New Bedford Mayor Unveils City’s Climate Plan

Mayor Jon Mitchell’s “NB Resilient” plan aims to reduce the city’s carbon footprint while making the city more resilient to the effects of climate change.

By: Tim Studebaker

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NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (WLNE) – Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford has unveiled his plan to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and help its residents and businesses deal with the effects of climate change, effects that he says are already happening.

Mayor Mitchell says, “Here in New Bedford, we see storm surges, we see changes in the composition of fish landings, we see coastal erosion.  We have to act with urgency.”

The plan is called “NB Resilient.”  One of its goals is to protect the city’s port from sea level rise by making improvements along the water’s edge.

Mitchell says, “New Bedford’s the largest commercial fishing port in the United States.  The fishing industry really is what drives the regional economy in southeastern Massachusetts, and so it has to be protected.”

The city also plans to reduce its carbon footprint by updating the city’s buildings and electric vehicle fleet, installing vehicle charging stations, and planting thousands of trees.

Mitchell says, “They help clean the air.  They help cool housing and other buildings in summertime.  And, frankly, they raise property values.”

By the year 2050, the city aims to prevent 100% of solid waste from ever reaching the landfill.

Mitchell says, “We generate lots of, for instance, food waste that emits methane, and methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas.”

The mayor serves as chair of the US Conference of Mayors Energy Committee, and he says other cities across the country are also working to address these concerns.

Mitchell says, “This is what cities can do, and every city can focus on a few goals that can really move the needle if we all do it together.”

The city plans to use a combination of state grants, bonds, and taxpayer money to pay for the program.  The mayor says the improvements are ultimately expected to help save money and create jobs.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2021

Categories: Massachusetts, New Bedford, News, Rhode Island