Opinion

Environmental protections crucial

In a letter published Aug. 25 (“Stick to managing the city”), Cory Hayes asserts that the Spokane City Council exceeded its authority in passing a renewable energy mandate for the community. I’d like to offer another view.

The foremost duty of any government is to keep its constituents safe in their physical being. Generally speaking, there is no greater threat to the physical safety of the entire human race than the warming of the planet. And as our federal government not only fails to protect us from this supreme existential danger but broadly denies its existence, it falls to subordinate governments to act.

The Spokane City Council should have no higher priority than gaining enlightened environmental insight and aggressively pursuing whatever courses it suggests. I’m deeply grateful to Councilman Breean Beggs for drafting the renewable energy initiative, to Council President Ben Stuckart for forcefully advocating for it, and to the other four other members of the council who voted for it.

Mr. Hayes is also mistaken in his suggestion that this initiative is excessive and serves “a few environmental zealots.” Far from extreme, this policy represents the bare minimum a community might do to protect all its members from the effects of climate change. And the real zealots in this conversation are those who, in denying climate change and/or man’s role in it, subjugate their powers of reason to their desire for power.

Michael Cain

Spokane