ICLEI Statement Following New York Times Article on Sustainability and Tea Party Protests

Feb 06, 2012, 14:32 ET from ICLEI USA

Attacks on common-sense local planning must not deter cities and counties from efforts to improve health, prosperity, and livability; now is time for increased dialogue on local priorities

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New York Times article, "Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot," (Feb. 4, page A1) highlights the unsettling nationwide trend of Tea Party-affiliated activists attempting to stop local efforts to make communities greener, more livable, and more prosperous—and to stifle constructive community dialogues on how to plan for the future.

In light of Tea Party activists targeting ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability USA and its 550 U.S. local government members, ICLEI USA reaffirms its support for cities, towns, and counties who are defining their own goals and objectives to protect clean air and water, increase energy independence, prepare for a changing climate, and become more economically competitive in the process.

ICLEI USA also calls on community members nationwide to become more engaged in local government planning processes that will help shape the future of their communities. Business leaders, environmentalists, labor leaders, neighborhood group leaders, and people from across the political spectrum all have an important role to play in discussing and debating policies.

"Across the country, we've witnessed a small but vehement group of activists who often resort to intimidation tactics to disrupt local planning meetings and halt healthy dialogue at a time when it is needed more than ever," said Michael Schmitz, Executive Director of ICLEI USA,  "As our nation attempts to recover from the economic crisis and a record-breaking year of extreme weather that cost us tens of billions of dollars, we must not allow common-sense community planning efforts to be derailed. Let's focus on the issues, not conspiracy theories."

"America needs local solutions to create new jobs, provide more housing and transportation choices, and prepare for increasingly extreme weather events like droughts, floods, and tornadoes," said Patrick Henry Hays, Mayor of North Little Rock, AR, and President and Board Chair of ICLEI USA. "Local solutions begin with local dialogues. Now is the time for people to ask, 'How can my community become more resilient and strong in the face of these challenges? What kind of community do I want to leave for my children and grandchildren?'"

ICLEI USA is committed to providing local governments with leading-edge software tools, resources, and guidance to help them answer these questions and initiate solutions.

"Because of our longtime leadership on sustainability, ICLEI has been singled out by extremists who mislead others by spinning wild conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact," said Schmitz. "We are proud of the work we do, acting as a champion of local government priorities and providing a network for local governments in the United States and around the world to share challenges and solutions."

About ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA
ICLEI USA is the leading nonprofit membership association of local governments committed to climate action, clean energy, and sustainability. We are the only organization that provides all of the necessary resources to help local governments achieve their sustainability goals. ICLEI USA's mission is to build, serve and drive a movement of local governments to advance deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and achieve tangible improvements in local sustainability. Learn more at www.icleiusa.org. For answers to frequently asked questions about ICLEI and sustainability, visit www.icleiusa.org/faqs.

Media contact:
Don Knapp, Communications and Marketing Director
510-844-0699, Ext. 315