Rochester, NY - Monroe County Executive Candidate Adam Bello today announced a comprehensive plan to ensure Monroe County is taking a proactive approach to combatting the impacts of climate change and addressing sustainability.
“Our climate is changing; there is no escaping that fact,” Bello said. “It’s time that our community join communities from across the state, the country, and the world, and get serious about addressing the far reaching threats posed by our changing climate that will impact not only the county’s ability to deliver services today, but also the well-being of our region for decades to come.”
“Monroe County has a proud history of innovation and entrepreneurship, leading the world in new ideas and technology,” Bello continued. “And up until a few years ago, Monroe County was taking strides to lead in environmental sustainability. But over the past 3 ½ years, these efforts have been at a standstill – County leaders are sitting on their hands while the world is passing us by. We need 21st century thinking to solve 21st century problems. New ideas for the new challenges facing our community.”
“A successful program at EcoPark and a handful of LEED certified buildings and alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles is not a plan meant to match the scale of the problem,” said Bello, noting that Monroe County currently lacks a cohesive strategy and vision guiding its policy in this area. “If it takes a consent decree to get serious about clean water, it’s clear something has to change.”
Bello announced that when elected, a comprehensive and collaborative approach to environmental services and sustainability would be a central pillar of his administration and highlighted four concrete actions he would take.
Establishing a Climate Action Board, that revives the Environmental Management Council and provides a vehicle for expert and community input. By reserving at-large positions for subject matter experts and environmental professionals, in addition to municipal representatives, the county will receive data-driven, state-of-the-art information as it makes decisions surrounding climate mitigation, resilience, and sustainability.
Become proactive in analyzing and adjusting the county’s climate impact and pursuing sustainability initiatives. With the support of the advisory board, Monroe County will develop a Climate Action Plan that creates benchmarks and sets goals for greenhouse gas emissions and waste management; reviews land management and encourages the adoption of smart growth practices and planning; addresses concerns about flooding and stormwater management; and creates sustainability purchasing guidelines for the county.
Supporting and assisting local businesses as they move forward and transition to a green economy. Bello called for the passing of a local law to enable PACE financing, which provides funding on more favorable terms for commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Additionally, the county would support a network for local sustainable businesses and explore incentives for companies that create and contribute to a local, green economy.
Take advantage of New York State initiatives and access funds currently left on the table, including DEC Climate Smart Communities and NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities. The county will establish a Community Impact Fund to help build the capacity of communities with environmental justice concerns and to support self- sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve the environment.
Members of the Monroe County Legislature Environment and Public Works Committee, Joshua Barouth, Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, and Howard Maffucci joined Bello for his announcement, along with community stakeholders who have been lobbying the county administration for more focused attention on environmental issues without much success.
Bello noted that standing with not only partners in government, but also community members and climate experts, is what good government looks like. “As with so many of the issues facing our community, we will only be able to move forward if we bring all stakeholders together and value their input in finding positive solutions,” he said, while pledging to keep his campaign focused on how new ideas, new energy, and new leadership will move Monroe County forward.