|Thomas J. Mazur - District 8
AUGUST 27, 2007
COUNTY ACTING TO PRESERVE ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, TAX DOLLARS WITH GREEN BUILDING, EQUIPMENT LOCAL LAWS
The Erie County Legislature, during its last session, unanimously passed two energy saving local laws that would more efficiently spend public funds and also help protect the health and welfare of our residents.
The first law mandates that any major facility projects in Erie County shall be designed, constructed shall be built according to the LEED Silver Standard. The LEED standard means that it will be built according to the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The second local law states that Erie County shall purchase Energy Star products when such products are available. Products given the Energy Star rating are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The passage of these two laws was what I consider to be very important steps towards making Erie County more green conscious. Whether we like to admit it or not, our nation seems to ignore paying attention to environmental concerns. It is almost as though people think there is a bottomless pit of resources out there that will never be depleted. I may be a bit more of a skeptic. It seems to me that something funny is going on with our environment.
The other day, I heard someone say something as simple as this: the best way to conserve energy is not to use it. So, it would make sense to me that Erie County start should operate its government with less waste. The government should lead by example. Take for example hybrid vehicles; the U.S. manufacturers have had this technology available since the early 1990s. They thought no one would want a hybrid car, so they kept this technology on the back burner. The Japanese auto makers continued to work on their technology and began offering it to the U.S. market by the year 2000. And what they found was a hungry market here and their sales and success boomed.
What should have been done in the 1990s was a collaborative effort between American automakers and government entities. Good reliable low cost hybrid vehicles should have been sold to government fleets in order to showcase this new technology to citizens. It would have been nice to have gotten close to double the gas efficiency on our fleet.
The county government is no different than you. We don't get any discounts on our gas. But, if we would conserve our usage by using a more efficient vehicle, that savings ultimately will get passed on to you, the taxpayer. As a legislator I must say, I'm glad we're beginning to think green.
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