On November 20, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a hearing on the challenges facing frontline communities to foster a clean economy. Testifying on behalf of NACo, Coos County, Ore. Commissioner and Chair of NACo’s Environment, Energy and Land Use Steering Committee Melissa Cribbins discussed the county role in environmental stewardship, land use and economic resiliency.
In her testimony, Commissioner Cribbins informed members of the subcommittee that county governments are responsible for protecting local air, water and land resources. She stated, “Counties maintain water systems to provide clean drinking water, revitalize contaminated sites to ensure safe and equitable neighborhoods, provide waste and recycling services to minimize pollution and implement land use and energy policies to promote sustainable communities.” She also added that counties must also balance other responsibilities, such as promoting community and economic development opportunities.
Commissioner Cribbins highlighted three main points for the subcommittee’s consideration as Congress asses challenges at the local level to promote a clean economy:
- As both co-regulators and regulated entities, county governments play a key role in maintaining a healthy, sustainable and equitable environment for our residents.
- Due to limited local resources and mounting federal and state mandates, often combined with fragile local economies, county governments face challenges when making long-term strategic budget investments and working towards sustainability.
- Early, consistent and meaningful engagement with intergovernmental partners is vital in the development and implementation of effective energy and environmental policies, programs and regulations.
To read Commissioner Cribbins’ written testimony, click here.
To watch a webcast of the hearing, click here.
Counties will continue to work with Congress and other federal agency partners to develop policies that can help improve our environment, sustain our economy and ensure the resiliency of our local communities.