Mayor Swearengin Accepts EPA ‘Green Government’ Award for City of Fresno
Mayor Ashley Swearengin today accepted the “Green Government” award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizing the City of Fresno’s investment in applying smart growth and sustainability principles as the city plans its future.
“The City of Fresno and its residents can be proud of our leadership in developing and implementing new and innovative programs that save energy and money, protect the environment and improve the local economy,” Mayor Swearengin said. “This award shows that our efforts are being noticed well beyond our city’s borders.”
Mayor Swearengin received the award at EPA’s Pacific Southwest Division’s “Celebrating 40 Years of Environmentalism” event in Los Angeles. Fresno was the only city in the region to receive the “Green Government” award.
According to U.S. EPA, the City of Fresno received its award in recognition of its leadership in rethinking the road to economic growth and development. A few years ago, the city issued its Strategy for Achieving Sustainability, which puts into action 25 strategies to bolster the "triple bottom line" of providing economic, environmental, and social benefits.
In presenting its award to the City of Fresno, EPA noted:
“One of the 25 strategies in (the Strategy for Achieving Sustainability) plan is to achieve a 75 percent diversion to landfills by 2012 and zero waste to landfills by 2025. As of October, the city achieved a 74 percent landfill diversion rate. This would not have been possible without the actions of the City Council, the city's solid waste team, and most importantly, the committed community.
“The city is now in the process of developing forward-thinking downtown and neighborhood revitalization and growth plans to achieve more livable communities, preservation of agricultural land, cleaner air, healthier residents, and greater economic opportunity. It’s clear that Fresno hasn’t been afraid to take the risks. We applaud Fresno's innovative work to achieve both its environmental and economic growth goals.”
In addition to the waste diversion initiative, other examples of Fresno’s “green” efforts include:
• Leading the effort in the San Joaquin Valley to secure $4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sustainable Communities Initiative for smart growth planning in the region;
• Developing the largest clean-air vehicle fleet in the central San Joaquin Valley with 533 vehicles in service, with more than 80 percent of those being heavy duty trucks and buses;
• Developing a comprehensive free residential energy efficiency survey program with more than 1,100 homes surveyed in the last year;
• Deploying solar power on city-owned facilities and planning to deploy additional solar power on the Convention Center;
• Implementing a $1.9 million residential energy efficiency program in collaboration with the State Energy Upgrade California program that covers Fresno and Kern counties;
• The largest public-access compressed natural gas fueling station and the largest public-access liquid natural gas fueling station in the San Joaquin Valley;
• Pioneering the use of renewable biogas to produce electric power at the Regional Waste Water Treatment Facility.
More information on the City’s sustainability efforts is available at http://www.fresno.gov/Government/DepartmentDirectory/PlanningandDevelopment/SustainableFresno/default.htm.