Fort Bend County Judge wants to save the county from climate change, almost single-handedly

SESHADRI KUMAR
Fort Bend County Judge KP George wants to save Fort Bend County from the climate crisis.

And to conquer the climate change, he will establish “the Fort Bend Sustainability Working Group.”

The county judge nearly had a false start for his vaunted mission.

At last Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting, George had placed an agenda item for approval by the commissioners court.

“Take all appropriate action on Resolution establishing the Fort Bend Sustainability Working Group to develop a sustainability plan, provide recommendations and promote a more sustainable community.”

Before the resolution could be taken up for consideration, George pulled the item saying he had learned that he had the authority to form the working group and the commissioners court resolution was not necessary.

Since the item was withdrawn, the opinion of the commissioners could not be ascertained.

But, George had already heard from at least one commissioner and apparently yielded to his request.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales sent an email to George on Monday, April 26:

“Judge George,

Why do you feel that a resolution is needed for a committee that you will appoint?

I formed a Citizens Advisory Panel (CAP) in 2017 to address the Long Point Landfill issues and did not go to Commissioners Court for its creation, it was not necessary. The community knows the action taken which has resulted in a positive outcome between the community and the landfill.

I recommend that you proceed without a resolution from the court in all due respect. “

Besides the technicality, George seems to have given a short shrift to the fact that Texas already has the most wind farms than any other state and that oil giants like Exxon and Chevron are working on a plans to absorb carbon emissions out of the air already.

Moreover, Republican-controlled Texas, an energy State, is not going to take the federal energy mandates without a protest.

Finally, you have to read the resolution to know what is in it.

Then, ask the question if this is a realistic agenda for county judge, let alone a county, to take on with any seriousness.

Or is it a pie in the sky plan that sounds good on paper?

You read the resolution and decide.

RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE FORT BEND SUSTAINABILITY WORKING GROUP

Whereas; creating prosperity for all Fort Bend County residents by reducing energy waste, minimizing carbon pollution, preparing for climate risks, and protecting our air and water resources is essential; and

Whereas; the green technology and sustainability market is expected to be a $36.31 Billion industry by 2025 and Fort Bend County is committed to becoming a leader in environmental sustainability; and

Whereas; a low carbon county is achieved through processes, strategies, practices, tools, and institutional structures that promote collaboration between local governments, industry, academia, and non-profit constituencies to develop and implement long-term, deep reductions in carbon emissions; and

Whereas; low carbon counties improve their environmental sustainability, social capital and economic mobility through growth in clean energy industries and workforce development opportunities; and

Whereas; special consideration should be made to engage families living in under-resourced communities in Fort Bend to help craft solutions addressing energy insecurity, air and water pollution, green job creation and closing the green energy gap.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

Section 1: The County Judge’s Office is directed to establish a Fort Bend Sustainability Working Group (“Working Group”) to build awareness and support for climate solutions by inspiring and empowering local organizations and communities with actionable information, engagement tools, grant funding opportunities and best practice resource; and

Section 2: The Working Group shall be inclusive of, and open to, input and dialogue with industry leaders, environmental researchers, and environmentally concerned community organizations, and will work to develop and maintain input and dialogue with the broader Fort Bend Community; and

Section 3: The Working Group shall develop a Sustainability Plan that communicates an energy efficiency vision; drives energy efficiency in the utility, commercial and industrial sectors; encourages energy efficient transportation; scales up energy efficiency in buildings; positively impacts under-resourced communities; and promotes abundant clean energy solutions.