Brett Smiley today unveiled 14 environmental commitments he pledged to fulfill as Mayor of Providence, setting the goal of making Providence one of the greenest cities of its size in the nation. Smiley’s list of commitments comes just one week before Earth Day, which will be celebrated on April 22. Smiley plans to spend Earth Day participating in cleanup activities throughout the city, and he has already been heavily involved in the Neighborhood Planting Program, planting dozens of trees in multiple Providence neighborhoods.
Brett Smiley said, “As Mayor, I will work to make Providence one of the greenest cities of its size in the nation. We must lead the way towards a green future, adopting best practices in energy conservation, reducing the city’s waste stream, creating and improving additional green space and generating green jobs.”
Smiley continued, “With action on climate change stalled at the national and international level, mayors in the United States and around the world are increasingly taking matters into their own hands. Mayor Taveras and the Office of Sustainability have made environmental protection a priority, and I will bring it to the next level. I will implement policies that dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work to enlist my fellow Rhode Island mayors in this critical effort.”
Smiley went on to say, “I strongly believe economic development and environmental protection go hand in hand. I will work to make important quality of life improvements including upgrading our parks, promoting more farmers’ markets and making Providence a safer city in which to walk, run and bike.”
Smiley’s 14 Environmental Commitments for 2014
1. Brett Smiley will work to make Providence one of the greenest cities of its size in the nation, benchmarking against common measures of success and closing the gaps. He will hold himself and everyone else in city government accountable by issuing annual progress reports.
2. On his first day in office, Brett will sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, recommitting Providence to hit international carbon reduction treaty targets and take a number of specific steps to reduce greenhouse gases. He will also work to encourage the rest of Rhode Island’s mayors to sign the agreement (currently, only Mayor Taveras and Mayor Avedesian have signed).
3. Brett will join the World Mayors Council on Climate Change, an alliance of committed local government leaders on climate change, pushing for stronger international action. Taken together with C40 Cities, an international organization of ‘mega-cities’ taking action on climate change, the World Mayors Council is leveraging real progress through sharing best practices and bringing a powerful bottom-up political voice to this important topic.
4. Brett will cut the use of energy and water by city government, including the school system, by 20% by the end of his first term.
5. Brett will expand the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative citywide. (Green and Healthy Homes is a city pilot project to weatherize the homes of low income residents, resulting in significant reductions in energy use, lower utility costs for residents, and new, good paying jobs for residents.)
6. Brett will reduce the waste stream by 20% through expanding recycling to include mattresses and other bulk items and by increasing composting citywide.
7. Brett will ensure that the planned bike share program–now in the process of getting off the ground–will be successfully implemented and sustained as part of a broader effort to make Providence a safer and easier place to walk, bike and run.
8. Brett will work to implement a regional stormwater utility district to properly care for our storm water infrastructure and further protect Narragansett Bay.
9. Brett will aggressively work for more public transit options, included increased train routes to Boston and the Airport and funding for streetcars in Providence.
10. Brett will submit and advocate for a new municipal ordinance requiring new residential and non-residential developments to include permeable driveways and parking areas in order to reduce storm-water runoff.
11. Brett will develop a Green Job Corps, enlisting area businesses, utilities, educational institutions and trade unions. The Green Job Corps will train people for green jobs and provide hands-on experience through work that improves the city’s overall energy efficiency in all sectors, including the residential one, and attracts companies in the energy conservation business.
12. Brett will create new green space and improve the use of existing space by building new parks, improving the maintenance of existing parks, expanding community gardens and farms through the Lots of Hope program, and providing more active recreation opportunities.
13. Under Brett’s leadership, the Tax Assessors Office and Water Supply Board will allow people to opt-in to receiving and paying bills electronically, reducing waste, saving money, and improving the experience of the residents.
14. Brett will put in place incentives for proposed new development to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
Brett Smiley will release a detailed environmental and quality of life plan, as well as a transportation plan, in the coming months.
Smiley served as Chair of the Providence Water Supply Board, where he effectively worked to upgrade infrastructure, protect the water supply, improve worker safety and institute cost-efficiencies. He is running in the September Democratic primary for Mayor of Providence.