Abita Springs, Louisiana
“As the mayor of a small town, I take my responsibility seriously to set the direction for our community.” Greg Lemons, Mayor of Abita Springs stated in January 2017.
In this case, it is the direction towards a clean energy future: Abita Springs established a 100% renewable electricity target by 2050.
Greg Lemons highlights the potential for spillover effects and for Abita Springs to be a role- model for others, despite its small size: “If the rest of the country looks at us, they might say, ‘If little bitty rinky-dink Abita can do it, why can’t I do it?’ ” he said and expresses that he is hopeful that other communities will follow.
Abita Springs has formed an Energy and Sustainability Committee to address the energy needs of the community in a sustainable manner. Through this committee, it is emphasized that there is a need for supporting policies and programs that boost the positive effects to the community. Greg lemons travelled to other communities to realize that fossil fuels is not a good idea from an economic point of view and then decided for the renewable energy strategy.
LeAnn Pinniger Magee, Chair of Abita Committee for Energy Sustainability points to the fact that clean energy will benefit the businesses and community in the area and protects the prestine clean air and water. The efforts towards 100% renewable energy are also integrated in a broader strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The case of Abita Springs is unique in its region, as the State of Louisiana still heavily relies on oil. Abita springs is the first town in Louisiana to commit to 100% renewables. In fact, as the key driver, stakeholders highlight opportunities regarding job- creation and economic benefits that go along with 100%RE.
In the Resolution of the town it is also addressed that Louisiana suffers over- proportionally highly from climate change, particularly sea level rise, thus it is particularly important to take action in a leading role.
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