Chico State representatives appointed to ‘green’ task force

Chico State faculty and alumni were among those selected as members of the newly reinstituted Sustainability Task Force at the City Council meeting Sept. 3.

Fourteen applicants were reviewed for the seven-member committee. After a preliminary vote in which each of the seven council members selected their top three candidates, exactly seven people were remaining. The City Council approved all of them unanimously.

The seven committee members are:

Cheri Chastain, sustainability manager for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and a Chico State alumna

Dave Donnan, realtor and CEO of Dam Bag, Inc.

Ryne Johnson, management consultant for RLJ Solutions, LLC

Bill Loker, dean of undergraduate education at Chico State

Lucas RossMerz, program manager for Sacramento River Preservation Trust

Mike Rubio, engineering manager for FAFCO, Inc., and a Chico State alumnus

Mark Stemen, professor in the department of geography and planning at Chico State

The new members will pick up where the old task force left off in order to reduce Chico’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, the city signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement, adding Chico to a group of over 1,000 cities that pledged to reduce emissions.

This resulted in the creation of the task force in 2007. Its purpose was to help the city meet the goals of the mayor’s agreement and develop a Climate Action Plan for Chico.

The task force took baseline measurements of emissions and developed the plan, which aimed to  reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 25 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2020.

The previous task force was disbanded early in 2013 to allow for a reorganization that would refocus the committee’s efforts on implementing the Climate Action Plan, which it had begun to lose sight of, said Randall Stone, a city council member.

The goal set before the reinstituted task force isn’t a difficult one to understand, Stemen said. The task force members have to be aware of the formulas used to calculate reduction levels by inputting factors such as wiring homes for solar power, retrofitting lighting and reducing vehicle miles traveled.

“Greenhouse gas reduction is not rocket science — it’s Excel — literally,” Stemen said.

With two faculty members and two alumni, Chico State has a strong presence in the task force, which Stone said is not surprising.

“Chico State does a lot of this research — it’s heavily engaged in the process,” he said.

The university is a partner to the sustainability efforts in the city, so it stands to reason faculty from Chico State would be involved, Stone said.

Loker is new to the task force and said he has a strong desire to serve his community.

“As a longtime Chico resident, I’ve lived here 17 years, I appreciate the quality of life here, which includes the natural environment that we have,” Loker said. “I want to do what I can to ensure that the qualities of this community that attracted me here continue.”

Stemen explained what he views as the main priority of the task force.

“I think it’s really going to be communicating with everyone on exactly the work that needs to be done,” Stemen said. “We’ve basically got to get people to drive 25 percent less and use 25 percent less electricity.”

Sustainability Task Force


Bill Hall can be reached at [email protected] or @thebillhall on Twitter.