Climate Change Emergency?  No, Say Hadley Town Meeting Voters

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Farmers led the way in persuading Town Meeting voters in Hadley to reject a nonbinding resolution declaring a climate emergency.

The nonbinding resolution called on town government departments, businesses, civic groups, and residents “to commit to a climate mobilization effort to bring town-wide carbon emissions to net zero by the year 2050.”

It drew sharp criticism from several speakers.

Alan Zuchowski said he believes in climate change because as a farmer he sees it.

“But honestly, we’re going to get to zero emissions by 2050? Totally unrealistic,” Zuchowski said on the floor of Town Meeting, which took place Thursday, October 27.

He noted that the resolution targets carbon-based fuels.

“Carbon fuel means your home heating fuel, your lawnmower, your automobile, my tractor. Town Meeting going to pay for all of that when the time comes?” Zuchowski said. “… We’re going to get plenty of laws coming out of Boston, believe me. But I cannot see Town Meeting buying me an electric tractor. All right?”

He also noted an upside to global warming.

“I do take it seriously. But it’s not all bad. Guess what? We’ve got one month longer to pick the squash in the fall before it freezes than when I was a kid,” Zuchowksi said.

Another speaker said the resolution, even though nonbinding, would set up a loss of control for Hadley residents.

“Rather than being a benign statement of support for the environment, the emergency declaration, by definition, takes power from the people and places it in the hands of bureaucrats who would determine what type of vehicles we drive, how we heat our homes, and how our farmers and business owners serve the community,” said Tony Fyden, a town resident.

“… Reject this power grab,” Fyden said.

Jack Czajkowski, chairman of the Hadley Climate Change Committee, said town residents need to address climate change.

“I don’t really see a power grab. I just see this as a natural evolution. We need to start somewhere. This is where we’re starting. This is our starting point. We will move forward from here. And if there’s other things that we need to discuss, we’ll bring them to the different committees,” Czajkowski said.

Another supporter of the climate-change resolution said the town will miss out on federal grants if it doesn’t have a climate change plan. Several supporters emphasized that the resolution would not commit the town to a particular course of action, which could be worked out in the future.

But an opponent resident said he sees central control from far-off places coming.

“I don’t need some liberals in Boston telling me how we need to do things in Hadley. And that’s what’s gonna happen. It’s gonna be driven by federal dollars and state dollars. And so, when you go to build a new building in the town of Hadley, the state’s gonna say, ‘You can’t heat that with oil. You need to be carbon-zero,” said Brian West, a town resident.

The climate resolution failed, 72 to 83.

The Amherst Bulletin, a weekly newspaper, reported the vote in a story published on Friday, November 4. Quotes in this story are taken from a YouTube video of Hadley Town Meeting.

Hadley is a town of about 5,200 people about 17 miles north of Springfield.

Hadley voted 70 to 26 percent for Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020.


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