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Texas Confronts the Cost of Its Green Dreams

Matthew Tresaugue reports on the difficulties Texas cities such as College Station are having in living up to their green commitments in the down economy, reflecting a nationwide pattern.
March 7, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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During the past several years, with the assistance of federal aid and the guidance of public sector leaders, College Station was able to implement a number of green initiatives, along a path to meeting the U.S. Conference of Mayors' agreement calling for cities to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide below 1990 levels during the next few years.

However, the disappearance of federal aid and drying coffers has the city being more mindful of return on investment and being smarter about its green investment. And College Station is not alone in backing away from the Conference of Mayors' agreement.

Tresaugue reports that, "[a] recent survey of 396 cities by the mayors' group identified financial constraints as the biggest obstacle to their promises on climate protection. Limited city budgets, high up-front costs and the uncertainty of the rates of return on new technology have slowed their efforts, the survey found."

"I think green is here to stay," said [City Councilman Dave] Ruesink, the only remaining member of the council that first backed the Green College Station program. "We are no way backing away from it. What we are now looking at is how long will it take to recoup our investment."

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Published on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in The Houston Chronicle
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