County to formalize commitment to climate action

Commissioners have finalized a draft resolution on the county’s intent to work on climate change.

County commissioners have finalized a draft resolution declaring the county’s intent to work to mitigate climate change.

The commissioners will likely unanimously approve the resolution at a regular meeting.

The resolution is not a detailed plan for how the county will reduce its emissions or otherwise curb its environmental impact — a more in-depth climate strategy will come later. The intent of this resolution is simply to establish environmental sustainability and climate resiliency as priorities for the county moving forward and codify the county’s intent to take action in those areas.

The revised resolution is called “Resolution of the Board of Island County Commissioners Affirming Its Acknowledgment of Climate Change and Steps to Ensure County Resiliency.”

During the Aug. 17 work session, Commissioner Melanie Bacon’s suggestion to specify within the resolution the county’s intent to pursue zero-emission goals was shot down by Commissioner Jill Johnson, who suggested that the resolution not hone in on any one particular climate change mitigation strategy.

“I think if that’s important to you, you’ve got two votes to move it forward,” she said. “That’s a little bit too far for me.”

Johnson suggested editing the fifth point of the resolution, which stated the county’s intent to make policy changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expanding it to address other behavioral changes the county can also make.

The resolution lists some climate-related actions the county has already taken, including completing a sea level rise strategy study, replacing county lights with LED bulbs and maintaining green spaces. Johnson pointed out that the county has also implemented water refilling stations and replaced plastic bottles in vending machines with aluminum cans to reduce plastic waste.

“I want to acknowledge these other things that we’re trying to do,” Johnson said.

The board agreed to formally vote on the resolution at a future meeting. Bacon said she believes all three commissioners will vote to adopt it.