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Mayor Emanuel today announced Chicago's first environmental roadmap, a guidebook that will outline the city's plans for environmental stewardship in the coming years as well as the economic development that comes with it.
"As Chicago continues to expand and evolve its environmental agenda, there is an opportunity to create quality jobs, improve our neighborhoods, and build a higher quality of life for our residents," said Mayor Emanuel. "These plans allow the city to focus its environmental efforts on key goals which will lead to economic development and greater opportunity for all Chicagoans."
Many of the goals in the plan deal with the economic opportunity that comes with environmental awareness, which is a key factor Mayor Emanuel has highlighted for businesses. The goals in the plan include establishing Chicago as a hub for the growing sustainable economy; an effort to help people and companies adopt environmentally friendly practices, and an improvement in citywide energy efficiency. There is also a strong focus on environmental awareness throughout the transportation system for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers, as well as users of public transportation and the city's two airports.
The plan comes on the heels of a successful first 16 months in office for Mayor Emanuel in the area of environmental stewardship, including the shuttering of the Fisk and Crawford coal plants, the implementation of 34 miles of protected bike lanes, the launch of the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Buildings Initiative, and a consistent and direct focus on improving environmental friendliness throughout the city while promoting related economic development. Other accomplishments include the announcement that the entire city will have recycling services, as well as the receipt of a Bloomberg Innovation Award that will bring a residential retrofitting program to Chicago.
"In just over a year in office, Mayor Emanuel has already made impressive progress toward a Chicago that is healthier, greener, and adding clean energy jobs in our communities," said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. "Under Rahm Emanuel, Chicago is moving beyond coal to clean energy, revitalizing the Chicago River, adding park space and bike lanes, and bringing real recycling service to all neighborhoods. They Mayor is off to a great start, but he's just beginning. The roadmap unveiled today is a clear path to achieving our vision of making Chicago the greenest city in the world."
Mayor Emanuel presented the plan at the Notebaert Nature Museum, to approximately 100 leading environmentalists from the area.
The roadmap contains seven categories critical to the sustainability of the city. It sets 24 specific goals that can be reached by 2015, along with specific things that can be done to ensure the city meets its goals.
The seven sustainability categories are:
1. Economic Development and Job Creation
2. Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy
3. Transportation Options
4. Water and Wastewater
5. Parks, Open Space, and Healthy Food
6. Waste and Recycling
7. Climate Change
The 24 specific goals are:
1. Establish Chicago as a hub for the growing sustainable economy
2. Accelerate the economy in Chicago by assisting people and companies in adopting sustainable practices
3. Improve citywide energy efficiency by 5 percent
4. Improve overall energy efficiency in municipal buildings by 10 percent
5. Create an additional 20 MW of renewable energy, consistent with the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard
6. Increase average daily transit ridership
7. Accelerate transit-oriented development around transit stations
8. Make Chicago the most bike and pedestrian friendly city in the country
9. Improve freight movement and accelerate high-speed passenger rail projects
10. Advance sustainability leadership at Chicago airports
11. Strengthen the infrastructure to advance vehicle efficiency
12. Reduce municipal fossil fuel consumption by 10 percent
13. Decrease water use by 2 percent (14 million gallons per day) annually
14. Enhance storm water management to reduce sewer overflows and basement flooding
15. Transform the Chicago River into our second waterfront
16. Protect water quality and enhance access to Lake Michigan
17. Increase the number of public spaces and parks accessible for Chicagoans
18. Increase options for accessing local or healthy food in every neighborhood
19. Improve and protect Chicago's natural assets and biodiversity
20. Increase access to recycling and improve policies to promote waste reduction and re-use
21. Incorporate standard green practices in all City operations
22. Reduce carbon emissions from all sectors
23. Improve local air quality by accelerating performance towards federal standards and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions
24. Protect the city and its residents by preparing for changes in the climate
The implementation of the roadmap will begin immediately.
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