EnvironmentGovernmentThe White Plains Examiner

Westchester County Board Passes Resolution Declaring Climate Emergency

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The Board of Legislators last week unanimously passed a declaration of climate emergency in Westchester County, urging state and local governments to do the same.

The resolution cites the catastrophic global and local impacts of climate change, including devastating flooding from extreme weather, as well as many of the recent steps that county government has taken to reduce the county’s carbon footprint — including replacing fossil fuel buses and fleet vehicles with hybrid and electric ones, supporting food scrap recycling, installation of electric vehicle charging stations, and more.

Most importantly, the resolution pledges a revised Westchester Climate Action Plan with new recommended action steps, and an effort at the county level to support action at the local, state and national level to address this life-threatening emergency.

“Climate change is impacting our health, our economy, our future. This resolution formally acknowledges the gravity of the situation,” said Legislator Ruth Walter (D/Bronxville, Yonkers), chair of the board’s Environment & Health Committee. “With its passage we’re pledging to put the full force of county government behind actions to address the crisis and efforts to call attention to it at every other level of government.”

Legislator Catherine Parker (D/Mamaroneck, Rye, Larchmont, New Rochelle, Harrison), chair of the board’s Planning, Economic Development & Energy Committee, stated the passage of the resolution was the beginning of a stronger effort to make Westchester a leader in sustainability. She noted officials have already approved plans to replace the county’s fossil fuel vehicle fleet, supported the transition to electric vehicles and promoted food scrap recycling.

“Many of us have been working for years to call attention to the seriousness of the climate crisis we face here and around the world,” Parker stated.

“For too long the debate over climate change has been dominated by false choices — between economic growth and climate action or even over whether or not climate change exists,” said Majority Leader MaryJane Shimsky (D/Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington). “With this resolution, we ae putting to rest any debate in Westchester over those false choices. The extreme impacts of storms and flooding and the health effects of air and water pollution that we are living with today illustrate clearly that future economic growth and the future health and well-being of Westchester require our action on the climate crisis now.”

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