On Monday, the Board of Legislators unanimously passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency in Westchester County.

The resolution cites the catastrophic global and local impacts of climate change, including devastating flooding from extreme weather, as well as many of the recent steps that County government has taken to reduce the county's carbon footprint -- including replacing fossil fuel buses and fleet vehicles with hybrid and electric ones, supporting food scrap recycling, installation of electric vehicle charging stations, and more.

Most importantly, the resolution pledges a revised Westchester Climate Action Plan with new recommended action steps, and an effort at the County level to support action at the local, state and national level to address this life-threatening emergency.

Leg. Ruth Walter (D - Bronxville, Yonkers), Chair of the Board's Environment & Health Committee said, "Climate change is impacting our health, our economy, our future. This resolution formally acknowledges the gravity of the situation. With its passage we're pledging to put the full force of County government behind actions to address the crisis and efforts to call attention to it at every other level of government."

Leg. Catherine Parker (D - Mamaroneck, Rye, Larchmont, New Rochelle, Harrison), chair of the Board's Planning, Economic Development & Energy Committee said, "Many of us have been working for years to call attention to the seriousness of the climate crisis we face here and around the world. I'm gratified that the Board of Legislators is taking this step to put on record how seriously we take this. I'm thankful for the leadership that County Executive Latimer and our Director of Energy and Sustainability, Peter McCartt, have shown as we've pushed forward with plans to replace the County's fossil fuel vehicle fleet, support the transition to electric vehicles, promote food scrap recycling, and make our County facilities more energy efficient.  The passage of this resolution isn't the end but the beginning of an even stronger effort to make Westchester a leader in sustainability."

Leg. Terry Clements (D - Pelham, Pelham Manor, New Rochelle), chair of the Boards Intergovernmental Services Committee, said, "Stemming the tide of the climate crisis requires action at all levels of government, County, state, federal and local. In declaring a climate emergency, we're joining other governments that have already done so -- like the city of New Rochelle -- and putting on record our commitment not just to talk about it but to do something about it."

Majority Leader MaryJane Shimsky (D - Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Edgemont, Hartsdale, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington), said, "For too long the debate over climate change has been dominated by false choices -- between economic growth and climate action or even over whether or not climate change exists. With this resolution, we ae putting to rest any debate in Westchester over those false choices. The extreme impacts of storms and flooding and the health effects of air and water pollution that we are living with today illustrate clearly that future economic growth and the future health and well-being of Westchester require our action on the climate crisis now."

Board Chair Ben Boykin (D - White Plains, Scarsdale, West Harrison), said, "I would like to thank all legislators who have long been a staunch advocates for County action on climate change. I'd also like to thank County Executive George Latimer for sponsoring this resolution and for his leadership in pushing for a cleaner and greener Westchester County. We have much work to do, but with this resolution we're saying to the world that Westchester County is serious about climate action."

For text of the resolution visit: https://bit.ly/3vq41Cn