Chester County Climate Action Plan draft – 2021

A draft climate action plan for Chester County has been released for public review and comment. The updated Climate Action Plan expands on the 2010 Greenhouse Gas Reduction report, providing an updated greenhouse gas emissions inventory as well as an action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy efficiency throughout the county. The plan was prepared by the Chester County Planning Commission in partnership with the County’s Environmental and Energy Advisory Board.

 

A public meeting on the proposed Climate Action Plan was held on March 4, 2021 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. A recording of the meeting and the meeting slide show can be viewed on the Climate Action Plan webpage.

 

View the draft Climate Action Plan.

 

The comment period for the Climate Action Plan is now closed. We will be considering all submitted comments as we move forward with developing the next draft of the plan.

 

238 comments on “Chester County Climate Action Plan draft – 2021

  1. David Lutzker

    We need a fully funded climate action office established. That is the key to implementation of a fantastic plan. Great job team!

  2. Mark J. Connolly

    Please
    1. Create a Climate Action Office. This Plan will not achieve its purpose nor promise with leadership and
    staffing.
    2. Redesign the cover of the CAP to create a clear simple, inspiring, Instagramabe image that communicates both the severity of the work and the wonderful world we need to recreate without burning fossil fuel, destruction of the environment and unlimited consumption resources and animals.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on the Climate Action Plan. We will reexamine the images used in the draft plan and work to promote a positive message.

  3. Rutger Boerema

    Thank you for preparing this important plan. I am currently writing a clean energy transition plan for Tredyffrin township. It would be very useful for Chester County and their townships to have a Sustainability Coordinator to help and coordinate implement suggestions from the Climate Action Plan. The coordinator can support townships if they want to work together (e.g. bulk purchasing and installation of solar panels for township buildings).

  4. Kathy McDevitt

    The climate action office (F6) is a wonderful idea. I see many municipalities and organizations working to address the same problems – finding, organizing, and distributing information (such as renewable energy project funding opportunities) that should be available from a central source. Having one office to coordinate this effort for the county would prevent a lot of duplicate efforts and provide consistency of information, increasing the efficiency and quality of the regional climate response.

  5. Sabrina Smith

    To Whom it may concern,

    I’m a senior at Owen J. Roberts High School, and I have spent many hours over the past month reviewing the Chester County Climate Action Plan. I first heard about the plan through my internship with Green Valley Watershed Association, and I attended the virtual public meeting regarding the plan on March 4th.

    After reviewing the plan, and attending the meeting, I still have questions, as well as feedback. Many of the goals are aspirational and many of them do not include concrete steps or measurements. Other prompts were based on “evaluating”, “promoting”, “encouraging”, and “establishing” certain issues – not addressing them. In general, many of the prompts have good ideas but are lacking components fundamental for success, such as clear measurements and public accountability. How will results be achieved if they are not measured or measurable? How will the public be involved once the plan is actually put into action?

    Already as a young adult I recognize the great impact climate change will have on my life. My generation, and future generations will inherit this problem, and it is already a crisis. We want to be involved, we want to do our part, and we want a real future. We can’t just “evaluate” solutions, we need to execute them. I think the plan would greatly benefit from offering more personal involvement and volunteer opportunities. Many highschoolers, young adults, and informed citizens in general would love to be involved. Goals would be completed much more quickly, and public accountability would assure the completion of goals, and could even encourage more public involvement!

    With how dire our climate crisis is, personal participation should be much more accessible. It shouldn’t be that hard to be an active citizen who practices sustainability, but it has taken the majority of my 18 year lifetime to even begin practicing sustainability! Doing the bare minimum should not be so exclusive! We are one of the more wealthy counties in the country and yet we are worried to spend money on a crisis that is affecting all of us and will only continue to cost more money as time goes on. We need actual measurable goals, substantial funding, and public participation. The whole point of local government is so that the public can be involved and participate in their community. I feel like there is not a real focus on the community, only a focus on the buildings for the government employees who “represent” our community.

    I look forward to the plans development, as well as doing my part.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on the Climate Action Plan. We appreciate your ideas on bringing more people, particularly students and the community at large, into the plan implementation process and will put additional thought into that aspect in the next plan draft. While the most important measure and goal of the plan is the 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, note that we also have a number of key performance measures listed on page 71. These measures relate to the plan objectives and actions and will be developed in more detail following the plan adoption. We understand your desire to be more concrete in the implementation of the actions but the reality is that, in some cases, we need to do additional exploration on an action before we can determine with certainty that it will be both feasible and the best path to our overall goal of GHG reduction. Thank you again for your thoughts on the plan and your passion for making a difference.

  6. Mike Bullard

    Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the County’s draft Action Plan. I am firmly convinced that unchecked climate change is an existential threat to our county’s future and that the time for effective action is now, beginning with this Action Plan. I am also firmly convinced that the benefits to our county’s environment, economy and community far outweigh the expense and effort it will take to reduce our county’s GHG emissions. I offer the following as constructive comments in support of the work being done in creating and implementing this Action Plan, and sincerely wish this endeavor every success. Suggestions to make the Plan easier to read, understand and support
    1.Summarizing the main Actions in the front of document will make it easier for the reader to orient to the overall Plan. Suggest grouping them into the three main areas of Transportation, Buildings, and Grid1, because this is where the bulk of GHG reduction are available. Carbon Sequestration in field and forest could be a fourth area.
    2.Add a timeline to orient the reader temporally.
    3.Simplify body text2 to improve readability.
    4.Use positive framing by including in the Action summaries information on the positive aspects of GHG reductions. Examples: reduced power plant emissions provide health benefits (including respiratory illnesses and mercury levels); reduced operating costs of EV as compared to conventional; reduced operating costs and increased comfort in energy efficient buildings.
    5.Move peripheral non-action topics like climate impacts and emissions inventories into later sections of the Action Plan. This will simplify the flow of the Plan without detriment. The public is largely aware of these issues already and have made up their minds. Roughly two thirds of Americans—likely more in Chester County—want action on climate change3and already have a working understanding of the cause and consequence of GHGs.
    1 Example: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/Resources/Files/climate/draft-climate-action-plan.pdf
    2 Draft body text has a score of reported by MS Word: Flesch Readng Ease 22.7 out of 100 (70 -80 is ideal); Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 16.3 (above bachelor’s degree)
    3 Maintaining water quality was the top priority in the 2018 Chester County Citizen Survey; however, climate questions were not included on the survey. These should be included on the next survey.
    6.Anticipate the public’s questions about this plan by providing a FAQ section covering a range of topics including questions from the climate deniers. This would be a good place to provide sound information about the reality of climate change, the urgent need to act, and the economic/environmental benefits of Action for the county.
    Suggestions to highlight the County’s leadership role and foster long term success
    The County has an enviable record of accomplishments in many areas including planning, conservation, and water quality. If the County puts its weight behind GHG reduction, we will see similar successes.
    1.Establish a permanent department in the County government.2.Set firm numerical targets for each of the Action Plan areas and track.3.Create an online dashboard with trend charts for each GHG reduction metric being implemented, plus a roll up of all progress under the Action Plan. This would also serve as an aggregator for all of the projects that have been implemented to date in the county.4.Utilize the same County departmental tools and grants in use today for land conservation, etc. to implement the Plan Vision.a.Provide technical support as grants to the municipalities for PPAs and other renewables/efficiencies programs. This would involve expert review of the grants, improving outcomes of these initiatives out in the County’s municipalities.b.Develop model ordinances where needed for buildings, transportation, grid, and carbon sequestration.c.Develop effective outreach to all potential entities, including schools, businesses, HOAs, famers and so on.5.Conduct annual or biannual polls or other process to keep county entities and citizens involved.6.Establish a web presence for the Plan commensurate with other County departments7.Publicize the accomplishments of the County.8.Hire professionals and consultants for technical aspects of this work. This will reduce wasted motion and improve the long-term successes of the Action Plan.
    Thank you to all the contributors for the work you are doing on this very important issue.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on both the content of the plan and ideas to improve its readability. We will consider these ideas in the next draft of the plan. We appreciate your support of the Climate Action Plan.

  7. Carolyn T. Comitta, State Senator, 19th District - Chester County

    Attached please find my submission for the public comment period for Chester County’s Climate Action Plan. Please reach out if there are any questions or concerns.

    Thank you,

    Carolyn T. Comitta
    State Senator
    19th District – Chester County

  8. Margaret W Hudgings

    Simply the most important issue facing Chester County and Planet Earth is climate change and the devastation it brings to all of us. The Climate Action Plan provides a sound guideline for how to proceed locally in saving our health and the well being of future generations.

  9. Norman Wareham

    Create this Climate. Action Plan.
    Citizens need to know the actions to take
    So we can operate intentionally in our pursuit of a sustainable living policy or approach.

  10. Henry Alexander

    To the Chester County Planning Commission:

    The following are my comments regarding the draft Chester County Climate Action Plan dated January 27, 2021:

    I congratulate the CCPC for producing the Chester County Action Plan (CC CAP). It will continue the forward thinking of the transition to renewable energy and the steady but complete elimination of manmade greenhouse gases (GHGs). Although most of the actions recommended are important, here are the actions that I think are of greatest importance as we start this process:

    It is most important that there be a full time Climate Action Office that will coordinate the County’s role in the transition to renewable energy:
    F6 Explore the creation of a Sustainable Energy Advocate Office or Climate Action Office to lead, coordinate, educate, and engage stakeholders in the implementation of the Climate Action Plan. Explore potential state and federal funding sources for this new office.

    Second, the County should transition its electricity purchases to renewable sources of energy in coordination with other government agencies as soon as is practicable.
    E3 Work with DVRPC to coordinate energy and climate programs available at a regional level. Explore and implement if feasible a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) program for the County and interested municipal governments, public schools, libraries, and public housing.

    Third, the County should develop a ten year plan to convert all motor vehicles to electric vehicles or other no-emission vehicles. Motor vehicle fuel constitute a very large percentage of the emissions of the County activities. The plan should be reassessed every year.
    B2 Electrify the County fleet for all vehicles, including light and heavy duty vehicles, unless exempt due to emergency services or maintenance activities. Move towards a fleet of 10% EV by 2025. Consider use of contracting requirements to facilitate transition to electric vehicles. Reassess every three years due to rapidly evolving market.

    Fourth, benchmarking of major buildings in Chester county should be strongly encouraged. Benchmarking leads to a heightened awareness of energy use and savings in energy costs.
    E17 Develop voluntary Building Energy Benchmarking program to be established and managed by CCEDC Smart Energy Initiative, supported by County authorization, and funded via federal and state resources (DOE, DEP, EPA).

    Fifth, the County should emphasize climate action planning in their funding of projects to the municipalities.
    E11 Use Vision Partnership Planning grants to support development and implementation of local community renewable energy planning and ordinances.

    Thank you for the opportunity to make these comments.

    Henry Alexander
    1101 Fern Hill Road, West Goshen Township

    Henry Alexander
    Phone: 610-692-0923
    E-mail: henry.deh.alexander@gmail.com

  11. Michael Churchill

    Please approve the Action Plan and in particular establish the Climate Action Office. thank you for these important first steps.

  12. Eric Miller

    Excellent draft with strong rationale and historical data that supports creating a Climate Action Office. Time frame for most of the goals and objectives needs to be sooner and measures to counter climate change really need to be more aggressive. Good start!

  13. Michelle Rubin

    The East Pikeland EAC would like to fully endorse the Chester County Climate Action Plan. The committee is especially excited for the creation of a Sustainable Energy Advocate Office to help lead the county forward and provide sorely needed guidance to municipalities. East Pikeland Township has committed to the Ready for 100 Initiative and is motivated to continue taking steps further towards a clean energy future for our Township, its residents, and our planet as a whole.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on the Climate Action Plan. We appreciate your support and the initiatives that the EAC has undertaken in support of clean energy.

  14. Bernice Harvey

    Wouldn’t it be more prudent to start implementing small changes that don’t kill long existing businesses or drastically change our lives and document the results. Taking small steps and reporting the results, implementing what is beneficial seems to be a better approach given that climate change is not 100 % settled science.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input and interest in the Climate Action Plan. We understand your concern about impacts on businesses and residents – the plan provides a series of recommendations intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but does not directly impose these strategies on stakeholders. We expect that their implementation will be incremental and undertaken over a timeframe of several years.

  15. Charles Hilston

    I have looked through the action plan and it is obvious that there is a need to create a climate action office to be able to implement some of these changes.

  16. Patti Lynn

    Chester County Solid Waste Authority, and I attended your March 4 virtual meeting on the Climate Action Plan, and are pleased to see that some of the County’s objectives are compatible with the Chester County Solid Waste Authority’s Zero Waste Plan.

    A few comments:
    • To achieve a significant measurable decrease in disposal /capita, heavier materials ought to be part of the focus. Utilizing a vacant or depreciated building or underused property for the recycling of construction material, the reuse of still-usable home fixtures, creating a repair facility or a tool library could be a potential program. In your Waste Management section, you would be combining actions (B15) with (B18).

    Other potential objectives that repurpose underutilized land or a building:
    • A permitted food composting facility would increase the diversion of food waste from the landfill. (B17)
    • A permitted, staffed, convenience drop off center for small-medium sized businesses who do not have excessive quantities of certain universal wastes, such as fluorescent bulbs, batteries, aerosols, mercury thermostats, and/or certain electronics.

    In addition:
    • The CCSWA conducted a waste characterization study at Lanchester Landfill in July, 2020, as part of a statewide DEP initiative. We expect to get results sometime this year (B16).
    • Chester County codes already include a “no burn” ordinance (Section 502.7.1). (B7)

    We are open to further discussion about any one of these ideas, or others, that can meet our common goals.
    Thank you for the opportunity.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for this helpful input into the Waste Management section of the Climate Action Plan. We will use these comments to further refine the noted actions.

  17. Alexandra Manning

    Dear Chester County Commissioners and the Chester County Planning Commission,

    We are writing in support of the Climate Action Plan that outlines concrete and proactive actions to handle and mitigate the effects of the ongoing climate crisis that affects all of us. We have read the climate action plan and appreciated attending the virtual presentation of the plan on March 4th. Thank you.

    Uwchlan Twp ( where we live and are active in our community), passed a Clean Energy resolution in February, 2019. Our municipality is one of many in Chester County and in our region that has clean energy resolutions and is committed to transitioning to clean energy and better energy efficiency as soon as possible. In addition, we are addressing many environmental issues that affect our community.

    It is critical that municipalities have the support and guidance of professionals on the county level to help us achieve our goals. We ask that specific professionals hired by the county to implement the county climate action plan are available to advise municipalities with furthering clean energy and other environmental goals.

    We look forward to approval of the Climate Action Plan and working with you. Thank you for your consideration and efforts for a safe, healthy environment.

  18. Qatana Samanen

    Think globally, act locally!
    We need to create our own contribution to fighting climate chaos. The creation of a Climate Change Office is an important start.
    Please follow through and create a Climate Change Office!

  19. John Hall

    Climate change is having an impact on driver safety during flash floods in Houston. Heavier rainfall is causing rising flood levels and the severity and frequency of storms and flooding put more drivers at risk. Monitoring these trends using geospatial data is vital to improving long-term planning efforts but also to improve safety alerts and rescue operations once urban flooding occurs. A Roadway Early Warning System can become a resource a driver can use to figure out how to avoid roadway flooding or deal with flood entrapment and to help first responders locate and rescue stranded drivers.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on the Climate Action Plan. You make a good point regarding flooding issues related to climate change. We note that resiliency issues, including flooding, are being addressed in the updated Chester County Hazard Mitigation Plan which is expected to be completed by the Chester County Department of Emergency Services in early 2021. More information about the draft Hazard Mitigation Plan, including a copy of the draft plan and information about an upcoming public meeting to be held on April 7 from 6 pm to 8 pm, can be viewed here: http://www.chestercountypahmp.com

  20. S. Fisher

    I think it would be a good idea to have a climate action office formed to implement the climate action plan. It is amazing how uneducated the general public is about the environment and how their actions harm the environment.

  21. James Samanen

    Any Chester County Climate Action Plan is good if it promotes achievable action that will have a positive impact on the environment.

  22. Nora Ziegler

    I was very encouraged by this thoroughly thought out plan for reducing Green House Gases, which hopefully if applied world wide, as well as in Chester County, may save us from the climate disasters we are already seeing – flooding, severe storms, extreme heat, rising sea levels, etc. I was also encouraged that we are already on #3 on page 11, though #4 will take the next 10 years. I was amazed and pleased to see that we have planted 120 million trees! I am proud that we have the 2nd lowest GHG emissions in the DVRPL area. We now need to make sure we achieve the trends on page 28. The actions and performance measures on pages 29+ demonstrate a blueprint to achieve our goals. I am very concerned about the pesticides and herbicides that are poisoning our land and water, however. No pollinators, no food!

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your interest the Climate Action Plan. We note that the 120 million trees referenced on page 23 of the plan is the number that would be needed to offset current climate emissions. We appreciate your support of the plan’s proposed actions and not your concern with the importance of protecting pollinators.

  23. Veda Maany

    I am a physician who works in Chester County and a mother of 2 young children. I am in full support of an action plan that will generate mitigation efforts- We can argue about details but let’s not lose sight that our health and future generations have already been impacted by apathy and inertia. Let’s move forward. Thank you for initiating this movement.

  24. Patrick Davish

    Please create a climate action office. I am encouraged and informed by reading the draft proposal and the comments endorsing the climate action proposal. This local leadership and comments of positive thoughtful change can lead to local action and enable national initiatives.

  25. Remy Way

    I don’t know much about this stuff, but here’s a small idea for a way to maybe help with the diversion of recyclable plastic waste. It might be too ‘small potatoes’ to have any real impact though.

    The Chester County Library (where I work) has a 3d printer. Patrons bring us files for objects they want created, and we create them for the price of the materials. Objects are mostly created out of a variety of plastics, i.e. PLA, ABS, PVA, etc.

    Recently, a long anticipated technology in the 3d printing industry has finally matured to the point of being usable. The “recyclebot”. This is a small, desktop level machine that can turn a VERY large assortment of commercial plastics into 3d printer filament. There are several on the market, and also many open source plans for building your own.

    If we were equipped with a recyclebot then, rather than charge patrons for material, they could just turn in an amount of cleaned recyclable plastic equal to the object they want printed. Like an exchange; you want new hinges for your cooler, so you bring us roughly 30g of recyclable plastic waste. We turn that into filament and make you the hinge, free of charge!

    This is something I plan to try and implement at the library either way, but if it works well then maybe other facilities around the county could be similarly outfitted? The thing I like about it is that it localizes recycling, you know right where your recyclables wound up because you bring them home again in a new form.

  26. Donna Delany

    I want to mention again we need to incentivize landowners to NOT cut down trees – they need to be compensated for taking no action, before it is too late for our Chester County woodlands. Finding a way for small woodland owners to group together to sell carbon credits might be one way. Conservation easements DO NOT prevent landowners from logging, and every time they log, biodiversity is lost, and, at this point, there is no regeneration of trees with out putting up and maintaining deer fence and spraying herbicides that kill the understory and possibly damage the mycorrhizal layer where most of the carbon is stored. You can plant trees, but you can’t plant a forest.

  27. Michael Babitch

    Create a Climate Action Office that can see to it that the plan is implemented over time.

  28. Marybeth

    I don’t think this is necessary at this time. Taxes are already headed to 49%. Stop new taxes!

  29. MARIAN PFLAUMER

    I am happy to see Chester County government taking ownership of its carbon emissions and acting to mitigate them. This climate action plan will go a long way toward undoing the damage we have done to our environment. I would like the county to have an office of sustainability to be a resource for businesses and residents on how best they can act on climate change mitigation and demonstrate the seriousness with which it takes this existential threat. The county could also act to make sure its suppliers are committed to taking mitigation action, and to renewable energy The county also needs to strongly encourage and motivate businesses that operate in Chester county to be likewise committed to sustainability, a circular economy and zero emissions by 2050. Thank you for your leadership on this vital issue.

  30. Carol Armstrong

    The greatest impacts from climate change in Chester Co is changes in precipitation events and their impacts on erosion, loss of agricultural soils, damage to forest environments, damage to stream ecologies, loss of aquatic specie diversity, and declining water quality for drinking. Even if the Planning Commission wishes to use the Chester County Water Resources Authority revision process for the County’s Stormwater Management Model Ordinance and the County-wide Stormwater Management Plan, watershed conservation and drinking water quality should not be left out of this report. Water issues are currently included indirectly – as effects of climate heating and change, but stormwater flow has been an increasing problems for residents and for municipalities who must fund home and property repairs after major storms, maintenance of aging stormwater infrastructure, innovation to meet increasing stormwater runoff, erosion, and loss of healthy stream habitat. The climate report will not be complete without the Planning Commission’s objectives and actions for stormwater impacts on drinking water and watershed ecologies. In fact, without attention to this, there will continue to be loss of canopy, increasing forest fragmentation, decreasing forest diversity, and increasing risks of property flooding. Water quality should be as much a part of every local government department, commission, and board guidance, as well as objectives and plans for land planning from the County.

    • Chesco Planning Post author

      Thank you for your input on the Climate Action Plan. While the primary goal of this plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Planning Commission fully supports the protection of water quality, water conservation, and stormwater mitigation through our natural resource protection initiatives and in our support of the Chester County WRA’s planning efforts.

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