Councilor Lederman Holds Hearing on Springfield Climate Action Plan, 81% of Plan Acted Upon
At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman, Chairman of the City Council Committee on Sustainability and Environment, held a Committee Meeting on Wednesday to hear updates on the status of the Springfield Climate Action and Resiliency Plan.
The meeting of the Sustainability and Environment Committee was held jointly with the Maintenance and Development Committee.
The Springfield Climate Action and Resiliency Plan was announced by the City of Springfield in 2017 with the goal of reducing emissions and pollution in the city by 80% over a 30 year period.
The plan was written through collaboration between the City of Springfield, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, and Arise for Social Justice. Councilor Lederman participated as a consultant on the process prior to his election.
“Today’s hearing shows excellent progress on our climate action and resiliency goals, from improving our municipal building infrastructure to building up our tree canopy,” said City Councilor Jesse Lederman, “It also shows us that there is more work to be done. It will continue to take many years of work to undo the generations of concentrated pollution that Springfield has been subjected to, but we are making a start.”
Testifying at the hearing were Catherine Ratte of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Patrick Sullivan, Director of Parks, Buildings, and Facilities Management, and Gerard Kiernan, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Springfield.
According to testimony, 81% of the plans top recommendations have been acted upon, including efforts that have led to a 30% reduction in municipal energy use through facilities upgrades. This has resulted in $3.5 million in fuel savings to the tax-payers and 13 million pounds of carbon removed from the atmosphere.
Councilor Lederman says next steps for the plan must include an updated Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory to track the progress of pollution reduction, and updating the plan’s emission reduction goals to be inline with the new Act Creating a Next Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, which was passed by the State Legislature in March of 2021.
“This plan and its impact would not have been possible without the work of community residents and activists who pushed hard for the city to take action, and who worked to ensure that action was centered around the needs and desires of the communities that have been impacted the most by pollution,” added Councilor Lederman, “This includes the late Michaelann Bewsee, as well as members of Arise for Social Justice and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, as well as partners at the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.”
“We will continue working to move the needle to improve air quality, protect public health, address environmental injustices, and save tax-payer dollars while doing so,” said Councilor Lederman.