WXXI AM News

County executive candidate presents climate and sustainability plan

Aug 14, 2019

Adam Bello
Credit Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello, a Democratic candidate for county executive, has announced a plan to combat climate change in the county.

Bello said Tuesday that the six-part plan would be a pillar of his administration if elected. It includes a Climate Action Board, something of an Environmental Management Council revival.

The board would help his administration put together a climate action plan, which would include:

  • An analysis of countywide greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Benchmarks and targets for reducing those emissions.
  • Land use and smart growth goals, as well as an emphasis on regional planning.
  • Details on how to improve regional wastewater systems so they "address concerns about flooding and stormwater management.
  • Ways the county can create sustainable purchasing and procurement guidelines.

“We have some great people in our community doing great work on this,” Bello said. “But I think the county government can play a leadership role in bringing people together and  prioritizing this issue and harnessing that talent.”

He said lakeshore flooding is one visible sign that climate change is a local issue as much as it is a global concern.

“Right there is a great example of where climate change is starting to have an impact locally, and I think should underscore the need to start acting locally and thinking globally here,” he said.

Bello added that his plan includes the cooperation of experts, community members, as well as government workers.

Local climate advocates, including the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders, have repeatedly asked the county to develop a climate action plan. County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, a Republican, put together a Sustainability Team consisting of department heads, which identified several energy efficiency and renewable energy projects the county could do. 

In a previous response earlier this year to the Youth Climate Leaders request, a spokesperson noted that eight county facilities are LEED certified, which means they meet strict energy efficiency and environment requirements; that the county has a Green Fleet of more than 400 electric and alternative fuel vehicles; and that the county buys power from a local solar project.

Still, the county's efforts need to "match the scale of the problem," Bello said.

Bello is challenging Dinolfo in the November election.

Includes reporting from CITY Newspaper reporter Jeremy Moule.