Cumberland County asking for opinions on climate change

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Cumberland County wants to know what its residents, workers and business owners think about climate change, in the hopes to build a climate change action plan by June.

Officials said it doesn’t matter what you think — just that you tell them what you’re thinking.

“It’s not our intention to mandate and be heavy-handed on this issue. We’re really looking for Cumberland County and our partners in the process to lead by example,” said Kirk Stoner, director of planning, Cumberland County.

They hope to achieve this through a survey that will identify how people feel about climate change and what changes they’re willing to make. Some of these could be as small as changing light bulbs or sealing leaky windows.

“As well as…the full array of thinking about potentially switching their vehicle usage or using their vehicle less often,” said Elizabeth Grant, planning specialist, Cumberland County.

The survey was spurred by a statewide program that started last year. Through the program, municipalities work with universities to build data and plans. Cumberland is partnered with Shippensburg University and Dickinson College.

“So far, they’ve only taken in 40 municipalities in Pennsylvania into the program, so we’re very fortunate to be accepted,” Stoner said.

Stoner said studies have shown that average temperatures in Cumberland County have risen by two degrees since 2001.

“Is it attributed to climate change? We won’t let the experts tell us that. We want to look at more detail, but we can see some of the symptoms,” Stoner said.

“You know, heavy rain events in the past several years — that has an effect on our roadway, bridges, our infrastructure,” Grant said.

To weather the weather, the county will use the data to come up with incentives and plans.

“I think then we have some realistic opportunities to make some recommendations through our planning process, work with our partners throughout the community to see if we can take steps — incremental steps — towards actions,” Stoner said.

To take the survey, click here.

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