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El Paso leaders share disapproval of suggested city climate charter

El Paso skyline (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
El Paso skyline (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
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A group of El Paso leaders shared their disapproval of Proposition K during a press conference hosted by Congressman Tony Gonzales Wednesday.

“If Proposition K passes, your electricity bill are going to rise," said Gonzales. “What is happening is you got outside groups that are parachuting in from Austin, parachuting into El Paso and they are trying to put their policies, their politics on us."

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Proposition K adds a series of different climate-related policies to the city's charter.

According to the charter, the City of El Paso will use all available resources and authority to accomplish three goals of "paramount importance." First, to reduce the city’s contribution to climate change; second, to invest in an environmentally sustainable future; and third, to advance the cause of climate justice.

The charter states it will set up a city climate department that would be run by a climate director to execute all the policies in the climate charter.

The climate charter could ban using city water for fossil fuel industry activities outside of the city limits.

In addition, the charter also sets a goal for the City of El Paso to require the city to use 80% clean renewable energy by 2030 and be at 100% clean renewable energy by 2045.

It also directs the City of El Paso to "employ all available efforts to convert El Paso Electric to municipal ownership."

Former City Councilwoman Claudia Rodriguez said it would cost El Pasoans billions of dollars if the city took ownership of EPE.

“The City of El Paso, A.K.A you the taxpayer, will be on the hook to buy El Paso Electric," said Rodriguez. "That purchase alone is going to cost anywhere from 10, 15,20 billion dollars."

The El Paso Chamber Board of Directors also announced opposition to the charter amendment.

"The El Paso Chamber believes wholeheartedly action must be taken to move toward a sustainable future. However, we cannot, in good conscience, support an amendment that has the potential to put thousands of El Pasoans at risk of losing their jobs and livelihoods," a news release from The El Paso Chamber read.

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Meantime, those in favor of the charter said it will create jobs that will protect the environment, conserve city water, build solar power on city buildings, and prepare for climate disasters.

“It would reduce pollution, it would make solar energy more affordable for residents and homeowners," said Miguel Escoto, Organizer with Sunrise El Paso. "It would conserve our water and it would increase our— the community’s say in our electric utility."

Sunrise El Paso helped collect signatures to get the climate charter on the ballot.

El Pasoans will take a vote on Proposition K on May 6. To read the full proposition, click here.

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