With environmental leaders in tow, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last week expanded the city's green efforts with a $100,000 dollar check for a new trust fund that will further Pittsburgh's position as one of the nation's “top green cities.”
Though we've already made great strides in reducing our city's carbon footprint, the creation of this green fund demonstrates how serious city government is about being green,” Mayor Ravenstahl said. “Whether it's greening dozens of vacant lots, running diesel engines with clean-burning bio-diesel, or retrofitting traffic lights to make them more energy efficient, we have the momentum it takes to take this city to the next level of green.”
Energy costs saved when the city purchased its energy in bulk with the county and local entities will seed the Mayor's Green Initiative Trust Fund (GITF). The fund will allow for the hiring of a sustainability coordinator, and along with the current energy and utilities manager, will make up the Mayor's Office of Sustainable Development & Energy Efficiency.
The office will launch a Green Council, who will help to create, implement and oversee the city's five-year plan for green initiatives. The SURDNA foundation will help to fund the office and will commit further dollars when the five-year plan is complete.
The office will review and implement key recommendations to be made in the Green Government Task Force's (GGTF) “Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan,” of which the mayor serves as a co-chair. The GGTF will present its two year study and recommendations to Council next Tuesday.
“The mayor's creation of this very important office comes at an opportune time for the Taskforce,” said Rebecca Flora, Green Building Alliance executive director and GGTF chair of the GGTF. “The dozens of volunteers who put together this very important climate action document will be more than enthused that the mayor has already outlined a plan to implement the recommendations.”
The Green Council will be comprised of one representative from each of the city's departments and one representative from city council. The mayor will be submitting legislation to City Council to approve the funding for the GITF. The sustainability coordinator, with oversight from the Green Council, will prepare the yearly operating and capital budgets submitted to the mayor.