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County Officials Unanimously Amend Regional Policy Plan to Include Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

Cape Cod environmentalists are celebrating a unanimous vote by the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates to amend the region’s overarching policy plan. Now, it will include goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced on the Cape.

The plan will promote carbon sequestration efforts, clean energy, electric vehicle adoption, tree conservation, and electric heating and cooling options.


“Every time we go around and measure what’s going on [with climate change], it’s faster than we expected it to be. So I don’t think this is the last word, but I certainly would say at this point I’d give it my wholehearted support,” said Brian O’Malley, Provincetown’s delegate to the assembly. 


It’s the final chapter of a years-long process that began a group of climate activists with 350 Cape Cod and the Sierra Club prompted the Cape Cod Commission to amend the 2018 Regional Policy Plan so that it included climate mitigation goals. 


“Cape Cod climate activists should be thrilled that their voice was finally heard by the Cape Cod Commission and political officials,” said Chris Powicki, a long-time environmental activist from Brewster. 


The question, now, Powicki said, is how officials will implement this policy change. 


“Do they start to take action when projects involve massive clear cutting… or massive solar projects?” he asked. “Will they start to regulate those or look at those in a different way?” 


Environmentalists are also hoping to see how the Cape Cod Commission’s forthcoming climate action plan will push forward consistent climate adaptation and mitigation goals.


“This is a big step in the right direction,” Powicki concluded. “Barnstable County has an opportunity to lead, but it can’t lead without policy and regulation, and we finally have that.” 


Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.