Environment and Energy Conservation

In Chatham County, we are blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We have three major rivers, the Haw, Rocky and the Deep and the 120 miles of Jordan Lake shoreline are almost entirely surrounded by Chatham County lands. It is important that we protect our natural resources for future generations, for sustaining our quality of life and as an attraction for economic development. Energy conservation is important now and will be even more important in the future as costs of conventional energy sources will continue to escalate. Here are some of my accomplishments in environmental protection and energy conservation and my priorities for the future.
  • When I took office our ordinances were ineffective in protecting water quality. We have amended our watershed and soil erosion and sedimentation control ordinances and we created a storm water ordinance. We now have the tools to limit clearing to close to our rivers and streams and to require best management practices for land development and site stabilization.
  • The Chatham County Board of Commissioners played a key role in the successful regional negotiations enabling passage of the Jordan Lake nutrient rules by the state legislature These rules will protect Jordan Lake as a drinking water source and recreational area.
  • We are working with Cary on a joint land use plan East of Jordan Lake. The draft plan includes a protective rural buffer close to Jordan Lake while encouraging economic development in areas farther from the lake.
  • Based on a recommendation by the Green Building Task Force, we have established a policy which requires new public buildings, including schools, to be built to LEEDS Silver standards. This practice will not only conserve energy but will save the taxpayers money on energy costs. Current buildings under construction are the Margaret Pollard Middle School, the Siler City and Pittsboro Community College Buildings, the Library and the Judicial Building.
  • All existing public buildings are undergoing an energy audit. This audit will establish priorities for energy saving retrofits. The costs for those retrofits will be paid for entirely by reductions in energy costs.
  • We are exploring the benefits of constructing a county landfill coupled to an eco-industrial complex. This complex would recruit businesses to use our trash and recyclables to manufacture value added products. This approach has been used in other places to both encourage recycling and promote economic development.