Environmental Leadership Policy

Revised Resolution of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Modifying the Adopted Environmental Leadership Policy

WHEREAS, protecting the environment for the benefit of future generations is in the public's interest and key to Mecklenburg County’s Community Vision, “Mecklenburg County will be a community of pride and choice for people to LIVE, LEARN, WORK, and RECREATE;” and

WHEREAS, environmental conditions affect our community in ways that impact the health of residents; and

WHEREAS, actions by individuals and organizations are necessary to protect our environment and quality of life; and

WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County leadership, elected officials and residents call for innovative solutions to address the effects of regional growth and a changing environment; and

WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County strives to provide all residents an equitable opportunity to thrive and has committed to addressing inequities through systems, policies and practices; and

WHEREAS, no segment of our population should, intentionally or unintentionally, bear a disproportionate risk from pollution or face accessibility restrictions to the decision-making process; and

WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County provides critical services that must be resilient to future environmental conditions; and

WHEREAS, compliance with environmental regulations in government operations is the minimum expected performance level; and

WHEREAS, current local, state and federal regulations are insufficient to overcome the impacts of climate change and regional growth which include energy consumption, transportation and land development; and

WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County has organizational, advisory board and community expertise to optimize environmental performance throughout County operations; and

WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County has previously adopted policies or ordinances associated with individual media (air quality, waste/recycling, surface water and natural resources), Environmental Leadership (2004), and Climate Protection Considerations (2005) that are applicable to government operations and the community; and

WHEREAS, Mecklenburg County has determined that a holistic, integrated approach to environmental leadership is more effective than multiple single-issue policies; Now therefore, be it

RESOLVED that the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners adopts this REVISED and updated Environmental Leadership Policy in order that County government may operate in a manner that conserves and protects our natural resources; models environmental stewardship for local government, business and industry in our region; and uses the County's assets, both existing and future, wisely for the benefit of its residents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an affiliated Environmental Leadership Action Plan (ELAP) guide the activities of County government; such that the County may take result-oriented steps; and align operations in support of current and future pollution reduction, resource conservation, and climate preparedness initiatives; and

Include the following:

  • Comply with applicable local, state and federal environmental regulations and look for opportunities to lead and innovate
  • Transition County facilities and fleet to net-zero carbon energy sources by 2035
  • Practice waste minimization and recycling at all County facilities
  • Identify and fill resiliency gaps in County operations
  • Require environmentally friendly designs including net zero capable buildings in all new facilities and retrofits and when feasible reuse existing buildings and infrastructure
  • Make a good-faith effort to include social, economic and environmental considerations in purchasing decisions for goods and services
  • Acquire land for recreation, ecosystem preservation, recycling, storm water management and to protect the quality of life in our community
  • Manage, maintain and conserve County properties to create resilient ecosystems, including grasslands, forests, wetlands and aquatic environments
  • Implement environmental practices in day-to-day business operations
  • Provide employees with opportunities and incentives to learn and practice environmentally sound behaviors
  • Partner with municipalities, businesses, nonprofits and other organizations that have common goals and interests to efficiently implement this policy
  • Work with business partners receiving County funding (CMS, CPCC, Libraries, Medic) to make capital and business decisions that prioritize environmental stewardship
  • Routinely review state and federal legislative action that either assists or hinders implementation of this policy
  • Conduct outreach and raise awareness about environmental conditions, opportunities for involvement and actions being taken by Mecklenburg County
  • Embrace justice through equal protection and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations to include using the County’s racial equity toolkit when implementing the action plan, and more broadly, during environmental decision-making

The County Manager is directed to appoint staff charged with implementation of the Environmental Leadership Action Plan and report progress to the Board of County Commissioners on an annual basis to document accomplishments.

ADOPTED the 16th day of March 2021

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