A new and permanent Harpswell Resiliency and Sustainability Committee will continue and expand on the work of the town’s Climate Resilience Implementation Task Force.
On Thursday, March 3, the select board voted to dissolve the task force, establish the committee, and appoint nine members and one alternate to the committee.
The select board had created the task force in December 2020 to determine the impact of sea level rise on town infrastructure and developable land, as well as to compile data for use in budget and ordinance development.
Also in December 2020, the Maine Climate Council published a report titled “Maine Won’t Wait: A Four-year Plan for Climate Action.”
“We realized there were many areas in there that we hadn’t considered before,” said Mary Ann Nahf, chair of the task force. The members of the task force believe the town will be dealing with the issues outlined in the report for many years, she added.
As a result, the task force proposed “expanding its mission to include consideration of energy conservation and carbon reduction, alternative energy generation and sustainable transportation,” according to a communication to the select board. To facilitate this expansion, it proposed that the select board create a permanent committee.
The mission of the Resiliency and Sustainability Committee will be to support the town as it pursues carbon neutrality and prepares for the effects of sea level rise on infrastructure and natural resources. “Also, it will support community efforts that help citizens achieve resilience and economic security,” the document says.
The committee includes representatives of the Conservation Commission, Energy and Technology Committee, Harbor and Waterfront Committee, Marine Resources Committee, Planning Board and Town Lands Committee, as well as representatives of commercial fishing and older adults, and a member who will focus on community engagement.
In addition to Nahf, the members are Monique Coombs, Allan LeGrow, Mark Leuchtenberger, Howard Marshall, Ken Oehmig, Mose Price, Deirdre Strachan, Nancy West and Jenny Zagariello, with associate member Jay McCreight.
A grant from the Broad Reach Fund supports the Harpswell Anchor’s reporting on climate change.