County Commissioners approve climate action plan

Thursday, September 13, 2018

On Tuesday, September 4, 2018, the Benton County Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a resolution that sets a goal of cutting the county government’s greenhouse gas emissions to 75 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. Milestones targets are set for 2025, 2030 and 2040. The emissions reduction target was tied to 1990 levels in order to coordinate with similar initiatives adopted by the city of Corvallis and the state of Oregon.

The Climate Action Plan is a living document that will continuously identify, implement, and institutionalize carbon mitigation policies and practices.

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best is today,” said Sean McGuire, sustainability coordinator. “If we can't prepare for the future today, when are we going to do it?"

“We worked to ensure our countywide plan uses a systems level approach that considers climate change and human health impacts. The health of the people that live, work and play in our county, and the natural resources that make Benton County so unique are top priority.”

Benton County will continue to engage staff and Departments, research and calculate carbon reduction estimates of actions, evaluate the effectiveness of services, and revise and improve the plan as needed.

The plan includes actions for individual employees that are simple practices like carpooling, turning off lights and a general reduction in paper use, and tasks the Fleet Services division within the Public Works department and a handful of other departments with specific actions. The area where the County can make substantial impacts occurs in the cross-departmental actions and policy changes that include:

Explore establishing specific energy reduction goals (electricity, gas, etc.)
Explore establishing specific water reduction goals (interior, irrigation, etc.)
Require consideration & evaluation of all new or renovated facilities to meet LEED Silver standard
Install & maintain renewable energy sources (e.g. solar & wind) on all applicable facilities and grounds
Consider policies to incentivize & support car-pooling, mass-transit, bike/walk, &/or telecommuting to meetings & other work-related events
Implement waste diversion opportunities in all facilities (specifically in eating areas) & public events
Prohibit, or strongly discourage, purchase of single-use drink containers (plastic water bottles) & other disposable items with County funds

The adopted Climate Action Plan is available at the bottom of this page.

The County’s climate action plan follows a resolution approved by the Board of Commissions late last year to address climate change. In December 2017, the Benton County Board of Commissioners joined Oregon State Government, nine local governments, thirteen colleges and universities, and more than 50 organizations and private businesses within Oregon by signing the “We Are Still In” pledge to institute and implement the intent of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.