Supervisors approve first-ever Placer County Sustainability Plan

Published on Jan. 28, 2020

Mt Watson and Lake Tahoe

The Placer County Board of Supervisors yesterday approved the first-ever Placer County Sustainability Plan - a road map to meet California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and reduce the county’s vulnerability to climate risks like worsening wildfire severity.

The plan is designed to mitigate and avoid GHG emissions associated with county operations and community activities in the unincorporated areas of the county. It addresses emissions from buildings, land use, transportation, water consumption and waste generation.

In a presentation to the board, Placer County Community Development Resource Agency senior planner Angel Green noted that the county is vulnerable to a wide range of climate-related hazards, including drought, flooding, avalanches, bark beetle infestations, tree mortality and wildfires.

“Climate change is very real and we need to do everything that we can,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “This plan is a great starting point that can be adapted in the future.”

The plan does not establish or change any codes or ordinances, but instead seeks incentives and grant opportunities for the implementation of 68 carbon emission reduction strategies.

Green also noted that the unincorporated areas of Placer County reduced their GHG emissions by 16% between 2005-2015 and have met the state’s 2020 GHG emission goals. However, without more action, GHG emissions in Placer County are forecast to increase 87% by 2050.

Placer County Sustainability Plan infographic
Placer County has a successful history of implementing policies to reduce GHG emissions and advance sustainability, including: mPower, solar power incentive programs, transportation demand management, the Placer County Government Center master plan, Placer County building retrofits, solid waste disposal initiatives, the One Big Bin recycling system, and zero emission transit buses.

Other successful GHG reduction-related county programs include offering free rides on Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit in eastern Placer County, which has increased ridership by 32% in just the first few months of the program; as well as the installation of solar panel carports at six county buildings, which will save the county $5 million and reduce carbon emissions equivalent to removing more than 900 vehicles from the road for over 20 years.

“The Placer County Sustainability Plan is a great example of an intelligent strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Vice Chair and District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt. “Forest management, one of the many initiatives in the plan, is our best value investment in carbon emission reductions.”

Learn more about the Placer County Sustainability Plan online at

A full-res version of the above image of Mt. Watson in Lake Tahoe is available for media use. Photo Credit: Placer County.