County OKs climate action plan over objections from some board members



Kane County Board members have voted to adopt a climate action implementation plan.
Daily Herald file

The Kane County Board has adopted a climate action implementation plan that recommends ways to reduce the emission of gasses that many experts believe are hurting the climate.

But at least nine members disagreed and voted against it on Tuesday.

Board member David Young was the most vocal critic, detailing at least 20 statements or goals in the 144-page plan with which he disagreed.

“In the end, this plan is completely unnecessary,” Young said. “It is going to threaten freedoms. It is going to cost taxpayers money. It is going to drive businesses out.”

Young also questioned the qualifications of the consultant hired to develop the plan, PaleBLUEdot LLC of Minnesota, saying the co-founder is an architect, not a scientist. Young also questioned how the consultant obtained the data cited in the report, including conclusions about the quality of air and the amount of carbon dioxide generated in Kane County.

Young derided one of the goals, to have public-fleet vehicles 100% converted from gasoline by 2040 and diesel fuel by 2050. “It is unicorn talk,” Young said.

Board member Rick Williams, who also voted against the plan, said its recommendation to shift to electricity-powered items, such as vehicles, moves the production of greenhouse gas emissions from individual people to electrical generation plants, many of which run on fossil fuels.

“We are just outsourcing our pollution,” he said.

The vote was 13-10 in favor.

Some board members were concerned that although the plan recommends particular actions, it could lead to requiring residents, businesses and the county government to do certain things, such as switching to electric lawn and garden equipment.

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“Kane County already has very clean air, water and soil,” Young said.

But board member Anita Lewis voted “yes” because “I do remember when the Fox (River) was horrible. I want to make sure it stays the way it is now,” she said, for her granddaughter and following generations.

She and other supporters said the plan is not perfect. They said they expect the county board will revise it over time.

“It is really easy to get hung up on a lot of small details. I think this is one contribution we can make,” board member Chris Kious said.

An 83-member committee worked on the plan with PaleBLUEdot.

PaleBLUEdot has written similar plans for other counties and towns, including the one Northbrook adopted in 2021. Some of the measures suggested in the plan are not specific to Kane County — such as encouraging people to grow their own produce and eat food produced locally.

“This plan is a generic template,” board member Mohammad Iqbal said. “We need something, but not this plan.”



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