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Cuyahoga County Council Creates Sustainability Department

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The Cuyahoga County Council has voted unanimously to create a county Department of Sustainability that will enhance job creation and economic growth efforts by supporting businesses that provide environmentally-sustainable goods and services. The department was designed, in part, to help Cuyahoga County residents make energy efficient home improvements in order to lower energy bill an increase home values.

The department’s duties also include:

  • Promoting environmentally-sustainable practices in the county’s own operations;
  • Collaborating with businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to develop programs incorporating environmental sustainability into business and government practices;
  • Focusing economic development attention on companies in the new energy economy and providing support to businesses developing new, sustainable products;
  • Educating the public about environmentally-sustainable practices; and
  • Advising the county executive and County Council on environmental sustainability policies and programs.

A director appointed by the county executive and confirmed by the county council will head the department.

The legislation creating the department was introduced by Council Member Sunny Simon, who chairs the council’s Education, Sustainability and Environment Committee. Emerald Cities Cleveland Director Shanelle Smith testified in favor of the department’s creation at a recent hearing before that committee.

“The legislation creating the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability is especially significant because it requires the county to proactively expand sustainable practices in its own operations, as well as to promote such practices in the wider community,” Simon noted.

“We are proud that county government will ‘lead by example’ in this important effort because investment in environmental sustainability will help create good jobs, strengthen and diversify our industrial portfolio, and improve the health and well-being of county residents,” she said. 

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