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Legislator's proposal calls for county climate action plan


Democratic County Legislator Justin Wilcox has introduced a proposal that would start the Legislature on the path to developing a county climate action plan.

Wilcox submitted the legislation yesterday and said he expects to know by tonight's Legislature meeting whether it'll receive consideration or whether Legislature President Joe Carbone will reject it. Most members of the Legislature's Democratic caucus have signed on to the legislation.

The legislation would create a Monroe County Legislature Climate Action Plan Advisory Board, which would guide legislators through developing an in-depth plan to "reduce, and possibly eliminate, the county's carbon footprint while developing a thriving and sustainable economy," Wilcox wrote in a memo accompanying the submission.

The six person board would be made up entirely of legislators with three members each recommended by the chamber's majority and minority leaders; the Legislature president would have to appoint the members to the board. The board would gather information from experts and constituents and would use it to identify practices and policies that reduce municipal, residential, and commercial reliance on fossil fuels, according to the legislation.

"Thoughtful policies to expand the use of renewable energy can also spur significant growth in businesses that provide innovative solutions to climate change, which is not only good for our planet, but also good for our economy," Wilcox said in a statement. "The legislature cannot afford to lead from behind on such an important issue."

In an interview, Wilcox said the proposal is structured so that it only needs legislative approval, not the county executive's signature.

Members of the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders student group have repeatedly asked the county to develop and implement a climate action plan. Wilcox said in his statement that "their efforts played a major role in the introduction of this legislation. "