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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2006 Media Releases


Date:
March 2, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


MAYOR SENG SUPPORTS MAYOR’S CONFERENCE POLICY TO REDUCE POLLUTION

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution asking federal officials to enact policies to accelerate development of clean energy resources and fuel-efficient technologies to reduce pollution.

Mayor Seng joins more than 179 other mayors in 38 states in signing the resolution. The resolution supports the bipartisan Climate Stewardship Act introduced in Congress. It also indicates the City will strive to adopt policies to reduce pollution and maintain a healthy local environment.

“Signing this resolution simply reinforces Lincoln’s commitment to strive to provide a healthy environment at the local level of government,” Seng said. “This resolution complements and reinforces the high quality of life standards that Lincoln is known for nationwide, that assist in marketing our community for economic development and job-creating opportunities.”

The resolution includes a series of items for communities to strive to follow to reduce pollution. Mayor Seng noted that Lincoln already has addressed many of the suggestions recommended by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to preserve a healthy environment.

U.S. CONFERENCE OF MAYORS RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE POLLUTION (FOLLOWED BY LINCOLN’S EFFORTS)

Recommendation - Adopt land use policies that reduce sprawl, preserve open space and create a compact urban community.
Lincoln is a leader in responsible growth to prevent urban sprawl. Policies include:

  • The City promotes orderly growth of a gravity sewer system, coordinated with other infrastructure construction.
  • The City provides utilities only upon annexation, which has resulted in a growing tax base.
  • The City and the Lincoln Public Schools annex areas together.
  • The City regulates unincorporated areas to preserve agricultural land and open space and avoid roadblocks to orderly urban expansion.
  • The City acquires park land and open space through grants, donations and local funds. The City also works to protect habitats and operates a City-owned wetland mitigation bank.
  • Standards have been adopted that maintain natural open space corridors to minimize flood plain development, control runoff and encourage improvement of native habitat and water quality.
  • The City-County Comprehensive Plan encourages mixed use development, good pedestrian circulation and creative design.

Recommendation - Promote transportation options such as bicycle trails, commute trip reduction programs, incentives for car pooling and public transit.
Lincoln has developed 64 miles of bicycle/pedestrian trails, exceeding the mileage per capita of most cities its size. Originally meant to take advantage of abandoned rail line for recreational use, system additions now connect to employment, shopping, schools and parks. The Antelope Valley Project, a flood control project near downtown, includes a new trail along a reconstructed creek channel/greenway corridor that will connect several other trails converging in the area.

Lincoln’s public bus system, StarTran, offers a number of incentive programs, including the “Ride-For-Five” Low Income Pass; reduced rate monthly passes; coordinated efforts with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln bus system; special event shuttles; and a youth summer pass program. Bus routes maximize services to middle and high schools. The ongoing Comprehensive Plan update will include a full review of the bus system. The Downtown Master Plan also proposes service route changes and development of a new multi-modal terminal.

Recommendation - Increase the use of clean, alternative energy by advocating development of renewable energy resources.
Lincoln’s publicly owned electric utility, Lincoln Electric System (LES) operates two wind turbines as a demonstration project.

Recommendation - Make energy efficiency a priority through building code improvements, retrofitting City facilities with energy efficient lighting and urging employees to conserve energy.
Lincoln and other Nebraska communities are governed by a recent state energy code that is more stringent than standard locally adopted building codes.

Recommendation - Purchase only Energy Star equipment and appliances for City use.
City Departments are beginning to use the Energy Star rating system in buying new equipment.

Recommendation - Practice and promote sustainable building practices.
Recent construction of schools, libraries, a recreation center and an addition to the Health Department have incorporated ground-coupled heat pump systems. The new libraries and expanded Health Department offices also have incorporated “green” building materials. The proposed expansion of a nature center will comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s standards.

Recommendation - Increase the average fuel efficiency of municipal fleet vehicles; reduce the number of vehicles; launch an employee education program including anti-idling messages; convert diesel vehicles to bio-diesel.
StarTran was the first public bus system in the nation to convert entirely to O2 diesel, and police parking enforcement vehicles are experimenting with bio-diesel. City departments were directed last year to reduce engine idling time and limit air-conditioning use to improve mileage, to plan trips efficiently and to drive conservatively. Several departments use hybrid vehicles. The Parks staff has cut mowing in some parks as part of a “Prairie in Our Parks” program, which expects to convert 10 percent of mowed turf areas to native grasses and wildflowers.

Recommendation - Evaluate opportunities to increase pump efficiency in water and wastewater systems; recover wastewater treatment methane.
Energy-efficient pumps, motors and controls are used in wastewater and stormwater pumping systems, as well as in wastewater aeration system blowers and aeration diffusion systems. The wastewater operation uses methane gas at its two treatment facilities to generate electricity, which heats on-site buildings and equipment.

Recommendation - Increase recycling rates in City operations and the community.
The City operates an aggressive recycling operation. The City requires yard waste separation during the growing season and runs a composting program for the yard waste. The City provides drop-off sites throughout the community for a growing recycling program. City government employees recycle at work, where recycle volumes have increased 60 percent in five years. Other efforts:

  • LES retrofits street lights with more efficient bulbs, and the traffic staff replaces incandescent bulbs in signals with LED lamps. Signal timing improvements promote more efficient travel.
  • The Lincoln Water System encourages water conservation through its rate structure.
  • The wastewater division works with local industries to prevent pollution and recycles biosolids through a land application program.
  • The City operates a facility that removes mercury switches, PCB ballasts and Freon gases from appliances. Last year Freon was removed from about 1,000 appliances.
  • LES relies on heat pumps that use effluent from a City wastewater treatment plants for heating and cooling. This effluent also is used on-site for heating and cooling, washing equipment and watering the grounds.
  • The City Public Works and Utilities Department is exploring using methane generated at the City’s landfill to produce electricity.
  • The Parks Department is converting ballfields and golf courses from treated City water to alternative watering systems and reducing watering needs with increased use of native and drought-tolerant plants.
  • The City uses recycled tires to surface playgrounds.

Recommendation - Maintain healthy urban forests; promote tree planting.
The City manages more than 112,000 public trees in parks and along streets. Lincoln has been a Tree City USA community for more than 25 years and was recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation with a Growth Award for excellence and innovation in urban forestry for the past 10 years. The City distributes grant funds to encourage private tree planting and has altered street design standards to encourage more trees planted in parkways. Lincoln is now in the process of reexamining landscape requirements for private development.

Recommendation - Help educate about global warming pollution.
City departments work to educate the public, schoolchildren, professional associations, local and regional businesses and industry in various ways about conserving resources. The City sponsors an annual Earth Day Program. The Mayor’s Environmental Advisory Committee meets monthly to advise the Mayor on environmental issues. The Mayor’s Environmental Awards Program is an annual recognition of special efforts by local business and industry to save energy and reduce pollution.


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