Springfield city councilors create committee to address environmental issues (MassLive)

Read the original MassLive story here.

SPRINGFIELD -- Two city councilors have announced the creation of a permanent committee to address environmental and energy issues, including implementation of the city's climate action plan.

Incoming Council President Justin Hurst and Councilor Jesse Lederman announced the new Council Committee on Sustainability and Environment.

"Recent studies, such as the Fourth National Climate Assessment, have shown that it is vital for all of us to do our part to preserve our environment and address climate change," Hurst said in a statement. "This is the City Council's next step in ensuring that the City Council does our part."

The committee will focus on issues including improving air quality, reducing pollution, increasing energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energy, the councilors said.

It will also work to implement the Springfield Climate Action and Resilience Plan, which was announced in 2017 "to reduce pollution in Springfield by 80 percent by 2050 and ensure preparedness for extreme weather events associated with climate change," the councilors said.

Hurst said he will appoint Lederman as chairman of the committee once it is formally adopted Monday at the council's annual organizational meeting. Other members will be Councilors Adam Gomez and Melvin Edwards, he said.

The new committee will have more legislative powers than an existing ad hoc Green Committee in effect since 2009, and will replace that committee, Hurst said.

The Green Committee has served as an advisory committee and consists of councilors and residents.

Lederman said the council recognizes the impacts that issues such as pollution and climate change have and will have on the city.

"Not only is addressing these issues the right and necessary thing to do -- it is also beneficial to our economy and residents' quality of life," Lederman said.

The council approved a resolution in 2014 urging the administration to create a climate action plan, with the formal plan adopted in 2017. In 2018, city officials announced plans to hire a sustainability coordinator and facilities engineer to oversee implementation of the action plan.

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