Protecting the environment for the benefit of future generations is always in the public's interest. For that reason, Mecklenburg County officials have for many years tracked the state of the environment, acknowledged that intervention is necessary in the face of rapid growth, and taken actions to protect natural resources.
The first bi-annual State of the Environment Report was produced in 1987. These reports not only describe environmental conditions in the County, but also provide measures to evaluate progress, and make recommendations for action by elected officials. Many recommendations have been translated into actions such as adoption of the SWIM regulations, investments in parks and greenway systems, and expansion of mass transit.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners adopted an Environmental Leadership Policy on January 23, 2004 to describe the county's commitment to and expectations for environmentally sound practices in local government. The Environmental Leadership Policy is a statement of principles that guide the recurring activities of County government.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners desires that County government operate in a manner that conserves and protects our air, water and land resources, become a model of environmental stewardship for local governments, business and industry in our region, and use and apply the County's existing and future resources wisely for the benefit of its citizens. This has been adopted as the Environmental Leadership Team's mission statement.
The Environmental Leadership Policy is intended to further the County's 2015 Vision to be "a community of pride and choice for people to LIVE, WORK, and RECREATE" by establishing guiding principles for environmental performance in County government operations.
Guiding principles describing the County's commitment to environmentally sound practices within County Government include:
1. Comply with all applicable local, state and federal environmental regulations in all County facilities.
2. Practice energy conservation in all County facilities.
3. Practice waste minimization and recycling in all County facilities.
4. Purchase the lowest-emission vehicles practical to meet County needs.
5. Include environmental considerations in purchasing decisions for goods and services.
6. Acquire, maintain and preserve land to protect the natural environment.
7. Reuse existing buildings and infrastructure and avoid greenfield development.
8. Require environmentally sensitive design options in all new facilities and retrofits.
9. Provide employees with opportunities and incentives to practice environmentally sound behaviors.
10. Actively explore the feasibility of implementing new and innovative products and/or practices that provide environmental benefits, and inform elected officials of new opportunities.
11. Direct all County business units to integrate environmental considerations into their activities, and direct LUESA staff to assist business units with identifying and implementing environmentally sound practices.
12. Develop a program for continuous review of County activities to insure we seek practical ways to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of our activities, and carefully evaluate new opportunities to achieve sound environmental practices in government operations.
To learn more, connect to the following links or contact:
Heidi Pruess, CEP
Environmental Policy Administrator
Environmental Leadership Policy
Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners Resolution for the adoption of an Environmental Leadership Policy