City seeks public input on draft plan
Mayor Chris Beutler today released a draft Lincoln Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) to guide City action in the areas of energy, land use, transportation, waste and water. Mayor Beutler unveiled the plan at the Greenhouse Innovation Center, one of the facilities at Nebraska Innovation Campus that is heated and cooled by reclaimed water from the City’s wastewater treatment plant. He was joined by City Council members Carl Eskridge and Leirion Gaylor Baird and Innovation Campus Executive Director Dan Duncan.
“The Lincoln Environmental Action Plan is how we come together as a City and make the same commitment to be the same good stewards of the land as our forefathers,” Beutler said. “If we can increase recycling, keep our water and air clean, preserve our natural resources and reduce the emissions that harm our local environment, we will have left a legacy for our community for the next century.”
The LEAP grew out of work by the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force and has been in development for about one year. The City is seeking public input on the draft LEAP before the final plan is presented as a resolution to the City Council in August. Residents will be able to review the draft plan, ask questions and make comments through Monday, August 7at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: LEAP). The public is also invited to an open house from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 26th at Gere Branch Library, 2400 S. 56th Street. The plan will be reviewed and updated every two years.
The LEAP outlines the following strategies to reach goals in the five environmental areas:
- Convert street lights to LED technology.
- Improve energy efficiency in municipal buildings
- Reduce non-renewable fuel usage in City fleet operations by 50 percent by 2030.
- Improve the energy efficiency of new homes and buildings.
- Replace ash trees destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer
- Increase urban agriculture opportunities.
- Develop electric vehicle infrastructure.
- Implement the Green Light Lincoln program for more environmentally friendly traffic flow.
- Reduce vehicle traffic by increasing access to alternate transportation.
- Increase the recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030 with a comprehensive residential and commercial recycling plan.
- Increase waste and recycling diversion in City buildings to help meet goal of increasing the recycling rate to 50 percent by 2030.
- Develop a construction and demolition recycling strategy for publicly supported construction projects.
- Conserve Lincoln’s water and plan for future need.
- Develop a consistent watershed funding source to prevent flooding and improve the quality of stormwater runoff.
The LEAP also includes information on the City’s progress in the five areas and profiles of several local businesses that are practicing environmental sustainability . The Mayor said investments by the private and public sectors create a “triple bottom line.”
“When we conserve water, save energy and recycle, we contribute to the City’s environmental bottom line,” Beutler said. “When our residents, businesses and government work together as good stewards of our City, we contribute to the community’s social bottom line. And environmental action is good for the economic bottom line.”