The Franklin County Board of Commissioners today adopted a new resolution updating and strengthening its long-standing policy of promoting environmental protection and environmental sustainability in county programs. The board’s previous policy has been in effect since 2006, before any of the current commissioners were on the board. The commissioners decided to update and strengthen the policy now because of the heightened risks posed by climate change, and to address President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The people of Franklin County are not well served by the interests of the Koch Brothers and the fossil fuel industry,” said Board of Commissioners President, John O’Grady. “We need policy that protects our environment for all of us while promoting development, and if the president is not willing to lead on this issue, then local governments are going to have to step up to do that.”
The new policy states that the commissioners accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and poses legitimate threats to the quality of life for residents and businesses in Franklin County. It also says that they see environmental sustainability as a driver of future growth, and seek to create a platform for the next generation of sustainable, living-wage jobs.
“Protecting the environment for all people is a social justice issue and a safety issue,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “We know that we don’t have to choose between environmental sustainability and economic growth, and it would be a disservice to future generations of Franklin County residents if we were to ignore this important issue.”
The policy spells out several specific areas of concern and focus, including conserving natural resources, protecting environmental quality, supporting the green energy economy, and providing equal access for all county residents to clean air, fresh water, healthy food, and clean public spaces. Specific initiatives to address these ongoing concerns include the commissioners’ Energy Works program to help businesses make green improvements to buildings, the Local Food Action Plan to promote healthy food access, urban farming, and reduce waste, deployment of alternative-fuel vehicles and charging stations, construction of LEED Certified buildings, and the procurement of energy for county facilities from renewable sources.
“Franklin County is already a leader on environmental issues,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce. “This policy strengthens our commitment to those ideals, and sets the agenda for the promotion of smart growth, green collar jobs, and a healthy future for all of us in Franklin County.”
The full resolution and policy can be found here