The Sierra Club's Cool Cities Across America program is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging individual cities to promote environmental awareness and take real steps that cut CO2 output. More than 300 cities have signed on, including a handful in Virginia. Two retired Virginia Tech professors are trying to get their home of Blacksburg on the roster but the mayor is reluctant. Jeanne and Dave Roper have changed their light bulbs, walk more often and purchased a pair of Toyota hybrids. The Ropers say they're taking "baby steps" but would like to do more, such as switching to an electric vehicle.

The Ropers have called on Mayor Ron Rordam and the town council to join in the program. Town leaders must sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement which calls on them to take steps to reduce pollution within the town borders. Blacksburg already has pollution controls in place that have been commended by federal and state officials. But Mayor Rordam doesn't want to join the program for fear of being viewed as criticizing the federal government. Said the mayor: "I think the town should stay away from taking positions on national issues." He would rather develop and commit to a local plan that is similar to the Sierra Club's efforts. The town council will continue the debate.

[Source: Tonia Moxley / Roanoke Times]

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