Kudos to the city of Hailey for spearheading sustainability in the Wood River Valley since 1996. The city’s successes have included curbside recycling, the dark sky ordinance, installation of water meters, founding the Hailey Environmental Leadership Program, signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, supporting public transportation expansion, creating the Sustainable Building/Planning Advisory Committee, as well as putting some of its parks on surface-water irrigation rather than using potable water from the municipal water system, a program called Water Smarty, which has actively helped homeowners retrofit their yards to a more sustainable landscaping plan, etc. In addition, the city of Hailey has been awarded nearly $2.8 million in grants from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy and the Idaho Office of Energy Resources.

Many of these major accomplishments were possible because the city had the services of a “sustainability coordinator.” This coordinator had the responsibility of working with each of the city’s departments to develop some of the excellent programs listed above, as well as trying to ensure that the decisions made by the city government reflected “best practices” for sustainability.

Unfortunately, the sustainability coordinator position ended several years ago when the grant-funded salary expired. I am greatly encouraged that the city of Hailey is once again exploring the possibility of creating such a position to become part of the city staff.

As the city joins the current nationwide efforts to curtail global warming and its consequences, I believe a sustainability coordinator position, as part of its permanent staff, will be extremely important for our community’s local health, security and economic future.

Rob Lonning, Hailey

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