Council Hears Further Details of Environmental Sustainability Plan

Management Analyst Tom Nagawiecki. Photo/Printscreen

Staff Report:

Management Analyst Tom Nagawiecki of Los Alamos County Environmental Services and Public Works Director Philo Shelton are presenting to Los Alamos County Council further details of the Environmental Sustainability Plan this evening in Council Chambers. Council heard part of the briefing at its last Council meeting.

The Environmental Sustainability Board has recommended that the County approve the Environmental Sustainability Plan and Council is expected to vote on the plan this evening.

Public Works Director Philo Shelton. Photo/Printscreen

Background

In 2005 the Council adopted a goal to “maintain environmental quality.” In response to this new goal staff began developing a course of action, culminating in the development of the Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Initiative (ESI) in 2008.  

The ESI presented a coordinated approach to incorporate a value of environmental sustainability in County actions and achieve environmental, cost control and social benefits for the community. Council adopted this initiative In March 2008. The adoption of the ESI resulted in: the formation of the Environmental Sustainability Board from the Solid Waste Advisory Board, the creation of the Environmental Services Division from the Solid Waste Division, and a new County-wide commitment to sustainability. The publication of the ESI and associated public input also resulted in Council updating their environmental goal in 2009 to read “enhance environmental quality and sustainability.”

Since the approval of the ESI staff has been working to improve sustainability in the eight focus areas identified in the plan:

  • environmental sustainability policy,
  • waste and recycling,
  • hydrocarbon independence,
  • water,
  • land use,
  • economic development,
  • education and outreach, and
  • measurement and reporting.

The Los Alamos County Environmental Sustainability Plan addresses the measurement and reporting focus area presented in the ESI. The Sustainability Plan identifies key sustainability indicators that will enable the community to quantitatively track progress toward achieving the Council goal to “enhance environmental quality and sustainability.” Each indicator has an associated goal, along with a strategy on the means to reach the established goal.  

The plan consists of 13 sustainability indicators that were developed to match the focus areas identified in the Environmental Sustainability Initiative. A variety of public input was collected with the assistance of the Environmental Sustainability Board to determine the indicators, goals and strategies presented in the plan. The indicators focus on a variety of sustainability areas including recycling, water use, energy use, public transit, and trails. The Environmental Sustainability Plan and Environmental Sustainability Initiative together chart a clear path for sustainability action in Los Alamos County. 

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