This committee was formed in response to the favorable vote of a Citizens Petition presented and passed at the May 9, 2017 Annual Town Meeting (ATM), where voters asked the Board of Selectmen “establish and appoint a five- to seven-member Environmental Action Committee by September 5, 2017, and that said committee be charged with creating an Environmental Action Plan that would advise and set goals and recommendations for the Town with regard to energy and environmental considerations”.
Environmental Action Committee Charge
WHEREAS, the Preface to the Town of Princeton's Town Plan, adopted in 2007, provides that 'Princeton will continue to be an exemplary community, mindful of the challenges facing the world and dedicated to local action that may have a positive effect on the region around us. '
WHEREAS, the Town of Princeton's Town Plan, adopted in 2007, sets forth goals that include:
- ' ... balanced development that not only preserves land but also builds places to live and work, avoids the economic and environmental costs of sprawl, and promotes diverse neighborhoods;'
- ' ... continu[ing] to provide an environment that sustains wildlife; '
- '[s]trengthen[ing] Princeton's role as a leader in ecological and environmental concern; ' and
- '[i]mprov[ing] communication among local businesses, town government and potential developers. '
WHEREAS, the Town of Princeton is required to attain environmental compliance with state and federal regulations including, but not limited to, regulations governing air quality, water resources, toxics and hazards, and waste and recycling;
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed in 2008 the Global Warming Solutions Act (also known as the Climate Protection and Green Economy Act) (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 21N), requiring reductions from all sectors of the economy to reach a target of a 25% reduction of 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020 and an 80% reduction of 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2050;
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed in 2008 the Green Communities Act (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 169), which, among other things, promotes expansion in energy efficiency, supports the development of renewable energy resources, creates a new greener state building code, and created the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, which helps municipalities navigate and meet the five criteria required to become a Green Community, in turn qualifying them for grants that finance additional energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at the local level;
WHEREAS, the Town of Princeton recognizes that sustainable environmental practices are critical to the economic development future and long-term financial stability of the Town of Princeton, and that a reduction in energy and resource use through conservation and improved efficiency can save money for the Town of Princeton, our community businesses, institutions, and residents;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town of Princeton:
ACKNOWLEDGES that goals of the Town's Master Plan and Massachusetts environmental laws necessitate that the Town be proactive in addressing environmental and energy considerations in future decision-making and actions;
ACKNOWLEDGES that engaging in sustainable environmental practices and increasing energy and resource use efficiency may benefit the environment, climate change, and the finances and well-being of the Town and its businesses, residents, and ecosystems;
SUPPORTS the constitution and appointment, by September 1, 2017, by the Board of Selectmen of an Environmental Action Committee for the Town of Princeton to create a Town of Princeton Environmental Action Plan to set goals and recommendations for Town of Princeton boards, departments and committees that may relate to, among other things:
- maximizing energy and resource use efficiency with Town operations, purchasing decisions, construction of capital assets, and community planning;
- promoting energy and resource use efficiency for Town residents, business, and institutions;
- exploring the opportunity, requirements and considerations related to the Town of Princeton obtaining a Green Communities Designation, which would make the Town eligible for Massachusetts grants to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy;
- preserving and enhancing the ecological systems and diversity of the Town of Princeton;
- encouraging environmental stewardship and protection of the Town of Princeton's natural environment through the sharing of environmental information with the community and through active and meaningful community participation;
- providing for sustainable development, while incorporating environmental considerations as an integral part in assessing growth management options, land use plans, transportation plans, and development proposals;
- achieving carbon dioxide emission reductions in compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act; and
- ensuring Town compliance with environmental regulations.