure drinking water.

From tree plantings in spring to Clean and Green Saturdays and Clean Sweep Renton, we’re keeping our city beautiful and taking care of our environment. I look forward using the knowledge I gained at the Summit to advance Renton’s climate protection work.”

A bi-partisan group of 40 mayors, representing millions of Americans, attended this year’s event. The Summit comes as local officials and citizens in many parts of the U.S. cope with record-breaking heat waves and devastating floods. It also follows a May report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that reaffirmed the urgency of global warming, but noted the worst impacts could be averted through energy efficiency and investment in cleaner technologies.

The Summit commenced Sunday night with opening remarks from Robert Redford and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, both of whom praised the mayors for their leadership and implored them to push their climate and sustainability efforts to the next level. A copy of the full Summit agenda is available at www.sundancesummit.com.

“It’s no secret that national leadership has been sorely lacking for too many years, but what is not so well known is how innovative and effective mayors have been during this same time period in advancing new ways of running their cities with climate change impacts in mind,” said Redford. “They have been very creative in their approach and out of this has come a unique brand of social change, particular to municipal leadership,” he continued. “It is very impressive.”

This year’s Summit helped put the IPCC’s recommendations into action, providing mayors with an overview on the latest climate science and offering practical ideas and tools to adopt solutions in their cities. Mayors were encouraged to purchase renewable energy, advance energy efficiency and establish green building codes. Another key Summit goal was to foster a deeper mayoral understanding of and engagement in the issue of an emissions cap being discussed on the national level. Boosting the mayors’ collective voice in state and federal policymaking circles will help municipal needs, concerns and ideas gain traction in the national debate and subsequent public policy.  Attendees received communication and presentation materials, access to Internet resources, case studies and policy reports, and participation in a national network of local leaders working independently and collectively toward similar goals.

“Mayors are in a prime position to both inform the policy process at the state and federal levels and to implement those policies that are ultimately adopted, said Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. “The importance of local governments as we attempt as a nation and as a global community to address global warming cannot be overstated.”

For more information visit ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability at http://www.iclei.org Cities or the Sundance Preserve at www.sundancepreserve.org.  For information on the City of Renton go to rentonwa.gov.