Mayors from across the United States discussed energy issues at a summit in Chicago, including a tour of a new facility that will house a solar energy company.CHICAGO, Illinois, US, 2001-05-31 [SolarAccess.com] Mayors from across the United States discussed energy issues at a summit in Chicago, including a tour of a new facility that will house a solar energy company. The U.S. Conference of Mayors met in special session for two days to discuss ‘Best Practices’ and energy concerns from a municipal perspective, including energy efficiency, reliability, deregulation, environmental protection, new technologies and supporting economic growth. “The primary mission of city governments is to protect public health and safety,” says Chicago mayor Daley, a past president of the conference. “Today’s energy concerns can challenge that responsibility, but many cities, like Chicago, have found opportunities to go beyond public health and safety. They have found ways to address energy needs while meeting environmental, economic development, and even affordable housing goals.” The mayors held a conference at the Midwest Center for Green Technology. The facility is being completed on property that was formerly contaminated and which is being developed by the city into a model energy efficient and environmentally friendly facility. When complete, the facility will house a manufacturer of solar PV panels, citywide community gardening and job training programs, and a community design studio for the public. “We know that dealing with the nation’s energy challenges requires local leadership,” says Patrick Hays, mayor of North Little Rock. “In Chicago, we’ve seen firsthand how Mayor Daley is bringing his leadership to bear on this issue, employing innovative strategies that can serve as a guide for other mayors across the country.” Hays is chair of the Conference’s Utility Restructuring Task Force, which has been developing proposals to address the shortage of reliable energy supplies and escalating energy costs. The proposals include a 10 percent national reduction in energy use and a call for energy policy that includes conservation and efficiency measures. During the summit, the mayors discussed projects that Chicago is undertaking to demonstrate new technologies and foster a ‘green’ economic sector in the city, and it released a report to summarize strategies and projects from cities around the U.S. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the organization of cities with populations of more than 30,000. There are more 1,200 such cities in the United States.