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Portage May Be The Next Southwest Michigan City To Declare A Climate Emergency

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Andy Robins
/
WMUK

The Portage City Council says it generally avoids weighing in on problems beyond its immediate control. But it’s poised to make an exception for climate change.

The Council has asked city staff to draft a resolution acknowledging the urgency of the climate crisis.

The proposal drew support from all of the seven Council members as well the public during a virtual meeting last week. Portage resident Daniel Smith said the city could make a difference by joining with other communities around the country urging action on global warming.

“I know it’s a little against precedent but I hope you will consider a resolution on this issue,” he said.

Jim Justice of Portage told the Council it’s “important that our local governments make this proclamation about climate change.”

“It’s affecting all of us and we need that centering point and we need that guidance from the city,” Justice added.

Council member Lori Knapp said residents and the city’s environmental board have urged leadership on global warming.

“Recognizing and responding to our environmental and climate issues and embracing the need to keep our community viable today and tomorrow is leadership,” Knapp said.

The City of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Township and Kalamazoo County have declared climate emergencies. Portage could vote on its proposal as soon as next week.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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