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Bello signs Monroe County’s first climate action plan

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County Executive Adam Bello signs Monroe County's first climate action plan during a news conference. The event took place at a county-owned solar farm. - PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • PHOTO BY JEREMY MOULE
  • County Executive Adam Bello signs Monroe County's first climate action plan during a news conference. The event took place at a county-owned solar farm.
Monroe County has enacted its first plan to address climate change, setting a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 80 percent by 2050.

County Executive Adam Bello signed the plan Thursday during a news conference at a county-owned solar farm outside of Hilton, two days after the county Legislature passed it by a vote of 28-1.

The lone holdout was Sean McCabe, a Republican from Greece.

“This plan aims to make critical changes that will address adverse effects before they happen,” Bello said.

The plan, which has been over two years in the making, doesn’t carry the force of law and it doesn’t require officials to take any action. It calls for the county to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and details more than 60 specific recommendations across county operations.

Bello added that the recommendations are measurable and that the county will audit its progress on the plan in 2025 and every five years thereafter. Many of them focus on increasing the amount of renewable energy the county uses, reducing county government’s energy consumption, greening the county’s vehicle fleet, and reducing waste generated by county operations.



The plan was developed by a committee that the county Legislature convened. Kate Walker, a longtime environmental educator and advocate who has served as a citizen member of the committee, said the plan has been a long time coming. Walker, an Irondequoit resident, is executive director of the Center for Sustainable Materials Management at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

“It really is so important to acknowledge and celebrate this incredible accomplishment,” Walker said.

The committee will next begin work on a second phase of the plan, which is to include a countywide greenhouse gas emissions inventory and take stock of private industry and land use.

“The county needs to walk the walk before we ask our businesses to implement similar climate mitigation efforts,” Bello said.

Jeremy Moule is CITY's deputy editor. He can be reached at jmoule@rochester-citynews.com.

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