Modified: January 25, 2019 1:57pm
The Erie County Green Team has announced the completion of the Erie County Climate Action and Sustainability Plan (“CASP”), a blueprint for action identifying ways in which the county can mitigate its production of greenhouse gases (“GHG”) and lessen its overall contribution to climate change. By following the actions recommended in the CASP Erie County can create financial savings, keep dollars in the local economy, support new jobs, improve air quality and attract and retain dedicated public servants.
On June 2, 2017 Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued his seventeenth Executive Order, requiring Erie County departments to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement which had been abandoned by the U.S. federal government the day before. This called for a 26 – 28% reduction of 2005 GHG emissions by 2025. In response to this Executive Order the county released a report in January 2018, Erie County Commits to Paris, which included GHG emissions for both county operations and the community as a whole along with 37 initiatives to further reduce GHG emissions. Encouragingly, the report found that compared to the baseline year of 2005, Erie County as a government had already reduced its greenhouse gas emission usage by 26% in 2014, thereby meaning Erie County had met the goal of a 26-28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions usage as required by the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Erie County will lead when others fail to do so, and the CASP provides us with a plan to follow to further decrease our GHG emissions, reduce energy waste and increase efficiency, and leave less of a carbon footprint overall. I thank the Green Team for their work in assembling the CASP, which will not only help to move Erie County operations forward in a cleaner and greener way but can serve as a template for other communities looking to do the same,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “We will be working on short-term, mid-term and long-term goals across departments to comprehensively address and reduce our GHG emissions by 2040 and beyond.”
Erie County maintains an extensive municipal infrastructure system including over 220 buildings, 20 of which have more than 3.5 million square feet, as well as New Era Field and the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. Additionally, there are 1,195 county-owned vehicles managed by the Public Works’ Fleet division, which in 2016 used approximately 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 350,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline.
The county also maintains 1,100 miles of sewer lines, six water resource recovery facilities, five excess flow management facilities, and over ninety pumping stations along with 2,400 lane miles of roads and 290 bridges greater than twenty feet in length. Erie County’s approximately 5,500 employees collectively commute about two million miles per year, while over 300,000 county residents are served by Social Services programs administered by the county and including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), and the Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”).
Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Thomas Hersey added, “The recommendations in the CASP are organized in seven sections including transportation, buildings and energy, waste management and recycling, land management, and water management along with purchasing. We will also be able to measure implementation and progress as we work towards each range of goals and guide county internal operations towards ever-greater efficiency and sustainability. I thank the county Green Team for all their work in assembling the Plan and moving it forward.”
The Climate Action and Sustainability Plan for Internal Operations was prepared by Erie County and sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”). The CASP will now be submitted to the legislature.
For more information:
On Erie County’s Climate Action and Sustainability Operations and the Green Team, visit
On the Department of Environment and Planning, visit www.erie.gov/environment
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