Chelmsford Select Board approves formation of Sustainability Committee

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CHELMSFORD — A Sustainability Committee will be created to work toward a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 after the Select Board passed the motion unanimously this week.

The volunteer town committee would assess the town’s greenhouse gas emissions, develop a plan for the town to reach net-zero by 2050, promote actions that residents and businesses may take to reduce their carbon emissions, and make yearly recommendations of specific town actions to reduce carbon use.

The proposal comes from Bern Kosicki, a physicist, who presented Article 28, a “Resolution to Address Climate Change,” at the spring annual town meeting, which urged the Select Board to form the committee.

The Select Board determined there will be nine sustainability committee board members with three staggered terms.

Selecting a name for the committee triggered some discussion.

“I think it’s the Climate Change Committee, I know that gets political but that’s what is out there (in other towns),” Town Manager Paul Cohen said.

“That turns some people off,” Select Board Clerk Mark Carota said, adding that he’d like to see more people behind this group than opposed.

“I know we had also talked about possibly combining committees,” Select Board Chairman Virginia Crocker Timmins said.

“The two committees that I thought it might merge well with is the Energy Conservation Committee and the Recycling Committee. Both of which I do know have vacancies,” board member Pat Wojtas said.

Similar resolutions and committees exist in other towns like Acton, Arlington, Natick, Pepperell and Westford.

Crocker Timmins asked Kosicki what he would like the group to be called, to which he said any of the ideas are fine with him as long as it’s something to do with climate or clean energy.

Ultimately, the Select Board decided upon Sustainability Committee.

Cohen said the town will note the committee on the town website and seek volunteers. The committee aims for a diverse membership with a range of backgrounds in business, culture and the environment.

Selectman Kenneth Lefebvre listed additional committee vacancies earlier in the evening saying, “If any of these sound of interest to you, we beg you to call the town manger’s office,” urging folks to get involved.