MOUNT DESERT — To the disappointment of members of the student Eco Team at Mount Desert Island High School, the board of selectmen on Monday declined to adopt a resolution endorsing “the declaration of a climate emergency and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate.”
It’s not that board members are opposed to a safe climate. But in the opinion of Town Manager Durlin Lunt, who on Tuesday got a concurring opinion from the Maine Municipal Association, the selectmen do not have the authority to adopt such a resolution. Instead, it would have to be voted on at a town meeting.
Lunt said he would ask the selectmen at their June 1 meeting if they want to submit the resolution as a warrant article for this year’s town meeting. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the town meeting that was to be held May 5 was postponed and has not yet been rescheduled.
The climate resolution, if adopted, would direct the town’s sustainability committee to work with others in the community to “plan the town’s climate emergency response, including emergency climate mitigation and education programs, and develop proposals…for implementation and integration into the (town’s) Comprehensive Plan.”
The resolution also would direct the sustainability committee to “coordinate with key stakeholders proposals for town efforts towards the expedient reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the community…”
Further, the resolution would commit the town to “engaging our residents…in educational activities and public deliberations on the climate emergency…”
The Bar Harbor Town Council, which has broader authority than a board of selectmen, adopted the climate emergency resolution in November.