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West Chester, Pa. – The Borough of West Chester, Pennsylvania on Wednesday became the 45th municipality in the United States and second in Pennsylvania to commit to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. The Borough Council voted unanimously to establish a goal of moving West Chester to 100 percent clean and renewable energy just a week after nearby Phoenixville made a similar 100 percent commitment.
The resolution calls for the borough to power all electricity with clean, renewable energy by 2035 and all transportation and heating by 2050. The measure also commissions a council or contractor to create a more detailed transition plan by Earth Day 2019 that will ensure West Chester achieves its goal in an equitable way that boosts the local economy and delivers clean energy to all.
“West Chester Borough has a long record of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare for the impacts of climate change, and now we are ready to do much more,” West Chester Mayor Jordan C. Norley said. “The actions we will take to conserve energy and transition to renewable energy will also bring a multitude of benefits to our residents, economy, and environment.”
"September gave us a glimpse of what the future will be like if climate change continues — and it doesn’t look good. West Chester’s commitment to a bold blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is just what is needed,” said Diane LeBold, West Chester Borough Council President.
“The people of West Chester have said loud and clear they want clean energy, because we care about our health, sustainable jobs, and our children’s future,” said Dianne Herrin, mayoral candidate and Chair of the Borough’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, which initiated the resolution. “Here in West Chester, we are doing our part to shift the national tide toward a clean and livable future.”
Paula Kline, Sierra Club/Ready For 100 Chester County volunteer leader, said: “This vote puts West Chester on the right side of history. Our local leaders see the urgency of stabilizing the climate for our own well-being and that of our neighbors near and far. Every member of Borough Council can look their children and grandchildren in the eye and say that they did everything they could to protect their future.”
Janet Cleaver, board member of the local nonprofit Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), summarized the resolution this way: “West Chester’s vote demonstrates the importance of local leadership. The target of 100% is challenging, but it is achievable.”
With two commitments in as many weeks, Chester County is quickly becoming a hub of clean energy leadership. Southeastern Pennsylvania will increasingly look toward West Chester and Phoenixville as models as the region embraces the benefits of clean energy for local communities and economies.
West Chester’s commitment to 100 percent clean energy builds off of multiple visionary steps the borough has taken in recent years, such as Mayor Jordan C. Norley’s endorsement of the Mayors For 100% Clean Energy initiative and West Chester’s passage of an Environmental Community Bill of Rights in 2015. A local volunteer committee known as BLUER, or Business Leaders United for Emissions Reduction, also helped build toward this commitment with clean energy and emissions reduction strategies.
Local groups advocating for this commitment include the Sierra Club Ready For 100 Campaign and Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP).
Three other Chester County mayors from Downingtown, Kennett Square, and Atglen have also endorsed the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, pledging their support for powering their communities entirely with renewable energy. In June, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced his support for 100 percent clean energy, becoming the 100th mayor in a list that is now over 150 strong.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.