Chester County Commissioners Establish Advisory Board to Create Climate Action Plan

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The Chester County Commissioners presented plans for the county’s new Environmental and Energy Advisory Board to an audience of municipal representatives at the county’s annual stormwater management conference. The Commissioners recently approved a resolution to establish the advisory board, with the goal of creating a Climate Action Plan for Chester County. The Environmental and Energy Advisory Board will enhance the county’s commitment to preservation and protection of the environment and focus on the balance, interplay, and impact of energy-related initiatives and issues.

“Chester County recognizes and understands the importance of protecting our environment and balancing that with energy-related issues,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Michelle Kichline. “We are already making many efforts to protect our environment and preserve energy, and we are looking forward to strengthening our current policies and practices through recommendations made by this board.”

The efforts already underway include a 15-year energy performance contract with energy service company Constellation that is implementing water and energy conservation measures within county facilities that will save millions of dollars and help the county reach its environmental goals. A second initiative is an agreement with C-PACE, a clean energy financing program for commercial properties that supports family-sustained jobs and the Chester County business community, as well as improves the sustainability of the county’s built environments. Chester County was the first county in the region to sign-on with C-PACE.

“The ‘Connect’ goal of our comprehensive plan, Landscapes3, includes a recommendation that calls for a resilient and clean energy network,” Kichline said. “We can achieve that by supporting a wide range of energy sources, distribution system alternatives, and energy conservation measures.”

Last year’s Chester County Citizen Survey revealed that county residents ranked “maintaining the quality of our water” as their No. 1 issue. And two goal areas of Landscapes3, Chester County’s comprehensive plan, focus on preserving and protecting the environment.

“Our comprehensive plan will provide guidance to this board on some of the county’s current environmental protection objectives,” said Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “The ‘Preserve’ goal of Landscapes3 focuses on advancing the protection and stewardship of open space, farmland, and natural and cultural features to realize economic, ecological, and quality-of-life benefits. The ‘Protect’ goal emphasizes the need to guard and restore critical natural resources to ensure a resilient environment that supports healthy communities.”

The board will be comprised of Chester County residents, along with representatives of businesses, energy initiatives, municipalities, land conservancies, utility companies, and county departments. The term of each of the board members will be two years, except that, when the board is first created, half of the members shall be appointed for three years and half for two years.

The Chester County Commissioners will accept resumes and cover letters from people who are interested in being considered for a position on the board. Material can be sent to Deputy County Administrator Kara Rahn at krahn@chesco.org by Friday, Oct. 18.  The Commissioners will review the applications before making appointment recommendations.

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